Germany qualified in the most elegant way possible. 10 games 10 wins. A maximum of 30 points. The only team in qualification to do so. They also had a goal difference of 27 after scoring 35 goals in their 10 games. The highlight of their qualifying campaign was a 4-3 victory over Russia in an entertaining encounter. Since then their preparation has not been as smooth. Four friendlies, two wins, two draws every one of these games ending 1-0.
The squad is as you would expect – strong. Recent Bayen Munich signing and ex Arsenal winger Serge Gnarby is present and will be looking to impress ahead of his first season with the German super club. Jonathan Tah will be solid at the back and midfield duo Mahmoud Dahoud and Max Arnold will be vital in controlling games and launching devastating attacks. The spark will be provided by Schalke’s attacking midfielder Max Meyer who has represented the under 21 squad 19 times scoring six goals. He will be able to create and get on the end of chances and for Germany to be successful he will need to play well.
Germany’s national teams are always amongst the favourites to win a tournament. This is certainly the case with this side. Talented players with the trademark German winning mentality could see them go on and dominated not just the group but the competition.
Finishing top of their group above Serbia Italy fought their way into the tournament. Conceding just three goals shows how the Italian style of football is present even at youth level. Build from the back. Since their solid qualification performance things have taken a turn for the worse. One win out four is not the best preparation for the competition. They were beaten twice in this period and drew once. They will need to improve considerably to progress from this group.
As you would expect Italy’s defence is rock solid. Want away AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma who has played 68 times for the Italian club and is still only 18 will be in goal. Daniele Rugani Will be at the heart of the defence, capped three times at senior level and 15 times at under 21 level show how highly rated he is in Italy and at his club Juventus. Torino full back Antonio Barreca will also help Italy defend as well as they do. They have talent going forward as well. Domenico Berardi is highly rated in Italy and has played 20 times for the under 21’s. Federico Bernardeschi is a threat going forward and has played consistently at Fiorentina this season. Every player in the Italian squad is on the books at an Italian side showing how much emphasis they put on developing their own talent.
Italy have a great team and always perform well in big competitions. The crunch game will be against Germany and whoever comes out on top in that one will most likely qualify. Italy are always underestimated and we can see them really pushing for glory in Euro 2017.
Again a solid qualifying campaign from another member of this group. Nine wins and one draw saw they coast into the competition with a gap of 11 points to second place. Friendly games have not gone well for Denmark getting a couple of hammerings from Spain (3-1) and England (0-4). They rallied and beat Sweden in their last game before the competition 2-0.
The Danes have some good players in their squad. They will rely heavily on Captain Lasse Christensen. The highly rated Fulham man has represented his country at this level 34 times and scored on five occasions. He is their key man in midfield and for them to have a hope will need to perform. Lucas Andersen is experienced at this level and the winger has a goal in him scoring five times in 20 under 21 caps. Denmark have an exciting player in Marcus Ingvartsen who is going along at a goal a game scoring 8 times in his 8 u21 caps. If he can carry on this form on the bigger stage he may be able to continue Demark’s success.
Denmark will be outsiders for qualification with Germany and Italy in their group. They will need to take points from both of those games and hope Germany and Italy play out a draw against each other. A good team but may just fall short.
The Czech Republic beat emerging national football superpower Belgium to the top of their qualification group by 5 points. 7 wins out of the ten games is not a bad return. Scoring 29 goals along the way is impressive.
Their squad is decent. Tomas Soucek and Antonin Barak will play in midfield which is one of the Czech Republic’s under 21 teams strongest areas. Winger Vaclav Cerny could also cause problems for their opponents depending on how much game time he gets.
It is very difficult to see the Czech’s advance from this group. Denmark, Germany and Italy have all been so dominant in qualification and their squads are deeper in terms of consistent talent. They will struggle in this group.