Thursday, June 03, 2021
Double pack and triple post
Wirtz leads German U21s into the European Championship final
In the semifinals of the U21 European Championship, the only 18-year-old Florian Wirtz trumps with two goals against the Netherlands. The German selection is in the final round after a nerve-wracking final phase – also because Berisha, who is unlucky enough to hit aluminum three times.
Record man Florian Wirtz led the German U21 national team to the European Championship final with a lightning double. The 18-year-old laid the foundation for a deserved victory in a 2-1 (2-0) win against rivals Netherlands with two goals in the first eight minutes. This means that the team of successful coach Stefan Kuntz is in the final for the third time in a row and will fight against Portugal for the third title after 2009 and 2017 on Sunday. The Leverkusen Wirtz scored the fastest goal in U21 European Championship history in just 29 seconds in Szekesfehervar, Hungary . Shortly afterwards (8th), by far the youngest player in the DFB line-up even added. The Kuntz team, which played unleashed at the beginning, could have scored the third goal and instead had to tremble again after the 1: 2 by Perr Schuurs (67th).
“Finalist – that sounds exactly right,” said defender David Raum at ProSieben: “We had a great match plan. We wanted to surprise the Dutch, and it worked. It was a great win and a well-deserved win.” The Leverkusener Wirtz scored the fastest goal in U21 European Championship history in just 29 seconds in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. Shortly afterwards (8th), by far the youngest player in the DFB line-up even added. The Kuntz team, which played unleashed at the beginning, could have scored the third goal and instead had to tremble again after the 1: 2 by Perr Schuurs (67th).
Team spirit pays off
For the final, Kuntz and Co. are now heading to Ljubljana, Slovenia. With opponents Portugal, who surprisingly threw defending champion Spain out of the race, Germany still has an account to play since the hefty 0: 5 in the 2015 semifinals.
The third final entry under Kuntz is by far the most surprising. Without many individual artists, the DFB coach relied on team spirit right from the start – and was rewarded. Only Italy under coach Cesare Maldini had reached three finals in a row between 1992 and 1996. “We have a job to do here,” said Kuntz, determined before kicking off. His team did as ordered and got off to a dream start: Lukas Nmecha crossed the short post with his outside instep, where Wirtz held out his foot and scored his first goal in the U21 jersey. During the group stage in March, when the two teams split 1: 1, Wirtz was still in action with the senior national team.
A little later, the youngest player in the history of the German U21s followed suit: Wirtz prevailed on the right edge of the penalty area, left an opponent standing and finished in the far corner. On the sidelines, Kuntz could hardly believe his luck and shook his head in disbelief. Mergim Berisha from RB Salzburg almost scored the 3-0, but his free kick hit the crossbar (20th). Because goalkeeper Finn Dahmen (Mainz 05) unpacked a brilliant save against Justin Kluivert from Leipzig (22nd), the Oranje team reacted increasingly desperate. The highly praised offensive of the European champions from 2006 and 2007 saw no stab against the attentive defensive against the returning Niklas Dorsch (KAA Gent).
After the break, the Netherlands pushed hard for the connection. On the other side, unlucky Berisha hit the post twice within a few seconds (60th). A Berisha header landed again on the post a minute later. A little later, Schuurs shortened with a low shot and made for an exciting final phase. Myron Boadu even scored the alleged equalizer (85th) but was clearly offside.