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Group B preview: Bulgaria, England, Germany, Netherlands

Published: Saturday 1 July 2017, 15.58CET
England, Germany, the Netherlands and Bulgaria are all anticipating a tight contest in the battle for two U19 EURO semi-final spots, with "high-level games" to decide it.
Group B preview: Bulgaria, England, Germany, Netherlands
The Group B coaches, left to right: Keith Downing (England), Angel Stoykov (Bulgaria), Maarten Stekelenburg (Netherlands) and Frank Kramer (Germany) ©Sportsfile
Published: Saturday 1 July 2017, 15.58CET

Group B preview: Bulgaria, England, Germany, Netherlands

England, Germany, the Netherlands and Bulgaria are all anticipating a tight contest in the battle for two U19 EURO semi-final spots, with "high-level games" to decide it.

Bulgaria
Previous final tournaments: 2
Most recent: 2014 (group stage)
Best performance: group stage 2008, 2014
Qualifying round: Portugal 1-0, Denmark 3-1, Belarus 0-1 (Group 8 winners)
Elite round: Israel 1-1, France 2-1, Bosnia and Herzegovina 3-1 (Group 5 winners)
Top scorer: Kaloyan Krastev, Tonislav Yordanov – 3

Angel Stoykov, coach: "We're delighted to be here, to be part of this tournament. We reached the U17 finals in 2015, and it's largely the same team, the same group of players. We have a strong group, both collectively and individually – that's what got us to these finals. The draw puts us against three of the leading forces in football, not just in Europe but worldwide – England, Germany, the Netherlands – but this means that we have to be more motivated, to get organised and to show our best."

©Sportsfile

England's Keith Downing in Tbilisi

England
Previous final tournaments: 8
Most recent: 2016 (semi-finals)
Best performance: runners-up 2005, 2009
Qualifying round: Luxembourg 2-0, Wales 2-3, Greece 2-0 (Group 6 winners)
Elite round: Norway 3-0, Spain 3-0, Belarus 5-1 (Group 3 winners)
Top scorer: Trent Arnold – 4

Keith Downing, manager: "We have a squad that was assembled back in September and has progressively got better. We're a good group, mixed age and we're looking forward to giving them further development in their international careers. We're very respectful of the group – Bulgaria knocking out France in the elite round has to be respected, and we know Germany and the Netherlands will give us some very competitive games. We look forward to that, and we're confident we can do well."

Germany
Previous final tournaments: 8
Most recent: 2016 (semi-finals)
Best performance: winners 2008, 2014
Qualifying round: Gibraltar 5-0, Albania 3-2, Republic of Ireland 4-0 (Group 4 winners)
Elite round: Cyprus 2-1, Serbia 2-0, Slovakia 4-0 (Group 2 winners)
Top scorer: Etienne Amenyido – 4

Frank Kramer, coach: "We're very optimistic. Our mood is good; we've improved all through the season, both in spirit and in terms of the football we're playing. Every team here is very strong, especially in our group; they will be very tough, close games. We're prepared for that. This is a very unified team and we hope that this will help us with some tough, high-level games. This is what the players need to improve; tough games, tough competition and showing their best performances. We'll need that in every game. We're looking forward to it."

©Getty Images

The Netherlands enjoy qualification

Netherlands
Previous final tournaments: 4
Most recent: 2016 (group stage)
Best performance: group stage 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016
Qualifying round: Romania 2-1, San Marino 4-0, Norway 1-0 (Group 2 winners)
Elite round: Finland 1-0, Ukraine 2-0, Greece 0-0 (Group 1 winners)
Top scorer: Kaj Sierhuis – 3

Maarten Stekelenburg, coach: "It's a competitive group, as every coach has said, so we look forward to that challenge. We're missing a couple of players, but we think we still have a competitive squad. We have a couple of Under-18 players, so they're younger – but they're still very skilful, very talented. We will keep to our own style, the Dutch way. Good technical football, lot of attacking, but also good defence; we've showed this year that we can defend well and we'll look to continue that in this tournament."

Last updated: 01/07/17 16.06CET

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http://www.uefa.com/under19/news/newsid=2472970.html#group+b+preview+bulgaria+england+germany+netherlands