England U21 v Finland U21 (Group B)
Date: Monday 15th June
Kickoff: 17:15 GMT
Finland and England will kick off the the UEFA Euro 2009 Under-21 Championship on Monday at the Orjans Vall Stadium in Halmstad, Sweden. You can watch England U21 v Finland U21 live here.
Finland, who are appearing in the finals for the first time, have sounded out warnings that they are not here to make up the numbers. Finland progressed to the final stage after defeating Austria on penalties after the aggregate score was tied at 3-3.
Goalkeeper Tomi Manooja, who was instrumental in that win, misses out here due to injury. Manager Markku Kanerva will hope his team can stretch England and sneak a win if possible.
Manager Stuart Pearce, who has agreed to manage the England U-21 team for two more years, will be hoping that his team can do one better than their performance last time in Netherlands when they lost to the Dutch on penalties in the semi-finals thus losing a chance to lift the Under-21 crown for the first time in over two decades.
With an experienced team on hand, Pearce will hope his side can give a good account of themselves this summer. The team qualified for the final round of the tournament after emerging 5-4 aggregate play-off winners over Wales. England thrashed Azerbaijan 7-0 in a friendly warm-up game last Monday and sent out ominous signals for the rest of the contenders.
With the likes of Theo Walcott and James Milner already having a taste of senior international football, Pearce will hope they can guide the younger players to glory in the summer. For the opener, Manchester City duo Nedum Onuha and Micah Richards are doubtful starters with thigh and groin injuries respectively.
Back to the Under-21 Euro 2009 page.