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Netherlands 1-2 Germany: Wirtz double books final spot

Florian Wirtz scored twice in the opening eight minutes as Germany reached a record-equalling third straight final.

Florian Wirtz (right) celebrates his and Germany's second
Florian Wirtz (right) celebrates his and Germany's second AFP via Getty Images

Florian Wirtz scored twice in the opening eight minutes, the first the fastest goal in UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals history, to send Germany into the decider for a record-equalling third time in a row.

Wirtz was with the senior squad while the group stage was played in March but was called up for the knockout phase and his early burst meant the Netherlands could not match their 1-1 group draw with Germany, also in Székesfehérvár, though Perr Schuurs pulled one back with 23 minutes left. Germany will face Portugal for the title at 21:00 CET on Sunday in Ljubljana.

Highlights: Netherlands 1-2 Germany
Highlights: Netherlands 1-2 Germany

Match in brief

Germany struck in 29 seconds without the Netherlands having had a touch, a move from the kick-off involving 14 passes in a sweeping move from defence up the left flank, Lukas Nmecha playing the ball in for Wirtz to finish. In the eighth minute Wirtz struck again, with some fine movement and an accurate low shot from just outside the box following Ridle Baku's excellent pass. On 20 minutes Mergim Berisha curled a free-kick on to the crossbar, but after that the Netherlands started to test Finn Dahmen through Justin Kluivert, though Germany continued to pose a constant threat.

The second half began in quieter fashion but on the hour mark Berisha hit the woodwork twice more in quick succession, first shooting on to the post then looking a header against the bar. But there was hope for the Netherlands seven minutes later when corner found its way to Perr Schuurs, whose low shot fooled Dahmen. Germany did not sit on their narrowed advantage, David Raum shooting over from distance, but the two early goals proved enough.

The match as it happened

Reaction

Kuntz: "Big heart the basis of our success"
Kuntz: "Big heart the basis of our success"

Stefan Kuntz, Germany coach: "If you score two early goals like that then you are mentally 'fresh'. In the second half of course they tired but we have a great squad and we were able to throw other players in, and it helps the atmosphere, it makes them feel like a whole group."

Florian Wirtz, Player of the Match: "The team performance was fantastic from the first minute onward, every player played a great role. We put our foot down from the start and imposed our game."

Erwin van de Looi, Netherlands coach: "I’m disappointed with two things – we didn’t reachthe final. And we didn’t reach thelevel we should have shown. The first 20 minutes were a disaster. But in the second half we stood up, I'm proud of that."

Dani de Wit, Netherlands captain: “We came here with an objective to win the tournament, and we didn’t achieve that. We hadn’t touched the ball and they scored, these games you have to start very well. The organisation wasn’t good enough ... In the first ten minutes we were overwhelmed, we didn’t know where to look.”

De Wit on 'devastating' Dutch defeat
De Wit on 'devastating' Dutch defeat

Key stats

  • Wirtz's opener on 29 seconds is the fastest goal in U21 finals history. The previous record was 41 seconds by David Rozehnal of the Czech Republic against Italy in 2002, also in a semi-final.
  • That goal was Germany's 500th in this competition, including qualifying. Spain were the first to reach that mark, in the group stage.
  • Germany, champions in 2017 and runners-up in 2019, have reached their third straight final, equalling a record set by Italy between 1992 and 1996.

Line-ups

Netherlands: Bijlow; Teze, Schuurs, Botman (Rensch 77), Malacia; De Wit, Harroui (Matusiwa 46), Kadioglu (Sierhuis 69); Stengs (Dilrosun 59), Boadu, Kluivert

Germany: Dahmen; Baku, Pieper, Schlotterbeck, Raum; Dorsch, Maier (Stach 79), Wirtz (Adeyemi 68), Özcan (Janelt 69), Berisha (Jakobs 84); Nmecha (Burkardt 69)