It was a late highlight, but it wasn't enough to salvage Germany's dream of U21 Euro glory. Despite another spectacular goal from Nadiem Amiri, the young German side went home disappointed as they went down 2-1 to Spain in the final held in Udine. In a match watched by 32,000 spectators, including senior coach Joachim Löw and team manager Oliver Bierhoff, the Spaniards' superior start helped them on their way to victory. Fabian Ruiz gave them an early lead in the 6th minute, with Dani Olmo adding a second to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute.
For Stefan Kuntz, the result of the match still hurt the morning after: ''Defeat feels every bit as bad as it did at the final whistle,'' said the U21 coach on Monday morning, going on to add that: ''Overall our performance was excellent. We learned a lot, made a lot of progress, and did Germany proud. We should be happy with all we've achieved, regardless of how we may feel just now.''
Amiri with three goals and two assists
Amiri, who was part of the squad that lifted the trophy back in 2017, can be proud of his individual performance throughout the tournament. Despite suffering an ankle injury on Bundesliga Matchday 33 against Werder Bremen, he was able to participate in all of Germany's matches, scoring three goals in the matches in which he was named in the starting line-up, namely the semi-final and final. What is more, his two goals against Romania and his stunning long-range effort against Spain were among the goals of the tournament. Not to mention the fact he also provided two assists during the young German side's campaign.
The 22-year-old, like his teammates, has earned the right to a few days off. After a tiring tournament, in which five matches were played, Kuntz hopes his players get the rest they deserve: ''The boys are now keen to go away on holiday, and that's exactly what they need.'' He had one last word of praise for his young squad: ''Most of all, I feel unbelievably proud that we performed the way we did in this tournament for everyone in Germany.'' Joachim Löw, for his part, seemed to agree: ''It was a brilliant tournament.''