UEFA.com's team of reporters in the Czech Republic cast an expert eye over the UEFA European Under-21 Championship contenders and predict who might lift the trophy on 30 June.
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Ondřej Zlámal, UEFA.com's Prague-based reporter
High expectations of a great tournament are present everywhere. The stadiums are ready and organisers are hoping to beat the final tournament attendance record. A great atmosphere is assured at all games, not only those involving the hosts. Jakub Dovalil's charges will rely on passionate backing from sold-out stands, but they will also have to adjust quickly to playing under the weight of expectation. I expect great teamwork from them, with Sparta Praha defender Pavel Kadeřábek, recently named the Czech top flight's player of the year, one to watch.
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Ian Holyman, Czech Republic team reporter
Question marks remain over just how strong the hosts are after two years of friendlies, and their squad does not look as imposing as it did on their last participation in Denmark four years ago. As for the winners, can you look any further than Germany? Established Bundesliga performers, such as Kevin Volland, Max Meyer, Maximilian Arnold and Matthias Ginter, provide a formidably solid spine, backed up by UEFA Champions League winner Marc-André ter Stegen. I expect them to hit their stride from the off.
Predicted winners: Germany
Tom Kell, Denmark team reporter
Jess Thorup's team will need a good start against the hosts in the opening game of the tournament; pick up three points on Wednesday and I think they will reach the last four. Look out for AFC Ajax forward Viktor Fischer – who first caught my eye at the 2011 UEFA European Under-17 Championship in Serbia – FC Bayern München midfielder Pierre Højbjerg and Chelsea FC defender Andreas Christensen.
Predicted winners: Portugal
Philip Röber, Germany team reporter
You can only marvel at the individual quality available to 2009-winning coach Horst Hrubesch. This alone won't buy him a semi-final ticket, but Germany's ability to grow as a team during tournaments is a long-established tradition, so it's hard to bet against them. Some of the squad have tasted glory before – they include a FIFA World Cup and a UEFA Champions League winner – and the staff behind the scenes leave nothing to chance.
Grega Sever, Serbia team reporter
With a few of their key players – most notably striker Aleksandar Mitrović (Anderlecht) and defender Matija Nastasić (Schalke) – missing, and with a new coach in Mladen Dodić, Serbia's chances of achieving their stated objective of qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics are not as good as they might have been. However, a team that managed to oust perennial favourites Spain is capable of anything. Winger Luka Milunović (Platanias) is a good technical player, and if he is in good form, he could tip the scales in his side's favour.
Simon Hart, Olomouc-based reporter (England and Sweden)
Group A looks the more challenging of the two sections but from an England perspective, the recent friendly wins against Germany and Portugal, plus the availability of their leading strikers – notably Tottenham's Harry Kane, scorer of 21 Premier League goals in 2014/15 – raise hopes of a significant improvement on their dismal showing in Israel two years ago. There is a desire to make amends and trophy-winning experience in the squad too with six players who tasted international success at the 2010 Under-17 finals.
Nuno Tavares, Portugal team reporter
Boasting eight senior internationals and a perfect qualifying record, Portugal face a now-or-never situation in a tournament that has eluded them despite their status as a European powerhouse at youth level. A positive result from their opening match against England could prove decisive for a team not short on talent. All eyes will be on Monaco's Bernardo Silva, billed as the natural heir to greats like Rui Costa and Deco.
Alessandro Massimo, Italy team reporter
Luigi Di Biagio's Azzurrini showed in their last outing before arriving in the Czech Republic – a 7-0 defeat of Inter Milan's youth side – that they are in great shape, are defensively solid and can score goals. A 4-3-3 formation seems to suit them best, and they have the quality required to repeat their final appearance of 2013. Domenico Berardi, scorer of 31 goals in his last two Serie A seasons with Sassuolo, could be one of the stars of the tournament.