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Under-21 EURO: ones to watch in the group stage

UEFA.com's in-the-know correspondents pick out a player to watch from each of the 16 teams taking part in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship group stage.

U21 EURO Ones to Watch
U21 EURO Ones to Watch

Croatia: Nikola Moro (Dynamo Moscow)

Croatia's captain bears the responsibility of leading one of his country's best ever generations of talent – and has the discipline, maturity and confidence to do just that. As a midfielder, he also possesses excellent control, dribbling and passing abilities, and a powerful shot.

Czech Republic: Michal Sadílek (Slovan Liberec)

The heart of this Czech team, its set-piece taker, motivator and leader. He has helped out at left-back in recent matches but is expected to return to his usual central midfield beat for the group stage. Currently flourishing back in his homeland on loan from PSV.

Denmark: Oliver Christensen (Odense)

2021 Under-21 EUROs: Meet the teams
2021 Under-21 EUROs: Meet the teams

'The Vulture from Kerteminde', Christensen has already played a key role at club and international levels. He made his senior Denmark debut in the absence of Kasper Schmeichel last autumn but also played every minute of the U21s' qualifying campaign, in which they won eight and drew two of ten matches.

England: Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea)

Mason Greenwood might have been a late withdrawal but Hudson-Odoi may be an even more potent weapon in Aidy Boothroyd’s armoury. A regular for his club since Thomas Tuchel's recent appointment, he has been deployed everywhere from right wing-back to second striker.

France: Amine Gouiri (Nice)

Signed from Lyon last summer, centre-forward Gouiri has scored regularly in Ligue 1 and in Europe despite Nice's dips in form, with his four group stage goals earning him a spot in UEFA.com’s UEFA Europa League breakthrough team. "Gouiri is ambitious and has what it takes to succeed," said ex-Nice boss Patrick Vieira.

Germany: Ridle Baku (Wolfsburg)

Classic Germany U21 goals
Classic Germany U21 goals

The right wing-back is the only Germany representative already capped at senior level. The former Mainz man is one of the fastest players in the Bundesliga, not to mention experienced for his age, versatile, tough-tackling and dangerous in front of goal. Coach Stefan Kuntz said: “Attacking is undoubtedly one of his strengths.”

Hungary: Bendegúz Bolla (Fehérvár)

Bolla has been a vital player for his club this season, his efforts catching the eye of senior Hungary coach Marco Rossi. Bolla started out as a prolific forward, but in the past few years has morphed into more of an attack-minded right wing-back who can be an asset at both ends of the pitch.

Iceland: Ísak Bergmann Jóhannesson (Norrköping)

Midfielder Jóhannesson is attracting huge interest with his exploits in Sweden. His displays have been so impressive that there have reportedly been scouting envoys from the likes of Inter, Juventus and Man. United. He will have only turned 18 the day before the group stage starts.

Italy: Sandro Tonali (AC Milan)

Classic Italy U21 goals
Classic Italy U21 goals

Moving from Brescia to Milan and handling the expectation associated with being tagged the new Andrea Pirlo was never going to be easy, but Tonali is beginning to show his talent and grow in confidence under Stefano Pioli. He looks ready to stand up as a leader in the Azzurrini midfield.

Netherlands: Noa Lang (Club Brugge)

Since arriving in Belgium on loan from Ajax, this fleet-footed winger has been in the form of his young life. His speed, link-up play and ability to score goals as well as create them makes him a constant threat for opposing defences.

Portugal: Trincão (Barcelona)

The gifted Barcelona flanker returns to U21 action having already picked up six senior caps. With a powerful shot, skill and pace, Trincão is a joy to watch and could be very useful for Portugal as they seek to claim this particular piece of silverware for the first time.

Romania: Marius Marin (Pisa)

2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities
2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities

Five years ago, Marin left his home town Timisoara to join Sassuolo in Italy before loan spells at Catanzaro and Pisa, where he signed permanently following promotion to Serie B. Marin allies hard work with an array of skills and is expected to lend balance to the Romania midfield.

Russia: Fedor Chalov (CSKA Moskva)

Still just 22, Chalov has five years of playing for the senior CSKA team under his belt, plus several full international caps and the accolade of 2018/19 Russian Premier League top scorer. Still knocking on the door of the senior national side, he is clearly the U21s' main attacking threat.

Slovenia: Timi Elšnik (Olimpija Ljubljana)

Slovenia's captain will be in the spotlight on home soil, having reprised his prominent midfield role since coach Milenko Aćimović took over. Elšnik is integral to Slovenia's build-up play thanks to his eye for a pass. Back in Slovenia after some character-building stints in the English lower leagues, this is his chance to prove his worth.

Spain: Brahim Díaz (AC Milan)

Classic Spain U21 goals
Classic Spain U21 goals

Despite his tender age, Díaz has played for three of Europe’s top clubs in Man. City, Real Madrid and AC Milan; indeed he is currently thriving on loan at Milan in Serie A and was a key component in their run to the UEFA Europa League last 16. A versatile midfielder with a nose for goal, he will be asked to act as the holders' creative heartbeat.

Switzerland: Andi Zeqiri (Brighton)

With 11 goals in 13 games, Zeqiri is undoubtedly his team's most prolific asset. Raised in francophone Switzerland, he was an admirer of Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. He joined the Juventus youth ranks on loan from Lausanne in 2016/17 and is now in the English top flight with Brighton.