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Uefa European Under-21 Championship


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UEFA European Under-21 Championship

 

Team Profile

 

Denmark

France

Germany

Italy

Netherlands

Portugal

Serbia and Montenegro

Ukraine

 

Final tournament - Group phase - Match kick-offs are listed in local timeDate

 

Home Away

 

23/05 Portugal 19:45 France

23/05 Serbia and Montenegro 17:15 Germany

24/05 Italy 19:45 Denmark

24/05 Ukraine 17:15 Netherlands

25/05 Portugal 19:45 Serbia and Montenegro

25/05 France 17:15 Germany

26/05 Italy 19:45 Ukraine

26/05 Denmark 17:15 Netherlands

28/05 France 19:45 Serbia and Montenegro

28/05 Germany 19:45 Portugal

29/05 Denmark 19:45 Ukraine

29/05 Netherlands 19:45 Italy

 

 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Final tournament - Group phase

 

Date - Group - Home - Score - Away

23/05/06 Grp A Serbia and Montenegro 0 - 1 Germany

23/05/06 Grp A Portugal 0 - 1 France

 

24/05/06 Grp B Ukraine 2 - 1 Netherlands

24/05/06 Grp B Italy 3 - 3 Denmark

 

 

 

 

 

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Final tournament - Group phase

Date Group Home Score Away

 

25/05/06 Grp A France 3 - 0 Germany

25/05/06 Grp A Portugal 0 - 2 Serbia and Montenegro

 

26/05/06 Grp B Denmark 1 - 1 Netherlands

26/05/06 Grp B Italy 1 - 0 Ukraine

 

28/05/06 Grp A Germany 0 - 1 Portugal

28/05/06 Grp A France 2 - 0 Serbia and Montenegro

 

 

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Semi-finals

 

 

Date - Home - Score - Away

01/06/06 - France - 2-3 (aet) - Netherlands

01/06/06 - Ukraine - 0-0 (p) - Serbia and Montenegro

 

KEY: aet: Match decided after extra time

p: Match decided after extra time and penalty shoot-out

 

Netherlands through to first final

Thursday, 1 June 2006

 

The Netherlands are through to their first UEFA European Under-21 Championship final after Nicky Hofs scored in extra time to settle a pulsating game marked by five outstanding goals in Braga.

 

Outstanding goals

Hofs had set the Dutch on their way with an individual effort in the sixth minute before Klaas Jan Huntelaar struck with the cutest of chips in the 38th. France replied in kind through Julien Faubert (51) and substitute Bryan Bergougnoux (85) to force extra time, where Faubert's dismissal for a second yellow card was rapidly followed by Hofs' decisive second in the 107th minute. The victory completed a remarkable turnaround for the Netherlands, who were exiting the competition with 16 minutes of their final group game remaining on Monday.

 

Storming start

The France coach Ren? Girard selected the team that set France on their way to Group A supremacy with an opening victory against Portugal, and quickly saw his first-choice side hit their stride as left-back J?r?my Berthod's pinpoint crossfield ball in the first minute found Yoann Gourcuff whose first touch allowed the ball to escape and a defender to clear. Les Bleuets went even closer from the resulting corner, Kenneth Vermeer reacting sharply to palm Jacques Faty's powerful header over his crossbar.

 

Cool Hofs

A third chance in as many minutes resulted in Florent Sinama-Pongolle charging into the box before failing to find a blue shirt when the situation demanded better. By contrast, Hofs was coolness personified at the other end as the tricky Feyenoord winger took advantage of Huntelaar's clever decoy run to cut inside from the right and drill a low left-footed shot into the corner of Steve Mandanda's net from inside the 'D'. Sinama-Pongolle then saw a shot charged charged down following Vermeer's fumble before Ron Vlaar denied the same player with a textbook sliding tackle when there was no margin for error.

 

Textbook tackle

With those openings having been passed up, nerves crept into French play as an unchanged Netherlands side began to demonstrate the confidence of a team given a second chance in this competition by their late elimination of perennial winners Italy. Romeo Castelen created the only goal of that 1-0 victory and became increasingly influential as the half progressed here too. Having attempted to beat Mandanda with an audacious chip, the left-winger then teed up Huntelaar to do exactly that from 25 metres as the AFC Ajax hitman became his country's outright leading scorer at this level - eclipsing the 15 goals of Arnold Bruggink and Roy Makaay.

 

Outstanding goal

France responded by introducing Lassana Diarra and Yohan Gouffran for Gourcuff and Sinama-Pongolle and halved the deficit within six minutes with the third outstanding goal of the game - Faubert leaping and twisting in one movement to head in Berthod's cross from the left. Huntelaar could have settled things in the 65th but headed wide and a Hofs shot met with the same result before the winger conceded a free-kick just outside the corner of the area for deliberate handball. Substitute Bergougnoux made him pay by stepping up to plant the set-piece high into Vermeer's net.

 

Late drama

There was still time for Castelen, Gijs Luirink and Isma?l Aissati to threaten for the Netherlands before Mandanda brought the 90 minutes to a close with a fine low save from the 17-year-old Aissati. Faubert saw red in the 103rd minute for striking out at Schaars, who promptly took advantage by dissecting the French back line with a super pass which Hofs skilfully turned in with the outside of his right boot.

 

 

Penalty drama goes Ukraine's way

Thursday, 1 June 2006

 

Ukraine have reached the UEFA European Under-21 Championship final after defeating Serbia and Montenegro 5-4 on penalties following a thrilling 0-0 draw. Milan Purović's miss proved costly as the shoot-out ended in a sudden-death situation. Olexiy Mykhaylychenko's men, whose national anthem translates as 'Ukraine is not yet dead', lived to fight another day.

 

Purović promise

In a reflection of the first half, Serbia and Montenegro threatened the early breakthrough. First, Purović raced between Ukraine's centre-backs to latch on to a lofted pass from the left by Nenad Milija?, and from just inside the penalty area, lobbed centimetres wide with goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov beaten. A similar move followed, only from the right, with Du?an Basta's long ball being perfectly weighted for Purović to touch with his instep, over the keeper, but again narrowly off target.

 

Milevskiy setback

The sad contrast for Ukraine was the sight of leading scorer Artem Milevskiy, always a languid figure, labouring with a back injury. Milevskiy still found space to angle a beautiful ball which Ruslan Fomin met with a diagonal run and flicked against the legs of goalkeeper Vladimir Stojković. That, however, was his last contribution.

 

Going close

It seemed a Serbo-Montenegrin ploy to win left-wing free-kicks and after one such set-piece had been half-cleared, a cross was whipped in from the other flank by Basta for Purović to head against a defender and over. Then Milija? menaced, running through midfield, via a one-two with Milo? Krasić, and rifling over from 30 metres. He would go closer yet with a free-kick near to half-time.

 

Pinball

Delivery was also key when Adrian Pukanych's left-sided centre prompted pinball in the Serbo-Montenegrin back line. While the Balkan side asked more questions, Fomin, assisted by lively substitute Olexiy Godin, answered the one about his team's ability to cope without Milevskiy, drawing a foul from, and yellow card for, blue-shirted totem Milan Bi?evac.

 

Out of context

This was a match befitting its location, an ultra-modern bowl of a stadium, out of town and out of context with the surrounding countryside. These countries had not been expected to be here either, but such was progress. When Grigoriy Yarmash surged down the right following the restart, Ukraine almost made their mark in Aveiro, Pukanych shooting into the sidenetting.

 

Retaliatory strikes

Milija? then took the introduction of a midfield rival in Olexandr Aliyev as his cue to launch a strike at Pyatov. Aliyev responded with a free-kick from the byline which fell for Olexandr Maksymov, free in the area, to fire over. A more inviting opportunity arrived on 67 minutes but Ukraine's Taras Mikhalik shot in haste. Yet Ukrainian superiority was short-lived. Branislav Ivanović nodded a Milija? corner against Pyatov. Purović was prompted by Basta to drive hard and low towards Pyatov's near post; the keeper saved.

 

Nedvěd impersonator

The yellows came again. Yarmash and Mikhalik's combination produced a shooting chance for Aliyev, before Olexandr Yatsenko flicked a corner wide. The traffic was one-way as full time approached, despite the busy Basta's best Pavel Nedvěd impression. Parity reigned, though. In a tournament attuned to stadium rock, both sides were keeping the dream alive.

 

Testing times

So to extra time and another shift in momentum. Milija? tested Pyatov's reflexes from long range while from point-blank, Purović miscued. Ukraine stood up to the pressure, all except Fomin, felled by Janković's exocet. When Olexandr Rybka replaced Pyatov with seconds remaining, penalties appeared the inevitable conclusion, although the newcomer had to dive to keep out Janković's bicycle kick. As the drama segued into a shoot-out, Aliyev and Janković missed their sides' opening attempts with Stojković and Rybka saving. The remaining conversions were

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Final

The winner is Netherlands

 

Date - Home - Score - Away

 

04/06/06 Netherlands 3-0 Ukraine

 

Netherlands 3 - 0 Ukraine

11', 43'(pen) Huntelaar 90'+ 4' Hofs

 

 

Match report

 

The star name of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship proved the star attraction in the final as Klaas Jan Huntelaar scored twice to see off Ukraine and earn the Netherlands a first crown at this level.

 

Hosts and holders

Comparisons with the Dutch team that recovered from an opening defeat to vanquish the Soviet Union in the final of EURO '88 are obvious, and for Van Basten read Huntelaar. The AFC Ajax forward scored with a neat finish in the eleventh minute and from the penalty spot in the 43rd before Nicky Hofs added gloss with four minutes of added time played. The Netherlands will defend their title on home soil next summer, when Ukraine will hope to again be among the eight finalists after a sterling performance on their tournament debut in Portugal.

 

De Zeeuw fit

As predicted by coach Foppe de Haan, midfield motor Demy de Zeeuw overcame a groin strain to take his place in a Netherlands team unchanged for the third match in succession. Unlike the side beaten by Ukraine on the opening day of the tournament, this was a Dutch selection imbibed with a winning spirit and within 20 seconds left-back Urby Emanuelson had drilled a crisp shot into the midriff of Andriy Pyatov.

 

Godin promoted

Opposite coach Olexiy Mykhaylychenko again proved himself the master of the unpredictable by dropping set-piece specialist Adrian Pukanych in favour of Olexiy Godin who had enjoyed a first taste of championship action in Thursday's semi-final defeat of Serbia and Montenegro. The midfield player had a busy start, having a powerful drive deflected before taking part in a sweeping one-touch Ukraine move which concluded with Artem Milevskiy rolling in Taras Mikhalik whose low shot was well saved by the advancing Kenneth Vermeer.

 

Beautiful control

Having gone so close to wresting the early advantage, Ukraine found themselves behind as semi-final hero Hofs played a long crossfield ball over Olexandr Yatsenko which Huntelaar controlled beautifully before dispatching a low shot beyond Pyatov. Ukraine responded in kind, Godin curling a corner to Dmytro Chygrynskiy who used his considerable height to plant a bullet header against the base of Vermeer's post in the 15th minute.

 

Deliberate handball

The woodwork again came to the goalkeeper's rescue soon after, as Godin's curled free-kick skimmed behind off the upright. Those efforts were to prove the Ukrainian highlights of a first half in which the Netherlands assumed total control. Huntelaar went close to doubling his tally with an audacious flick from Emanuelson's low centre before doing just that after Olexandr Yatsenko deliberately handled Isma?l Aissati's cross from the right under pressure from the AFC Ajax forward, who stepped up to send Pyatov the wrong way from the spot.

 

 

Nervous half

The Jong Oranje had allowed France to fight back from an identical situation three days ago before recovering to snatch victory in extra time, and again had to survive a nervous second half as the fresh legs of Maxym Feschuk and Olexandr Aliyev brought Ukraine fresh impetus. Feschuk curled a neat shot narrowly over and Aliyev elicited a superb fingertip save from the excellent Vermeer in between Yevgen Cheberyachko firing wastefully wide after the balletic footwork of Milevskiy had created the opportunity.

 

Romanchuk dismissed

Hofs, with a scuffed attempt, and Castelen's rasping drive ensured the traffic was not all of the one-way variety although Vermeer had to be first alert and then brave to smother efforts from Aliyev and Chygrynskiy, while the substitute also blazed over after a marvellous corner in which three players in succession dummied the ball to carve out an opening. Had Huntelaar been wearing blue rather than orange perhaps the destination of the trophy would have been different, something that was never in doubt following Olaxandr Romanchuck's second yellow card in the 76th minute and Hofs's close-range finish as the celebrations were about to begin.

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