As anticipation reaches fever pitch, the Euro 2023 final between England’s Under-21s and Spain’s Under-21s, is set to capture the attention of football fans across the globe. Adjarabet Arena in Georgia, capable of hosting 20,035 spectators, is the battleground for what promises to be a scintillating encounter on Saturday, July 8 at 5pm BST – 8pm local time.
Looking at recent form, England are the only team to have not conceded a goal in this year’s tournament. The English defense, as resilient as they come, seeks to become the first team since Spain in 1984 to win the U21 European Championship without letting a goal through their nets. It’s a feat that speaks volumes about the grit and discipline of Lee Carsley’s men. However, their ambition will be tested against a Spanish side that has scored in their last six consecutive matches.
Despite missing Aston Villa’s star Jacob Ramsey due to injury, the English boss will be relieved to see Norwich’s full-back Max Aarons and West Ham’s defender Ben Johnson return after their suspensions in the semi-final victory over Israel. The strength and tactical adaptability these players bring will prove crucial in a match where margins are expected to be razor-thin.
England’s U21s are no strangers to triumph, with their recent winning streak of five matches echoing back to the prowess of Premier League icon James Milner, who scored against Spain U21s in 2009. This game is an opportunity to continue that tradition of victory and claim their first U21 Euro final in 14 years.
The Spanish squad, on the other hand, brings its own formidable reputation. Unbeaten in their last 20 games, they have the resilience and the spirit to overcome adversity, having twice scored beyond the 80th-minute mark in their last three games. However, their lack of clean sheets recently might be a chink in their armor, with England boasting a remarkable run of at least one goal in 21 consecutive matches.
Historically, matches between these two have offered plenty of excitement and drama, with an average of 2.67 goals per game. If the past is any guide, we can expect a clash full of opportunities and attacking football. Yet, England’s dominance in winning first halves (55% of their matches) and halftimes (55% of their matches) could put Spain on the back foot early on.
Their last encounter ended in a draw (1-1), highlighting how evenly matched the teams are. But the final offers a different platform and a distinct set of pressures. A tie won’t be an option here, and with both teams possessing a perfect record when leading away, the first goal could well decide the outcome of the final.
In the midst of the build-up and expectation, one thing is certain: both teams will leave nothing on the pitch in pursuit of glory. It’s a story of England’s watertight defense versus Spain’s never-say-die spirit, a contest between English precision and Spanish resilience. This final is not just a game, it’s a moment of history waiting to unfold. It’s the young lions against the young matadors, and it’s anyone’s guess who will emerge victorious when the final whistle blows.