In a tight affair, Germany drew with hosts Czech Republic at the U21 European Championships to seal a semifinal place. The result means Germany will play football at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year.
Czech Republic 1-1 Germany
(Krejci 66' - Schulz 55')
Germany sealed their place in the semifinals of the U21 European Championships with a 1-1 draw against tournament hosts Czech Republic in Prague on Tuesday. After a tight first half, Nico Schulz opened the scoring before Ladislav Krejci equalized to leave the scores level. The result also means Germany have qualified for the Olympic football tournament at the Summer Games next year, in Rio de Janeiro.
In what was a goalless but tight and competitive first half, it was Germany who looked the better side against the Czech Republic. Both teams provided good attacking promise, with separate stages of pressure. But Germany's frequent chances on goal should have had them ahead at the break.
Amin Younes had the first real chance of the game when his tame effort was parried away by Czech goalkeeper Tomas Koubek. The Gladbach man, who spent last season on loan at second division Kaiserslautern, has had an impressive tournament so far, and could have opened the scoring again later on.
After sustaining early German pressure, the hosts began to grow into the game. Needing a win to qualify for the semifinals, opening the scoring would be vital for their chances. Martin Frydek had the Czech's best chance as he ran onto a loose ball just outside the box, but his curling effort drifted just wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen's post. Captain Kevin Volland and Younes both had good chances, but with the scores level at the break, it was all to play for during the second half.
Schulz poakes Germany through
Minutes after the restart, the hosts almost had the lead. An inswinging corner found the head of captain Jakub Brabec and his header beat ter Stegen, but not Julian Korb, who was superbly placed to clear off the line. A scare for Germany, which woke them up from a slow restart.
It was a wake up call that paid off, as eight minutes later, Germany took the lead. Volland did well to cross and after an attempted clearance, the ball fell to the oncoming Nico Schulz who just beat Koubek with his effort. The winger scoring his first goal since May 4 - his only goal for Hertha Berlin last season. Emre Can should have had Germany 2-0 ahead immediately after, but he couldn't beat Koubek as he broke forward.
The hosts responded well to going behind, and it wasn't long before the scores were level again. Substitute Ladislav Krejci was left unmarked by Korb at the back-post and he buried Ondrej Petrak's cross past ter Stegen after 66 minutes. The Czech's continued to pile the pressure onto the German goal, but they couldn't snatch a winner as Germany held on to clinch the draw. The result, as well as sealing a semifinal place in the tournament for Germany, also qualifies the team to play at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Elswhwere in Group A, Denmark overcame Serbia to finish top of the group. Goals in either half from Ramsus Falk and Viktor Fischer sealed the 2-0 win. Germany will now face the winner of Group B in the semifinals on June 27.