Today’s UEFA U21 Championship Semifinal game between England U21 and hosts Sweden U21 had enough drama to turn even the most indifferent passerby into a full-fledged football fanatic. England ruled the first half scoring 3 goals before the 45 minutes were up, but the host nation, with only 20 minutes left before the final whistle somehow found the resilience to beat the English goalkeeper thrice to tie the game and send it into extra time.
Perhaps it was a bout of inspired patriotism that gave the Swedish side the edge in the second half, but as the extra time went on, England too found some untapped strength to match and at the end of the 30 extra minutes the game turned to a penalty shoot-out to determine the winner. Brilliant shooting had England up 5-4 with Sweden’s Guillermo Molins taking their final penalty shot. The low volley beat the keeper, but not his best friend, the goal post, which solidly ended the hosts’ hopes of a Final appearance against Germany U21. Moving south of West Sweden, the Final game will be played in Malmö on Monday, June 29th.
But for those of you who became Swedish football fans today, there is still much to look forward to from this Scandinavian footballers. September and October will bring matches back to Sweden for both the U21 national side, to qualify for next year’s U21 UEFA Championship, and the Swedish national team, who will play to qaulify for the 2010 World Cup.