Monday, June 14, 2021

European Under-21 Championship: Wirtz double sets up final between Germany and Portugal

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 3 Jun 2021

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Florian Wirtz scored twice in eight minutes as Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 to book their place in the European Under-21 Championship final, where they will face Portugal.

Matters went from one extreme to the other for the Netherlands, who beat France in the quarter-finals thanks to a last-gasp goal from Myron Boadu but found themselves behind inside the first minute when Wirtz converted Lukas Nmecha’s cross.

Rising Bayer Leverkusen star Wirtz followed up the fastest goal in Euro Under-21 finals history with his second soon after, drilling home from inside the box after good work from Ridle Baku.

Mergim Berisha hit the post with a free-kick as Germany threatened to run away with the semi-final. The Salzburg man cursed his luck twice more on the hour mark, a fierce strike crashing off the post before a header again came off the woodwork seconds later.

Perr Schuurs steered the ball home from close range with 67 minutes played but a comeback never looked too likely as Germany reached a third successive final, equalling the record set by Italy between 1992 and 1996.

They will now meet Portugal, who have won all three of their previous meetings with Germany in this competition, following their 1-0 win over Spain.

The holders had 20 shots to their opponents’ six, with Marc Cucurella hitting the woodwork, but they were undone on the break with 10 minutes remaining when Fabio Vieira’s delivery struck Jorge Cuenca and looped in.

It was Spain’s first Euro Under-21 defeat, including qualifying matches, since 2019.

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