The official website for European football

Future stars shine at U19 finals

Published: Monday 28 July 2008, 13.00CET
Following the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in the Czech Republic, the uefa.com team choose ten of their potential stars of the future who made eye-catching impressions at the tournament.
by Andrew Haslam & Patrick Hart
from Prague
Future stars shine at U19 finals
Richard Sukuta-Pasu was a key figure for Germany ©Sportsfile
Published: Monday 28 July 2008, 13.00CET

Future stars shine at U19 finals

Following the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in the Czech Republic, the uefa.com team choose ten of their potential stars of the future who made eye-catching impressions at the tournament.

Germany were victorious at the 2007/08 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, but players from all eight teams in the final tournament caught the eye. The uefa.com team picked out ten of those who made a big impression in the Czech Republic.

Mihail Aleksandrov (Bulgaria)
The Bulgaria captain worked tirelessly for the cause, ostensibly occupying a left-hand side role but in reality covering tirelessly across the midfield and probing for openings. Clever in possession and never lost heart.

Vlagyimir Komán (Hungary)
The Hungary captain played in an advanced midfield role behind lone striker Krisztián Németh and was perhaps his side's most consistent danger as he moved left and right, although his biggest threat came when he played through the middle.

Ben Mee (England)
The Manchester City FC centre-half provided the answer to England's two problems at this tournament. After sloppy defending cost two goals against the Czechs, Mee was recalled and helped to register successive clean sheets. He also broke England's goalscoring duck in their third game, with a thumping header versus Greece.

Fran Mérida (Spain)
The midfielder was suspended for Spain's opening defeat to Germany but soon made his presence felt on his return, providing much of his team's attacking threat with his accurate set-piece delivery. Put in a virtuoso display against Bulgaria, capped by a fine goal with his weaker right foot.

Tomáš Necid (Czech Republic)
Talisman Necid's four goals drove the Czechs to the verge of the final. He made good set-pieces great. If his first-day double against England turned the hosts into contenders, his headed equaliser in the semi-final completely transformed the match. Now a PFC CSKA Moskva player, the forward was a constant menace to defenders.

Savio Nsereko (Germany)
Sat out the final through suspension having picked up a last-minute yellow card celebrating the win against the Czechs, and Germany missed his energetic contributions down the left. "The best player in the tournament for me has been Nsereko," said UEFA technical observer Roy Millar. "He can go inside on his right foot to make you a goal, or can go wide left and get in behind defenders."

Stefano Okaka Chuka (Italy)
Did not score at the finals, but the No9 was nonetheless the attacking focus of this Italy team. Big, strong and hard-running, the AS Roma forward is a willing target from whom the Azzurrini gather many second balls. Okaka Chuka played every minute since returning from his opening-night suspension.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Greece)
Baby of the class in the tournament's youngest team, Papadopoulos belied his 16 years with eye-catching performances in the Greece rearguard. The English-style centre-back showed perfect timing and positional play with a goal-saving tackle against Italy. The Olympiacos CFP prospect then led the resistance for ten-man Greece against the Czechs.

Silvano Raggio (Italy)
Italy realised what they had been missing when Raggio changed the game against England as a half-time substitute. Suspended for the opening match, the anchorman denied space to England's midfield runners. The 19-year-old also got forward to measure the perfect pass for the semi-final winner against Hungary.

Richard Sukuta-Pasu (Germany)
The spearhead of the Germany attack, his pace and power played a crucial part in his side eventually being crowned champions. Scored fine goals against Spain, decisively, in the final minute of the semi-final with the Czech Republic, and in the final against Italy. Was described as "one of the winners of the tournament" by the Germany coach Horst Hrubesch.

Last updated: 13/01/09 11.14CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/under19/news/newsid=735075.html#future+stars+shine+u19+finals