U21 contenders continue their fine-tuning

The eight UEFA European Under-21 Championship finalists continue their preparations with the second half of their double-header of March friendlies, looking to improve on last week's efforts.

Ukraine and Iceland are both in friendly action again following their meeting last week
©Pavlo Kubanov

The teams warming up for June's UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals continue their preparations with their second friendly tests in the space of a few days.

Monday: Denmark v Ukraine
Denmark coach Keld Bordinggaard will ask his players to cut out the individual errors that "killed" this summer's tournament hosts in last Thursday's 4-0 home defeat by England. "We failed individually," said Bordinggaard, who welcomes Brøndby IF defender Daniel Wass back to his squad after a brief substitute appearance for Denmark's senior side against Norway on Saturday. Pavlo Yakovenko's Ukraine travel to Herning boosted by a 3-2 home win against Iceland last week.

Monday: England v Iceland
England may have won handsomely in Denmark but Stuart Pearce is seeking an improvement on their first-half showing, noting that England were "too open in midfield" in Viborg. "We have to be full at it every game," added Pearce who, after losing captain Micah Richards to a hamstring injury, has added Jordan Spence, Ben Amos, Adam Hammill and Jordon Mutch to his squad. Jordan Henderson, Fabrice Muamba, Chris Smalling, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Wellbeck have returned to their clubs.

Eyjólfur Sverrisson will similarly want greater consistency from Iceland over the 90 minutes in Preston, given they were 3-0 down in Ukraine before a belated two-goal response. He should be helped by the availability of Alfred Finnbogason, Arnór Smárason, Birkir Bjarnason, Gudmundur Kristjánsson and goalkeeper Haraldur Björnsson, who were on senior duty on Saturday – with the first three appearing as second-half substitutes in a goalless draw in Cyprus.

Monday: Spain v Belarus
Belarus coach Georgi Kondratyev felt his side's 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic was a useful test and another beckons in Alcala de Henares. Spain will want to bounce back after defeat in France and RCD Mallorca forward Emilio Nsue is among the players looking to impress coach Luis Milla in Spain's last friendly before June's finals. "I know I will have to continue to work exceptionally hard to break into this team as there is so much competition," he said. Milla has brought in Raúl Baena to replace Rubén Pérez (hamstring).

Tuesday: Czech Republic v France
The Czechs are aiming for a seventh straight victory in Olomouc but will face a serious test against a France side buoyed by their 3-2 win against Spain. Czech coach Jakub Dovalil felt his side showed their strength in depth in beating Belarus 2-0 on Friday and was particularly pleased with goalscoring debutant Zdeněk Šmejkal who "proved his quality on the left side".

Tuesday: Qatar (Olympic squad) v Switzerland
After winning 2-1 in Saudi Arabia, the next stop for Pierluigi Tami's team is Doha, where he will hope they can cut out the occasional lapses in concentration shown against the Saudis. Tami took positives from that last match, including midfielder Fabian Lustenberger's successful return and the scoring debut of Grasshopper-Club's Nzuzi Toko, but acknowledged the experiment of fielding US Città di Palermo's Pajtim Kasami on the left side of midfield had not worked.

Reporting: Peter Bruun, Paul Bryan, Ladislav Josef, Boris Popov and Stefán Stefánsson.

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