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Euro Under 21 final stages

The group stage ended: What about the key players?

Now that the group stage of the European Championship U21 has ended, it is time to look back to the first phase of the tournament. We will take a look at the key players of all teams that are through to the quarter-finals.

In the article, we will be looking at all eight teams that qualified for tonight's quarter-finals.


The Netherlands

As we are a Dutch company, we would like to start off with the key player of our own country: The Netherlands! The Dutch Lions had a difficult start to the tournament with a 1-1 draw against both Germany and Romania. The Dutch team playing in a 4-2-2-2, which is quite similar to the formation of PSV, needed a win against Hungary in the last game of the group stage to advance to the quarter-finals. In the last game, one player excelled from the rest. Cody Gakpo (PSV) performed amazingly with 2 goals and 2 assists. Cody Gakpo is a 21-year-old right/left winger that is a youth exponent of PSV. Gakpo was the key player for The Netherlands U21, however, he has now been called up for the main squad with who he will be playing the normal European Championship. Calvin Stengs is going the other way after playing three World Cup qualifier matches with the main team he didn't make it into the final European Championship squad of the main team and is now joining the U21 team again in tonight's quarter-final against France U21.


France

The second team which is through to the next round is France, with an amazing class of young wonderkids. Not for nothing, France is named as one of the favorites of the tournament. Players like Eduardo Camavinga, Amine Gouri, and Matteo Guendouzi will absolutely have a future at the top of European football. However, based on Player Level there is one absolute key player in the French squad: Jules Koundé.

After his performance in the U21 Championship, Koundé has now been called up to the main France squad for this summer. His replacement will be Dayot Upamecano who was injured during the World cup qualifying matches of the main France squad and is now joining the U21 squad again for tonight's quarter against the Netherlands U21.


Denmark

Denmark is the surprise of the group stage with terrific numbers: three matches, three wins, six goals, zero goals against. The Danish side is a mix of hardworking players, defensive strength but also some creative players in front. Most striking is that the Danish side, together with Portugal, has three clean sheets and has won all their games. One of the reasons for that success is Victor Nelsson, the central defender and captain. The 22-year-old player of FC Copenhagen is a solid player, and his abilities are his clearances, his dribbles, and his forward passing. Nelsson is absolutely ready to move to a European top club after this season and TSG Hoffenheim, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Villareal, Benfica, or Leicester City will be a great step according to our Transfer Analysis.


Germany

Germany, the national team, and their U21 are not in their greatest form ever. While the national team had a historic loss against North Macedonia, their U21 drew against both The Netherlands and Romania. However, Germany is still through, thanks to a 3-0 win against Hungary U21. The key player is Ridle Baku, the right wingback of VfL Wolfsburg. Against Hungary, Baku scored twice, and he stands out because of his goal involvement this season. In 24 Bundesliga games, Baku already scored five goals and provided four assists. He is definitely a player that we will hear more of in the coming years. Besides right-wingback, he can also play as a right midfielder/winger. Germany U21 will play in the quarter-finals against Denmark U21.


Spain

The fifth team that reached the next round is Spain, the country that always has had great talents in their youth teams. Previously we discussed which players were performing great at the EURO U21, however, we would like to name a player now that did not play as much as we would have hoped and has now been excluded from the quarter-final squad. Riqui Puig only played nine minutes in the last game of Spain U21. We expected Puig to play a lot more during this tournament. With his creativity and passing abilities, Puig is an addition to the team of Spain. FACTS recommends Puig to move on loan to another club, to play more minutes, and become the best player that he can be. Another Barcelona player Óscar Mingueza will be available again tonight after serving his suspension for the red card he got against Italy. He is predicted to join Spain's U21 XI in tonight's game against Croatia U21.


Croatia

Spain will play in the quarter-finals against Croatia. Croatia has produced a lot of wonderkids in the past, like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic. The current team of Croatia has a lot of talents and some of them were shown in our blog. Josko Gvardiol is one of Croatia's biggest talents and is part of the squad heading into the quarter-final against Spain U21 tonight.


Italy & Portugal

The last quarter-final will be played by Italy and Portugal. This could be an interesting duel between striker Scamacca who has had a great season on loan at Genoa, and the talented defender Diogo Dalot, who played on loan for Milan this season and is expected to break through in the coming season. Italy's most talented player Sandro Tonali has been excluded from the squad after he got a red card in the first game and got suspended for three games.



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