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European U21 Championships: Germany to book their semi-final place

Stefan Kuntz
Stefan Kuntz is in charge of a powerful-looking German squad

Austria are generously priced to beat Denmark while Germany should win an entertaining affair against Serbia in Thursday's U21 action, says Jamie Pacheco...

"It would be no surprise if Serbia fall apart a bit here should they go a goal down. But it could also be a close one and with their options in attack, Serbia could be good for a goal. Cover both eventualities by going with a Germany win and at least three goals in the game at 6/5."

Denmark U21 v Austria U21
Thursday June 20, 17:30
Live on Sky Sports Football

Austria can replicate opening match win

Denmark can have few complaints about their 3-1 defeat to Germany on Monday night. Not only was the margin of their defeat a substantial one (3-1) but they were also behind in just about every other metric: possession, shots on goal and corners.

At one stage they were actually 3-0 down, pulling a goal back late in the game from the penalty spot, courtesy of Copenhagen winger Robert Skov.

In truth, there was no disgrace in that defeat. Germany have been slightly under-rated coming into this competition and those who got the 11/2 that they'd defend their title must be wondering what they did to deserve such generosity from the odds-compilers. That's scant consolation for Denmark, though.

Like every other team who lost their first game, they know they're drinking in last-chance saloon.
Austria on the other hand will be full of confidence. Serbia carried plenty of people's 'dark horse' tag so to beat them comprehensively was a pretty good effort. It was no fluke, either. Vukasin Jovanovic's sending off obviously helped matters no end but by that stage (the 75th minute) they were already 1-0 up and playing the better football. Their second goal was no more than they deserved.

This has been an unpredictable tournament in terms of results but one constant feature has been that of plenty of matches having a wrong pre-match favourite, based on all the info we have about the two teams.

This game is another example of that. Austria's win over Serbia made it just one defeat in eight for them, that one loss coming in a friendly away in Spain. Not only did they end their qualifying campaign in style but in friendlies after it they also beat this tournament's favourites in France and drew 0-0 in Italy.

As often happens in U21 games, there's little in the way of recent results to see how they've fared against each other in the past, their last meeting in a competitive match coming back in 1992.

Austria are in fine form, played well in that first game and will be feeling good about life. They really shouldn't be 7/4 underdogs here, so bet accordingly.

Germany U21 v Serbia U21
Thursday June 20, 20:00
Live on Sky Sports Football

Germany to win another entertaining affair

Germany played a near-perfect match against Denmark but they can do a lot better. Not my words but rather those of two-goal hero Marco Richter, who acknowledged that his side had played a good game but said there was certainly room for improvement, when being interviewed in the aftermath of that win.

It was a win that's seen them cut to just 10/3 from a pre-tournament quote of 11/2. It's a more appealing price than the 9/4 on offer on Italy and France but let's carry on focusing on this match, rather.

Serbia will have been plenty disappointed by their performance against Austria and are now without a key cog in Vukasin Jovanovic, sent off in that defeat to Austria.

In his absence they'll need an inspired performance from diminutive Benfica winger Andrija Zivkovic or more likely, Luka Jovic. Real Madrid's latest recruit will know all about some of these German players given he spent two seasons at Eintracht Frankfurt before his big-money move.

Germany should go on to win this match. All the dice are loaded in their favour: stronger squad, better first game performance, better tournament pedigree and so on. Crucially, Stefan Kuntz also has plenty of strong options to bring off the bench if fatigue kicks in or he just needs some fresh ideas.

But we can do better than take the 8/15 on the straight win. They've won six of their last seven matches across qualifiers and friendlies and five of those six were in matches with over 2.5 goals in them, including of course that 3-1 win over Denmark.

It would be no surprise if Serbia fall apart a bit here should they go a goal down. But it could also be a close one and with their options in attack, Serbia could be good for a goal. Cover both eventualities by going with a Germany win and at least three goals in the game at 6/5.

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