England expects, young man!
It's a little quiet at UF towers today. Everyone is busy with, well, other business. But that's ok, this afternoon we'll have a good old fashioned live thread. You can amuse yourselves. It's the final of the Under 21 European Championships. England v Germany. Woahhhhh. The old enemy! I'll check in from time to time to see how you are doing and to add updates.
After his semi final penalty heroics, Joe Hart is suspended for England. He will likely be replaced by man mountain and Peterborough stopper Joe Lewis. England also have key players missing up top. Gabby Agbonlahor and Frazier Campbell are also suspended. Theo Walcott is expected to play a key role as a central striker.
Problems aside. Manager Stuart Pearce is feeling confident...
"The team who has the most guts, takes their chances and maybe has enough fit players will win, we came here to win, now we want to take the trophy home." -Stuart Pearce.
The teams are in..Lets have a look.
Germany U21: Neuer, Beck, Howedes, Boateng, Boenisch, Hummels, Johnson, Castro, Khedira, Ozil, Wagner.
Subs: Fromlowitz, Aogo, Ebert, Marin, Schwaab, Grote, Adlung, Ben-Hatira, Schmelzer, Ede, Sippel.
England U21: Loach, Cranie, Richards, Onuoha, Gibbs, Cattermole, Muamba, Noble, Milner, Walcott, Johnson.
Subs: Lewis, Taylor, Stearman, Gardner, Rodwell, Tomkins, Mancienne, Driver, Rose.
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland).
So Lewis misses out, interesting. Thats a pretty strong line-up consdering the suspended players. No room in the starting 11 for Chelsea's Michael Mancienne or Everton's teenage sensation Jack Rodwell.
Stick around...It's England v Germany at 2.45 EST.
I'm hoping that it's victory that Stuart Pearce smells of. The sweet smell of victory. Bigus has everything crossed. Everything!
Scott and Joe Lewis was my toughest decision, no doubt about it. The first thing Joe did was congratulate Scotty, which is exactly what I'd expect from him. - Pearce on Loach getting the nod between the sticks instead of Joe Lewis.
They have kicked off in Sweden and England have had an early chance, Milner cross headed over by Crainie.
6 mins: England looking good. Had a couple of chances and keeping the ball. Germany are sporting a red kit with a black stripe. Hmmm. They look like Blackburn. Lets hope they play like Blackburn.
Watching in French is a little odd. Theres a female commentator with a very nice voice. Key-ron Geeeebs.
15 mins: Pretty even now, Germany just had a spell of possession, but the England defence stood firm. Dig in lads!
24 mins: Ah Fu%k, F@ckety bollocks. Germany score. After some good play by England, Germany counter and Ozil feeds Castro, who cooly finishes past Loach. Up til then we looked good. 'Tee-yo Walcourt' is running like a mad man and the midfield looked in control. Oh well.
England 0 Germany 1.
27 mins: Milner (or Meeeelnehr) tricks two German dudes, strides into the area and falls under pressure? Penno? Could have been, but the ref says NO. Bastard. Some good work by Milner. Camon England!
33 mins: England playing some very nice football, but looking a little vulnerable against the break. On two occasions Germany have busted through. This young German team is very, very direct. England have the nice build-up but no final ball.
HT 1 nil Germany. I gotta run folks. Lingering Bursitis is now at your service. Take it away, LB.
HALF TIME: England 0, Germany 1
So imagine my surprise when a pleasant Monday afternoon is disrupted by the Canary, insisting I cover the 2nd half of this tournament final. My inner patriot was still asleep at the time after a long midnight drive back from the beach, but he's awake and munching on snacks and eagerly awaiting the Gangbusters-esque comeback by our lads after the break.
After all, England hasn't won any official tournament of note since 1993 when our youngsters, including a pre-pubescent Robbie Fowler, Gary Neville and Paul Scholes (and QPR legend Kevin Gallen!), won this very same trophy.
Now, I look at the squad and wonder just how heavily they will dash our dreams of World Cup success in 2014.
Almost ready for the restart... I must find a beer for this. What little of the first half I did catch online was decent to say the least; I had no clue James Milner was that young, and I had no idea that Fabrice Muamba was English either.
46 mins: Sub for England, with Nedum Onuoha off and Michael Mancienne on.
47 mins: GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL... dear oh dear. Mr. Loach between the posts will need some treatment for PTSD after that absolute clanger, lest he lose all confidence and turn into the 2nd coming of Paul Robinson. Ozil beat him from 35 yards with a speculative free-kick that spun, looped, swirled and fizzed through the night sky and 'twixt Loach's slippery grasp. Nail in the coffin? England 0, Germany 2
50 mins: Sadly, our lads look rather cumbersome on the ball, with heavy first touches across the midfield and a rather formulaic approach to goal. What's even sadder is that the Germans are playing with the kind of free-spirited passing that betrays their Teutonic roots.
53 mins: Loach is off his line in a flash to collect Ozil's sharp through-ball before it can be guided into his net.
56 mins: Boateng comes close to further compounding the Limey misery, nodding a freekick over the bar. A decent chance.
60 mins: Fun fact stolen from the Guardian! Should the Krauts win tonight, they'll hold all 3 youth trophies at the same time, a feat that has never been done before. U-21, U-19, and U-17 silverware all sitting in Munich. We'll have to bomb again to get it out.
62 mins: TENSION IN THE GERMAN BOX! England's best move of the game ends up without a goal - Milner bobbed and weaved to the touchline and cut it back for Johnson, who did everything right inches from goal to direct it in... shame Beck did everything even righter in scooping it out at the last second.
65 mins: Sebastian Boenisch channels his inner Schumacher and just-about murders Milner with a shockingly awful challenge that threatens to ignite World War 3 in ol' Stuart Pearce on the sideline. He stomps furiously on the whitewash denoting the edge of his FIFA-approved safe manager technical strategy zone to protest the tackle... the Kraut does end up with a yellow card for his ferocity.
67 mins: In the 30-odd minutes I've watched, this Ozil fellow has been rather good, and he almost makes it 3-0, skipping infield from a quickly-taken corner and firing hard into the side netting. Werder Bremen has themselves a gem of a midfielder there.
German sub: Auf Wiedersehen to Fabian Johnson, a hearty 'Allo to Daniel Schwaab.
70 mins: England go mighty close yet again! Milner's corner is a tease across goal, and Lee Cattermole's glancing header is brilliant pummeled off the line by Beck, the defender who's clearly got instincts as a goalie.
74 mins: The game's being played at a snail's pace, as Germany are comfy with a 2-0 lead and England are lacking the finesse or urgency to fashion themselves a lifeline.
77 mins: Germany again come close to scoring another... Ozil put a gorgeous ball across the face of goal with Loach all at sea, but Sandro Wagner can't slide in to give it the goalward nudge it needed from three yards out.
78 mins: Oh wait... GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL, and less than 45 seconds after that awful miss, Sandro Wagner atones with Germany's third. The fantastic, electric Mehmet Ozil is again the instigator, cantering up the gut of the English defense and knocking ahead for Wagner, whose cool finish under Loach showed some remarkable self-confidence. Another pretty goal from those ugly, ugly Krauts. I fear the '10s will be dominated by Germany and their embarrassment of teen soccer-playing riches. England 0, Germany 3
79 mins: Sub for England, too little, too late: Jack Rodwell on, Muamba off. Micah Richards is also playing as a striker. So crazy.
83 mins: Can I go home now?
84 mins: I'll take a minute instead to pat my blog on the back for its superb coverage of the Confederations Cup, aka "The Cup that should be in Chicago or wherever US Soccer is based", as we managed to liveblog every single game, including Iraq/South Africa. Not many others on the web managed that, if any.
Next summer will be an awful lot of fun. We'll also liveblog the heck out of the Swiss Super League to show that we're unbiased when it comes to covering tiny tournaments.
85 mins: GOAL GOAL GOAL GOAL, and we're looking at fodder for next summer's World Cup media, folks, as the Germans are relentless. It's Sandro Wagner again, and his finish was even lovelier than his last. Taking possession wide on the left, he gave himself a few steps before a pretty, curling finish inside the far post that left Loach rather helpless. England 0, Germany 4
Sub for Germany: Mats Hummels off, Dennis "Wake Me Up Before You" Aogo on.
88 mins: Ze Germans are not content with four, as they treat the English third of the pitch like their own private Sudetenland after a halftime handshake with Pearce allowing them to do so.
90 mins: Subs and curtaincalls time: Ozil off, Marcel Schmelzer on.
@MikeGeorger - no clue, although I do know that Kroos wasn't in the squad for the tournament.
FULL TIME: England 0, Germany 4
Let's look at the England Explanation/Rationalization Index:
1. Hey, we still made a final.
2. It's good experience for our youth, even though we were crushed. It will steel them for the future.
3. Bulletin Board material for the World Cup squad! C'mon lads, don't let the Germans treat our kiddies like this! Time for revenge!
4. Hey, we still beat 'em 5-1 in Munich back in 2001.
Sad fact is, a lot of these lads ply their trade weekly in the EPL, and without all the expensive foreign tosh in accompaniment, they looked rather ordinary and were torn apart with ease by a tiny, diminutive-looking German midfielder with frosted tips. Mehmet Ozil was a revelation tonight, and Sandro Wagner's late brace was sweet too. Not much to cheer about if you're Three Lions-friendly.