5 youngsters who shone at 2015 Euro Under-21 championship

Emre Can played in central midfield for Germany

Sweden won the 2015 U21 Euro title with a win over PortugalOn Tuesday night in the capital city of Prague, Sweden made history when they ousted Portugal 4-3 on penalties to lift their first ever Under-21 European championship title. Hakan Ericson's young guns had a great campaign and were deservedly crowned champions when they dramatically beat Esperancas in the shoot-outs.The competition saw the participation of several young prospects who have made the grade with their club side in Europe and hoped to emulate their heroics with the national side. However, only a handful lot were able in doing so.Here are the 5 players who impressed at the 2015 Under-21 Euro championship.

#5 Emre Can - Germany

Emre Can played in central midfield for Germany

Pre-tournament favourites Germany crashed out in a humiliating fashion when they lost 5-0 to Portugal in the semi-final. considering the wealth of talent in their ranks, they did not really live up to the billing. Although Jose Sa, Amin Younis and Kevin Volland produced some eye-catching displays, Emre Can stood out from the bunch.

The Liverpool man, who had a decent debut season in England, played to his full potential and garnered plaudits for his excellent exploits with Germany. Unlike with his club side where he was mainly deployed as a defender, Can operated from the central midfield and the ploy allowed him to play at his peak.

His box-to-box ability, ball retention and tackling helped Mannschaft in dominating the game and with his clever passing coupled with lung-bursting foray into the box, unlocked defences at will and also linked well with the front three.

Can has given Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool fans plenty of reasons to get excited about the 2015/16 season.

#4 Bernardo Silva - Portugal

Bernardo Silva ran the game for Portugla in attack

William Carvalho may have taken home the Best Player award, but if there’s another player who deserved it just as much, then it has to be Bernardo Silva. The AS Monaco midfielder was at his rip-roaring best and left everyone breathless with his sublime showings.

Silva thrived in his conventional no.10 role in the opening game against England and would only go on to excel in his work as the tournament proceeded. The 20-year old caught everyone’s eye with his ability to outrun defenders and create cut throat chances for his side.

His defining moment came in the semi-final round against Germany when he ran the show with his supreme performance. Not only did he open the floodgates with an early strike, he also put Germany to the sword when he constantly harrowed the defence with his potency and was the cynosure for the umpteen chances created by Portugal in the memorable win.

Silva has effectively announced himself to the world and it won’t be long from now when we see him starring for some top club in Europe.

#3 Domenico Berardi - Italy

Berardi was one of the few players who did well for Italy who crashed out after the group stages

Italy may have exited the competition in the first round itself, but striker Domenico Berardi was their shining light throughout. The Sassuolo star, famous for perilously tormenting AC Milan in the Serie A, was amazing in all the three group games.

Deployed on the right side of the three-pronged attack, Berardi was a huge threat going forward and connected with his team-mates very effectively. The 21-year-old started off his campaign with a wonderful assist to Andrea Belotti’s goal in the 3-1 opening game defeat at the hands of England and had his moments of magic against Sweden and Portugal. He was even on target from the spot against the eventual champions in the group stages.

After a memorable season with Sassuolo where he amassed 15 strikes in the league in 32 appearances, Berardi was tipped to chaperon his team towards European glory here. And although he was unable to do it, he did deliver, at least on the individual front.

#2 John Guidetti - Sweden

John Guidetti is currently a free agent and will find clubs lining up for his signature after his performances at the 2015 U21 Euro

The Sweden team that romped to the title was a well-drilled side that worked collectively as a team and were a class above their rivals in almost every department. Nonetheless, the team’s hitman John Guidetti had a telling contribution in the success.

Whether it was tracking back to beef up the defence or supply the ball forward on the counter or pussyfooting in the final third to receive service from the team-mates, Guidetti had a hand in Sweden’s every move and can be rightly called as the brain and brawn of his side. The former Stoke City man had also bagged two crucial goals in the competition, the equaliser against the Azzuri in the opener and the penalty kick against Denmark in the semi-final that ignited the routing.

Guidetti was recently released by his parent club Manchester City after the culmination of his contract and is currently a free agent. Considering his performance in the Euro, there will certainly be many suitors lining up for his services.

#1 William Carvalho - Portugal

William Carvalho was voted the Player of the Tournament

William Carvalho must have surely left some top guns of Europe salivating at his prospect, for the Sporting Lisbon man was at his imperious best for Portugal throughout the campaign. Without him, they may not have made it that far.

Although he committed the faux pas of blazing his shot wide with the final penalty kick that handed Sweden the title, the midfielder did not get anything else wrong. He was the chief orchestrator of his side, acting as a nexus between the defence and the attack and dominated the proceedings from the centre of the park with his towering stature.

His occasional bombings into the box provided further impetus in the attack and was a threat even from the set-pieces.

Carvalho’s immaculate performances may have come to a bitter end when he missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out in the finals, but that still wasn’t enough to deny him the Player of the Tournament award he was bestowed with.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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