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2011 Under 21 European football championships

Cream of the Crop Head to Denmark

The 2011 Under 21 European football championships have a fresh feel to them. Traditional powers such as Germany, Italy and France aren’t there while the like of Belarus, Iceland and Ukraine are. The other teams competing are the Czech Republic, England, Spain, Switzerland and hosts Denmark.

Both on paper and in terms of football betting, England and Spain are the favourites. England are coached by Stuart Pearce and have the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Jordan Henderson, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Jack Rodwell in their lineup.

Spain have their own brand of young guns with the likes of Bojan, Jeffren, Thiago Alcantara, Juan Mata and Iker Muniain threatening to destroy the dreams of a new generation of English players. They are in the same group with Ukraine and Czech Republic and so their football odds are very short. In the other group are Belarus, Iceland, Switzerland and Denmark.

The tournament is important as it gives the younger players the chance to showcase their talents  on an international stage and thus boost their worldwide profiles. Two years ago, the likes of Mario Balotelli, Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner, Joe Hart, Manuel Neuer, Mesut Özil played in the tournament and are all now household names, playing regularly for the senior squads in their respective counties.

There is also the added incentive of a place in the 2012 Olympics on the line with the top three teams each winning a spot. England as hosts have an automatic spot so if they finish in the top three, their spot will go to the next in line.

In short it should provide some great football action. The games are bound to be thrilling as will be the in play football betting, especially if there are some upsets.