Young Lions crushed in final
Germany Under 21s easily beat Stuart Pearce's England 4-0 in Malmo to lift the European Championship trophy.
Last Updated: 29/06/09 11:09pm
Goals from Gonzalo Castro, Mesut Ozil and a Sandro Wagner brace saw Germany Under 21s easily beat Stuart Pearce's England 4-0 to lift the European Championship trophy.
Castro - who had scored against the young Lions in the group stages - found the net in the 23rd minute in Malmo, lifting his effort over the advancing Scott Loach into the bottom right hand corner.
Ozil then doubled soon after the re-start when Loach horribly misjudged his swerving long-range free-kick.
But England refused to give up and Lee Cattermole hit the cross-bar with a long range effort before Andreas Beck twice cleared off the line from Adam Johnson and Cattermole.
Wagner then missed a sitter at the other end for Germany before atoning with a quick-fire brace (79 & 84) to seal the win and continue Pearce's jinx against Germany, after losing to them twice as a player in major tournaments.
Just as well senior boss Fabio Capello could not get a connecting flight to get to Sweden from the Confederations Cup in South Africa - this had too many reminders of past failures.
At senior level, England's clashes against Germany have created so many memories - World Cup victory for Sir Alf Ramsey's men, Paul Gascoigne's tears, penalties and that famous night in Munich when it ended 5-1.
This clash for England's youngsters was defined by the fact that Pearce had Gabriel Agbonlahor and Fraizer Campbell suspended, meaning Theo Walcott was the lone striker and had no support.
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer did not make a save throughout the one-sided match, leaving Pearce to rue leaving Daniel Sturridge with the Under 20s.
Germany landed the first psychological punch when they opted to play in red despite being the "home" team, meaning England would not be wearing the colours of their finest hour when Bobby Moore lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy.
Pearce, in any case, urged his youngsters to forget the past and make a new history, one where England would hold their nerve to the end unlike Italy '90 and Euro '96 when the Under 21 coach was a player.
By defeating Sweden on penalties on Friday they got over their spot-kick hoodoo in semi-finals - but facing Germany at the business end of a tournament is something different altogether.
Pearce, so intense and focused during the tournament, also had Joe Hart suspended, so Loach started in goal, and his first real action saw him picking the ball out of the net midway through the first half.
Ozil was the architect, receiving the ball from Fabian Johnson before running at the England defence and playing a through-ball between Martin Cranie and Loach.
It was perfectly weighted for Castro, who stabbed the ball over Loach and in.
With their confidence bolstered, Germany full-back Sebastian Boenisch tried his luck from 30 yards and whistled a drive just wide of Loach's post.
Germany looked comfortable shifting the ball around and giving England's defence problems.
There had already been a warning before the opener when Micah Richards prevented danger, blocking after Sami Khedira had pulled the ball back for Ozil.
England had hoped to unleash Walcott's pace on the Germans but it proved difficult.
He did get an early sighter when Fabrice Muamba started a swift counter-attack with an intelligent pass, then James Milner played the ball through, but Walcott sliced his finish wide of the near post.
That was as close as it got for England in the first half, then three minutes after the restart Germany grabbed their second.
Michael Mancienne, on at the break for Nedum Onuoha, fouled Wagner 35 yards from goal and Ozil took charge of the set-piece.
The Werder Bremen playmaker was helped by England's wall falling apart and Loach could not handle the swerving effort, falling too far to his right before getting a palm on the ball and helping it in.
Cattermole tried his best, skimming the bar from long distance when he was given time on the ball.
Then Milner left Boenisch on his backside with a piece of trickery before pulling the ball back for Johnson, whose finish was cleared off the line by Beck.
When Milner fooled Boenisch again the defender clattered him on the touchline, right in front of Pearce, who clenched his fists angrily at the German.
Cattermole had an effort cleared off the line by Beck before Germany extended their lead with 11 minutes remaining.
Ozil nicked the ball in midfield before marauding forward and releasing Wagner, who finished through Loach's legs.
Wagner then added the fourth, in the 84th minute, curling into the far corner neatly following a counter-attack.
|England U21||Team Statistics||Germany U21|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|0||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||5|