Euro U21s: Campbell and co. forced to settle for runners-up medals
Posted by nickogs20 on June 30, 2009
The suspended Fraizer Campbell could only watch helplessly as England U21s fell at the final hurdle in the 2009 UEFA Under-21 European Championship, Germany registering an impressive 4-0 victory in Malmo to complete the set of age group European titles.
A depleted England side, deprived of Joe Hart and Gabriel Agbonlahor in addition to Campbell, started brightly but fell behind midway through the first half to Gonzalo Castro’s smartly-taken goal, and from that point onwards Horst Hrubesch’s German side had things well under control. That goal was created by Werder Bremen playmaker Mesut Ozil, who was to dominate the final from midfield.
It was Ozil who got Germany’s second three minutes after the interval, albeit with a big helping hand from Scott Loach in the England goal, the Watford keeper making a terrible hash of Ozil’s long-range effort and allowing it to squirm past him and over the line. As England threw bodies forward in an attempt to salvage something from the final, Germany were typically ruthless on the counter, Sandro Wagner grabbing a quickfire brace inside the final quarter of an hour to give the scoreline a slightly cruel look as far as the English were concerned.
That said, there can be no disputing the fact that Stuart Pearce’s side were beaten by the better team, and this is something of a golden age for German youth football, with their U17s having triumphed on home soil back in May and their U19s being reigning European champions from last year (although, having not qualified for this year’s edition, they will be dethroned in August). Although England will be pleased to have reached a final, there are perhaps a few things to learn from their biggest rival as far as youth football is concerned.
As for Fraizer Campbell, the United forward will return home to make perhaps the biggest decision of his career so far. The Reds have accepted a £6m bid for the 21 year-old from Hull City (where Fraizer spent a fruitful 07/08 season on loan) and are rumoured to have received a similar offer from Steve Bruce’s Sunderland, leaving the youngster with a tricky choice to make. There are also contract issues to resolve with United before any move can take place. With the England party due back home in the next couple of days and the transfer window officially opening on Wednesday, we can expect some movement on that front in the near future.