Germany have won the 2021 European Under-21 Championship, beating Portugal 1-0 in the final thanks to a fine strike from Lukas Nmecha.
Die Mannschaft banished the ghosts of last year’s final in which they lost to Spain, with Manchester City’s Nmecha grabbing the game’s only goal just after half-time.
The forward – who spent the season on loan at Anderlecht where he scored 18 league goals – latched onto Ridle Baku’s pass before rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into the empty net. After a strong start from their opponents Germany had the better of the first half, with Arne Maier and Baku both going close.
After Nmecha’s goal, Portugal probed and managed to carve out a few chances of their own. Fabio Viera almost levelled things up with an audacious strike from range, while Baku nearly inadvertently put one into his own net. In the end some stoic German defending was enough to see them home.
The win means Germany move above two-time winners the Soviet Union, Netherlands and England on the all-time Under-21 Euros victors list. They have previously won the tournament in 2009 and 2017, but they remain some way off Spain and Italy who have both tasted glory on five occasions.
Germany’s standout stars from the tournament were Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid Florian Wirtz and final goalscorer Nmecha. Wirtz stole the show in the semi-finals, scoring a quick-fire first-half brace to help his side secure a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, Nmecha ended the tournament as top scorer grabbing two goals in the group stages – which took place all the way back in March – as well as two in the knockouts. He also converted his spot-kick in the quarter-finals when Germany required penalties to get past an impressive Denmark side.