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

Features - 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

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