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Preview: England Under-21s vs. Switzerland Under-21s - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's European Under-21 Championship clash between England Under-21s and Switzerland Under-21s, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

England Under-21s kick off their UEFA European Under-21 Championship campaign on Thursday when they take on Switzerland Under-21s at the Bonifika Stadium.

Aidy Boothroyd's side come into the competition as one of the major favourites, having cruised through the qualifying group with nine wins and a draw from their 10 games, while Switzerland Under-21s secured their place in the tournament by finishing second behind France in qualifying with nine wins and a defeat.

Match preview

England Under-21s boss Aidy Boothroyd pictured in November 2019© Reuters

England Under-21s come into this game having dominated their qualifying group, dropping just two points from 10 games.

In that time, Boothroyd's side netted an impressive tally of 34 goals, while shipping only nine at the other end.

In the final round of qualifying games in November, the Young Lions recorded a 3-1 victory over Andorra and a dominant 5-0 win against Albania Under-21s at Molineux.

In the latter, Boothroyd's men were fired to an eye-catching win by goals from Callum Hudson-Odoi, James Justin and Jamal Musiala, alongside an Eddie Nketiah brace.

He will be hoping that his team can carry that strong form into the group stages of the Under-21 European Championship, as they look to kickstart their bid to lift the trophy in June.

However, that will be no easy task, as they take on an impressive Switzerland Under-21s outfit who will also be desperate for a win to set the pace for their European Championship campaign.

England Under-21 striker Eddie Nketiah celebrates scoring against Turkey with teammates in the UEFA Euro 2021 qualifiers on October 13, 2020© Reuters

Mauro Lustrinelli's side advanced to the tournament by finishing second in their qualifying group, only trailing leaders France on goal difference.

They looked set to top the group until the last game, when Lustrinelli's men were handed their only defeat of the qualifying campaign, as France were fired to a 3-1 victory by an Odsonne Edouard brace and a Randal Kolo Muani goal.

Nevertheless, Lustrinelli will definitely be encouraged by the performance of his side in qualifying, which saw them cruise through the group having netted 26 goals in 10 games, while only conceding eight.

He will hope that they can bring that impressive record into this campaign, as Thursday presents a great opportunity to take a major scalp and put themselves in pole position to advance out of Group D.

England Under-21s form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W

Switzerland Under-21s form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L

Team News

England Under-21 players celebrate Callum Hudson-Odoi's goal against Andorra in the European qualifiers on November 13, 2020© Reuters

Despite featuring for England Under-21s in the qualifying stage, Jamal Musiala has recently pledged international allegiance to Germany, meaning he will no longer be available for Boothroyd.

Another player who featured heavily in qualifying but will miss out here is James Justin, as he remains out with a long-term ligament injury after an impressive season with Leicester City.

After recently breaking the England Under-21s scoring record, Eddie Nketiah could lead the line in Thursday's opener, despite facing competition in the striker spot from Sheffield United forward Rhian Brewster.

Whoever is selected up front will likely be supported by the attacking threat of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Todd Cantwell, who is standing in for the injured Mason Greenwood.

Everton's Tom Davies could feature in midfield alongside Curtis Jones, who has broken into the Liverpool first team this season with some impressive performances in the Premier League.

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has been somewhat of a shining light in a dismal Sheffield United campaign, with the stopper putting in some solid displays recently, and he will be chosen in the England Under-21s goal.

Andi Zeqiri fired Switzerland Under-21s through the qualifying round with nine goals in 10 games, and he could be the key man for them in the European Championship this year.

Midfielder Bastien Toma could be another key man for the Swiss youngsters, having played an important role for Belgian side KRC Genk this season.

Defender Jordan Lotomba has also been called up to the squad, despite breaking into the Switzerland senior team recently thanks to some impressive performances for OGC Nice in Ligue 1.

England Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; Aarons, Godfrey, Guehi, Sessegnon; Davies, Jones, Skipp; Hudson-Odoi, Nketiah, Cantwell

Switzerland Under-21s possible starting lineup:
Racioppi; Lotomba, Zesiger, Bamert, Sidler; Jankewitz, Sohm, Toma; Mambimbi, Zeqiri, Stojiljkovic

SM words green background

We say: England Under-21s 2-0 Switzerland Under-21s

Despite a tough first fixture, we see the Young Lions kicking off their European Championship campaign with a strong win on Thursday.

Switzerland definitely present a unique challenge, but this current crop of England youngsters should see them comfortably through the group stage, starting with a win at the Bonifika Stadium to set the pace.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood pictured in October 2020
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