Backs to the wall for U21 heavyweights

Published: Monday 1 March 2010, 10.15CET
Holders Germany and five-time champions Italy both find themselves in perilous positions as qualifying for the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark resumes this week.
Backs to the wall for U21 heavyweights 
To view this content, you need JavaScript enabled and the latest Adobe Flash Player installed.http://www.adobe.com/go/getflash
 
Published: Monday 1 March 2010, 10.15CET

Backs to the wall for U21 heavyweights

Holders Germany and five-time champions Italy both find themselves in perilous positions as qualifying for the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Denmark resumes this week.

Qualifying for the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship resumes on Tuesday and Wednesday with some of the continent's heavyweights under pressure as the race for a place in Denmark intensifies.

Germany celebrated their first title at this level eight months ago in Malmo, but have faltered in their defence and sit third in Group 5, eight points adrift of pacesetters the Czech Republic and five behind surprise package Iceland. Rainer Adrion's side face a stern test against a red-hot Iceland who will be looking to add to their 22 goals from five games – a competition high – when they travel to Magdeburg on Tuesday.

No less perilous is Italy's position, with the five-time champions also third in their section, six points behind leaders Wales but with a game in hand. Pierluigi Casiraghi's side take on second-placed Hungary in Rieti on Wednesday looking to improve on a record of two wins from five games and avenge a shock 2-0 defeat by Sándor Egervári's men in November.

Some notable powers are flexing their muscles again. As well as the 2002 champions Czech Republic, the Netherlands, 2006 and 2007 winners, also boast a perfect record after five matches. Cor Pot's Jong Oranje will look to keep that run going at home to Poland on Wednesday.

The Netherlands lead a tough Group 4 thanks to a 2-1 win in November against Spain, who will expect to get back to winning ways against bottom side Liechtenstein on Tuesday. The game of the week pits Greece against England in Group 9, with top spot up for grabs. The teams drew 1-1 in September in Tripoli, and Greece lead Stuart Pearce's men by two points but have played a game more.

SSI Err
Last updated: 08/03/10 16.03CET

Related information

Team profiles