Blogs & Opinion


European U-21 Championship: Martin Tyler on goals, sausages and attire

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 10th June 2013 view comments

There is no disguising the dismay felt out here by the England squad at this European Under-21 tournament.

They head off to Jerusalem for the final game against the host nation Israel bitterly disappointed that their chances ended after only the fifth game of the entire competition. That they have been followed out by Germany shows the standard this time but losing to Norway for only the second occasion in England's Under-21 history was a bitter pill to swallow.

Stuart Pearce: Has an extensive wardrobe for tournaments

Stuart Pearce: Has an extensive wardrobe for tournaments

However, we are here to cover the whole tournament for Sky Sports and it promises to be quite a climax. Spain are football's serial winners at the moment and are out to retain their title. They have found a way to win two difficult games 1-0 with late goals. That is what champions do.

The Netherlands, in contrast, have hit eight goals to win their six points. Six different players netted in those two games. They will be hard to stop too. With 12 full internationals in their 23 man squad and a couple more who have been called up but not yet played for the Dutch seniors shows they are serious contenders.

l actually had four different rooms in four nights which is not unusual when covering a football tournament. But this time they were in the same hotel!

Martin Tyler
Quotes of the week

Italy have yet to concede a goal though the defence is not as strong as you might expect from an Italian side. They do, though, have fantastic attacking options with Liverpool's Fabio Borini competing with Mattia Destro and Manolo Gabbiadini, both full internationals, and Ciro Immobile who never gives the opposition a moment's peace.

Norway are almost certain to make up the last four. Only a defeat by Italy and an Israel win over England with a big swing of goal difference can put them out. Their success over England was a big deal for them because of their respect for the English game.

They have the spirit of a club side, typified by four of their squad playing in a World Cup qualifier for the senior Norway team on Friday and then getting on a private jet flying through the night to be available for the England game less than 24 hours later. One of them, former Arsenal youngster Havard Nordtveit, actually took part in both games.

Accommodation

Behind the scenes, I must report that the enforced Sky "dormitory" night passed off without incident.

We would have had to find accommodation elsewhere. l actually had four different rooms in four nights which is not unusual when covering a football tournament. But this time they were in the same hotel!

The "peanut" has been traded in for a larger car, now known as the "walnut"... Another christening has involved our two reporters out here, Patrick Davidson and Bryan Swanson. They have spent so much time together discussing the issues of the tournament that they became "the twins".

When they revealed that they were actually the same age that description was upgraded to the "twins that were separated at birth". I must say they both share the same professional standards which make them very good at their jobs.

Despite such a busy schedule we managed to squeeze in a team meal and it was great to catch up with Andy Hinchcliffe who featured prominently in the tales of the previous Under-21 tournament in Denmark.

His passion then for the local sausages almost defied belief but he has clearly improved his diet. Only a proper athlete could be seen in the Hinchcliffe shorts. England's head coach Stuart Pearce has been seen here in anything as audacious. It must be a left-back thing!

Oh, and my laptop, which expired on my first evening here, has been brought back to life by some very clever local technicians. "It has risen from the dead", they told me as I handed over very happily the shekels which the revival cost.

So this is the last typing on the Hebrew computer which has served me so well as a substitute. I hope you have enjoyed it.

Israel v England, Tuesday June 11, from 4.30pm - Sky Sports 2 HD

Post to your View!

Be the first to post a comment on this story

Add Comment*

Send us your views

Are you a Sky Sports subscriber?

*All fields required, your email address will be kept private

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Andy Walker

Walker: Celtic must capitalise

Celtic are the ‘luckiest team in the world’ and must seize their chance against Maribor, says Andy Walker....

Guillem Balague

Balague's best buys

Guillem Balague picks his top 15 under-the-radar signings set for a big La Liga this season......

Martin Tyler

Tyler's stats and facts

Which team has lost the most Premier League games ever? Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is back!...

Latest News RSS feeds

Wednesday live!

Follow all of night's action including Celtic's trip to Maribor

Rojo completes United move

Manchester United have completed the signing of Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon.

Barcelona take appeal to CAS

Barcelona are appealing to the CAS after FIFA upheld their transfer embargo.

Live transfer updates

Man Utd confirm signing of Marcos Rojo, Edin Dzeko signs new Man City deal and QPR land Leroy Fer from Norwich.

Mackay not heading to Palace

Sky sources understand Malky Mackay will not now be appointed as manager of Crystal Palace.

Features

Premier League Transfer: New signing Marcos Rojo must prove the critics wrong once again at Manchester United

Premier League Transfer: New signing Marcos Rojo must prove the critics wrong once again at Manchester United

It’s not Arturo Vidal or Mats Hummels but it seems Manchester United finally have a new signing in £16million man Marcos Rojo. The Argentine defender will arrive at Old Trafford with more questions than those believing him to have the answers. No matter. Rojo has proved the critics wrong before.

Champions League playoff: Arsenal survive Besiktas test with Calum Chambers impressive in the centre of defence

Champions League playoff: Arsenal survive Besiktas test with Calum Chambers impressive in the centre of defence

It was a night that always threatened to be ghastly for Arsenal, the type of long European trip that smacks of the clichéd banana skin so early in the season.

Transfer News: Sky Bet rate Liverpool's chances of signing each of the strikers on their reported shortlist

Transfer News: Sky Bet rate Liverpool's chances of signing each of the strikers on their reported shortlist

In a recent statistical write up by Whoscored.com, over 60 per cent of Skysports.com readers named Marco Reus as the much-needed forward they believe Liverpool should sign before the summer transfer deadline.