A superb Cymru performance ended in a narrow 2-1 defeat in Braunschweig as the U21s ended their UEFA U21 EURO 2021 qualification campaign away to group winners Germany.
Germany 2-1 Cymru
UEFA U21 Championship Qualifier
- Tuesday, 17 November 2020
- Eintracht-Stadion, Braunschweig
Paul Bodin made one change from the side that beat Moldova 3-0 last Friday, bringing in Mark Harris who missed the match at the Racecourse due to suspension.
Germany started the brighter of the two teams as Lukas Nmecha shot narrowly wide in the opening minutes. Cymru were unfortunate to concede a penalty on the 17th minute which Nmecha made no mistake in converting in the bottom corner, inches away from George Ratcliffe’s outstretched arm.
Nmecha could have doubled the lead a minute later with a second penalty following a foul by Ratcliffe. However, Nmecha’s effort towards the opposite corner missed the target.
Germany doubled their lead after 26 minutes, with a superb finish from Jonathan Burkradt who cut in from the left-hand side and found the far corner from the edge of the box.
We started quite well and then there was a penalty which we all thought, and having watched on video, definitely wasn't a penalty. The character, spirit and the performance all round from every player, I'm absolutely delighted with them. To be pushing Germany at the end on their own turf to get an equaliser is a performance to be proud of.
Despite the setback, Cymru bounced back and their counter-attack play caused issues for the German defence. Their efforts were rewarded ten minutes before half time, a flick on from striker Luke Jephcott found Mark Harris in the box, who made no mistake in slotting the ball past goalkeeper Dahmen with a superb bottom corner finish.
Both sides upped the pace even further in the second half. Cymru looked to create opportunities on the counter-attack with wingers Nathan Broadhead and Liam Cullen threatening the German full backs.
The chance of the half came to captain Regan Poole. A scramble in the box following an Aaron Lewis corner landed yards from the box and Poole was unfortunate not to get any contact with the ball.
The result means that Cymru finish fourth in what was a difficult group featuring group winners Germany, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Moldova.
The match signalled the end of the age group system for several of Paul Bodin’s players. Regan Poole, Cameron Coxe, Liam Cullen, Aaron Lewis, Mark Harris, Nathan Broadhead, Harry Clifon, Mo Touray, and Oli Cooper’s time in the age groups come to an end, as well as Joe Lewis who made his U21 debut this evening in Braunschweig. Midfielders Robbie Burton and Jack Evans also bid farewell to the U21s with the campaign coming to an end.
Cymru: 1. George Ratcliffe, 2. Cameron Coxe, 5. Regan Poole (c), 6. Brandon Cooper (14. Joe Lewis 86'), 3. Morgan Boyes, 4. Terry Taylor, 8. Harry Clifton, 7. Nathan Broadhead, 11. Liam Cullen (13. Aaron Lewis 68'), 20. Mark Harris (18. Mo Touray, 86'), 9. Luke Jephcott (10. Siôn Spence).
Subs not used: 12. Adam Przybek, 15. Ryan Stirk, 16. Sam Bowen, 17. Oli Cooper, 19. Joe Adams
Goal: Mark Harris 34'
Yellow cards: Nathan Broadhead 16', Liam Cullen 65', Cameron Coxe 74'. Regan Poole 76'.