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European U21 Championship Final: Sweden vs. Portugal

Both Sweden and Portugal dished out hammerings in their five-goal semi-finals against Denmark and Germany, setting up a repeat of their final group game to decide the European U21 Championship.

Sweden dispatched the Danes four-one, aided by two goals from baby-faced midfielder Simon Tibbling, while Portugal humiliated a Germany containing the talents of Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen and Hoffenheim starlet Kevin Volland by five goals to nil.

William Carvalho has looked a cut above the rest at this year’s tournament in the Czech Republic, his physicality shining at the base of Portugal’s midfield, while the quick feet of creative midfielder Bernardo Silva have devastated sides including England on the way to Tuesday’s showdown against Sweden.

Pre-tournament odds had Sweden down as Group B’s outsiders, but any fears of an early exit were quickly dispelled by a come-from-behind win against Italy with only ten men, and they were denied an unbeaten record in the group only by an 85th minute goalkeeping mistake against England.

The form of burly striker John Guidetti, unattached after being released by Manchester City this summer, will be key to Jens Gustafsson’s side’s direct style of play, holding the ball up to allow fellow striker Isaac Kiese Thelin and midfielder Oscar Hiljemark to push forward.

Sweden and Portugal’s last encounter in Group B ended in a one all draw courtesy of a goal scored by Gonҫalo Paciênca and a dramatic late equaliser from Simon Tibbling, and best odds of another draw are 11/4 with Coral.

It is hard to look beyond Rui Jorge’s imperious young players, undefeated in the competition thus far, and they are clear favourites to lift the trophy on Tuesday evening at a best price of 5/6 with Betfred and Skybet.

However, Sweden have more than earned their place in the final with wins over Italy and Denmark, and their chances of victory are priced at 4/1 by Betfair.

Tom Lewis
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