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Europe: Euro U21
1 - 1
(1 - 1)
Germany U21
Israel U21
X Y. Moukoko (3), Y. Bisseck (26), X J. Ngankam (80)
D. Turgeman (20), E. Karzev (45)

Ngankam and Moukoko miss penalties as German U21s draw Euro opener

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

A highly disappointing summer for German football continues after Antonio di Salvo's DFB Juniors were only able to draw Israel 1-1 in their opening group stage match of the 2023 UEFA U21 European Championship. 

The spoils were shared despite the fact that the German U21s were gifted two chances to score from the penalty spot and even played against a ten-man Israeli side for the entire second half. 
Jessic Ngankam
Jessic NgankamDFB
The highest German youth level's defense of their 2021 UEFA U21 European Championship title got off to something of a tepid start Thursday evening in the Georgian city of Kutaisi. Germany U21 head-coach Antonio di Salvo's XI put on a performance that was lively and uplifting at times at the rain-soaked Ramaz Shegelia Stadium. The DFB Juniors will nonetheless rue two missed chances from the penalty spot and a failure to capitalize on 45 minutes with the man advantage. Three points were missed as the German team's group stage began with a 1-1 draw.

Di Salvo deployed a 4-1-4-1 formation. Most recent captain Yannick Keitel operated as a semi-sweeper. The current skipper Yann Aurel Bisseck handled central defense behind Keitel alongside FC Schalke 04's emergent CB Henning Matriciani. Gladbach's Luca Netz (left) and Stuttgart's Josha Vagnoman (right) occupied the fullback slots. U21 veterans Tom Krauß and Angelo Stiller worked just ahead of Keitel. Köln's Dennis Huseinbasic and newly signed Brentford attacker Kevin Schade worked the wings behind lead-striker Youssoufa Moukoko.

Di Salvo's defending European champions were gifted an early chance to score an opener when Israel's Roy Revivo knocked Schade down in the penalty area less than two minutes after kickoff. Moukoko unfortunately wasn't able to keep his nerve from the spot and keeper Daniel Peretz had an easy ground save to his right. To their credit, the DFB youths were unperturbed and controlled the flow of the game for the opening quarter-of-an-hour.

Although the German build-up play remained impressive, there were a few nervy moments at the back. A ball loss from Schade and a grave error from new SC Freiburg #1 keeper Noah Atubolu led to chances for an Israeli side that was rarely in possession. Di Salvo's charges did appear vulnerable on the counter, however. A mistake from Keitel and a marking error from Bisseck led to the opening goal in the 20th. Striker Dor Turgeman slotted home the 1-0 in the 20th.

Germany were able to equalize six minutes later off a set-piece. Stiller angled in an excellent service from just outside the 18 on the right. Bisseck atoned for his earlier error with a cheeky no-look flicked-headed finish into the back of the net. Approximately ten minutes after the 1-1, the DFB-XI thought they had regained the lead. Regrettably, a splendid finish from Vagnoman from 25 meters out in the 37th was chalked off after Moukoko was ruled to have screened keeper Peretz from an offside position.

Schade and Huseinbasic supplied some optically pleasing attacking dribbles before the first-half was out. Hopes were further buoyed by the fact that Israel were reduced to ten-men when midfielder Eden Karzev was sent off on double yellows at 45+1. The DFB Juniors would have 45 minutes with the man-advantage. It counted as sorely disappointing that, after the restart, one could hardly tell.

Israel nevertheless defended very passionately after the restart and the Germans had difficulty coming up with ideas outside the area. Little transpired apart from a poorly first touched ball from Moukoko in the 54th. Numerous low crosses in Moukoko's direction failed to connect. Di Salvo's lads put in their fair share of hard work, yet couldn't find the requisite accuracy.

A penalty awarded 13 minutes from time finally gave the more dominant side a chance to take the lead back. A nasty elbow thrown by Israeli captain Gil Cohen left Tom Krauß with a bloody lip well inside the box. The subbed-on Jessic Ngankam strode to the spot this time. The highly-praised Hertha BSC striker sadly also couldn't convert. Paretz saved a higher rightward effort and Schade put the rebound wide.

The introduction of highly touted attacking prospects Noah Weißhaupt (Freiburg) and Nelson Weiper (FSV Mainz 05) yielded nothing. Even after seven minutes of added injury time, the two sides could not be separated. Germany and Israel share second place in the group after the English U21s defeated the Czechs 2-0 in a concurrent match.

Germany now get set to face the Czechs on Sunday.

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