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Germany await Swift and England in European Championships semi

Midfielder set for final-four meeting

25 June 2017

England versus Germany in the knock-out stages of an international competition... it's a fixture for the ages.

And Royals midfielder John Swift will be involved when that old rivalry is rekindled on Tuesday in the southern Polish town on Tychy, 50 miles west of Kraków, when they meet in the U21 European Championships semi-final.

Swift was heavily involved in England's success in their final group game on Thursday, playing the duration in the Young Lions' 3-0 demolition of the tournament hosts and topping Group A.

But they faced a wait to find out who their opponents would be.  Only four teams progressed from the three groups - the three winners, and the best-placed runners-up.

And with the completion of the other two groups on Saturday, it has transpired that the other sides to have reached the semi-final are Italy and Spain - both as group-winners - and Germany due to their +4 goal-difference after losing their final group game 1-0 to Italy... a result that suited both.

Ironically, Italy finished their pool games on 6 points - the same as fellow Group C nation Germany - yet they finished top of the group in spite of having a goal-difference of just +1, owing to head-to-head record taking precedence.  Spare a thought for Slovakia and Portugal, who each finished their groups with 6 points and goal-differences of +3 and +2 respectively, but who found themselves judged against Germany rather than Italy in the competition's convoluted format.

Thursday's game will be a rematch of the 2009 final, in which Germany won their one and only U21 Euros tournament to date.  That was a talent-rich group which boasted players who have since become household names - Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Sami Khedira - to name a few.

There's no shortage of ability in this current England crop... and they're just two wins from bringing the silverware back to these shores.

So we wish John Swift and all of the England U21 squad the very best of luck for Tuesday's 6pm kick-off!


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