Spain thrashes Ukraine as England maintains perfect record: U21 Euro Championships Semi-final Roundup
After regular days full of action and excitement, only four teams remain in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Consequently, a ton of goals and bustle was expected in the semi-finals of the tournament and it’s fair to say that the times didn’t disappoint in keeping the fans on the verge of their seats.
England vs Israel
After defeating Portugal 1-0 in the quarter-final, the U-21 English team managed to reach the semi-final of the competition, where they were up against Israel, who took down Georgia in their pursuit of greatness on penalties.
The two sides were locking horns against each other for the second time in the same tournament after they crossed paths in the group stage. In that match, Lee Carsley’s men recorded a comfortable victory over Israel as Emile Smith Rowe and Anthony Gordon got their names on the scoresheet.
The match was taking place at the Adjarabet Arena and England was the favorite to triumph from the start. Consequently, the Three Lions managed to perform well on the expectations. With a dominant start, England made it evident that they’ll be playing an aggressive and physical game.
Interestingly, the Three Lions were also awarded a penalty in the initial minutes of the match after a lot of discussion and drama. However, Gibbs-White smacked the ball wide away from the goal, missing an incredible chance to break the deadlock.
The young English squad was making deep runs and in addition to that, they were tempting their opponents to make fouls. From one end to the other, England’s dominance in the game was fairly visible.
However, the team finally got a reason to rejoice after Morgan Gibbs-White angled a perfect header into the net from the front of the goal. The Nottingham Forest player looked relieved for the first time in the match since he missed the penalty. Thus, England found the perfect opening in the first half without conceding any goal. Thus, as the second half got underway, Israel started committing more men forward as they were desperate for a goal.
Following a couple of substitutions, a pair of fresh legs were introduced on the ground by Israel but unbothered by everything, Cole Palmer doubled the lead for the Three Lions. The second goal of the match was also quite controversial as it was initially ruled out as an offside but after a close review, the goal was given to Lee Carsley’s men.
Cameron Archer and Harvey Elliott were subbed in the ground for exposure with twenty minutes remaining on the clock. Coincidentally, the Aston Villa star added another goal to England’s tally on his first and only shot of the match. Thus, with another easy win, the Three Lions secured a place in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship for the first time since 2009.
Spain vs Ukraine
The second semi-final of the tournament was to be played between Spain and Ukraine. Spain took down Switzerland in the quarter-final, while Ukraine recorded a major win over France to book a berth in the semifinals. The match was expected to go either way but La Furia Roja were the anticipated favourites.
Coincidentally, likewise, in the first semi-final, Spain and Ukraine were also facing each other for the second time in the same tournament. They initially locked horns in the final group stage match, which ended 2-2 as both nations shared a point. However, In the last four, something like that wasn’t possible to happen.
Ukraine got a fairy tale start as Artem Bondarenko was extremely agile to draw the first blood and gave his side an early lead. However, the celebrations were still going on as Spain’s Abel Ruiz levelled the score with a screamer. After the match got equal again, a different enthusiasm was visible on the Spanish side. After just a few minutes of putting in an equalizer, Oihan Sancet got his side into the lead with an incredible goal.
Understanding the situation, Ukraine met with formational as well as tactical changes in their line-up. However, nothing in their arsenal was able to get past the high pressing by La Furia Roja. The first half found its conclusion with Spain in the lead 2-1. Ruslan Rotan’s men looked confident at the start of the second half, but the match eventually became a nightmare for them.
Real Madrid’s Antonio Blanco made it three for Spain, and adding to the tally, Aimar Oroz ended Ukraine’s hopes for a potential comeback in the semi-final with a goal in the 68th minute. However, the final nail in the coffin was hammered by Premier League Champion Sergio Gómez, who made the score 5-1 in favor of Spain.
Recording a highly dominant victory over Ukraine, Santi Denia’s men will be facing England, who haven’t conceded a single goal in the tournament yet, in the final of the 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship on Saturday.