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Germany Seal U21 European Championship With Victory Over Portugal

Manchester City's Lukas Nmecha hit the winner as Germany beat Portugal to win a third European Under-21 Championship.

The Germans were by no chance favorites in this competition but they have won 2 of the last 3 editions, falling in defeat to Spain in 2019. This brings their total U21 Euro trophy haul to 3 (2009, 2017, 2021).

Die Mannschaft beat Portugal by a lone goal scored by Manchester City’s and Anderlecht loanee Lukas Nmecha in the second half. Stefan Kuntz has now won the prize twice, the first time in 2017 with a very talented squad, and this time with underdogs. 

Tiago Tomas had struck the most dangerous effort of the opening exchanges when he tuned in the box and let go with his left foot. Portugal were applying serious pressure. Diogo Dalot danced his way into the box but his left-footed strike was blocked by the German defense. Tiago Tomas got a free header but it did not trouble Mainz goalkeeper Finn Dahmen. In the 15th minute, Florian Wirtz’s strike cannoned off the bar to great Portuguese reprieve. 

On 19, Ridle Baku slipped Nmecha in but Diogo Costa in the Portugal goal swatted his lovely chip away. Ridle Baku was showing why he should be with the senior side and why many teams should be taking a look at him if they need a right-back or right-wing-back. He had the next shot as his left-footed effort while slipping went wide. Arne Maier of Hertha Berlin hit a rocket but Costa refused to be beaten. Fabio Viera struck a sweet shot that sailed over the bar. Half-time

Four minutes into the second half and the breakthrough. Ridle Baku slips in Nmecha who rounds the keeper to finish. 1-0. Diogo Queirós got a chance at the back post to bring things level but could not find the golden touch. Nico Schlotterbeck has been one of the best defenders of the tournament and in the 66th minute, he blocked a Viera shot destined for goal. The Portuguese were swarming the Germans with attack after attack. Dalot put in a fantastic cross across the box but there was no one to steer it in.

Attacking in full force meant space behind and Germany found it with Karim Adeyemi on the counter. He should have squared to his club teammate Mergim Berisha although, with his luck, no one knows what will have happened (Berisha has hit the bar five(!) times at this tournament. However, Costa saved Karim Adeyemi’s shot, keeping the scores at 1-0. On 75, Costa had to be alert to palm Nmecha’s long-range drive. Costa would stop Adeyemi again with his legs. His heroics were not enough though as Germany sealed the title.


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