The 2018 UEFA European Under-19 Championships gets underway today, with Brentford interest in a quarter of the teams involved. Just a day after the 2018 FIFA World Cup drew to a close, international football continues with a shift of the eye North West. Finland are hosting the tournament and they will be welcoming England, Norway, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Ukraine and France for the 14-day event.
The games gets underway this evening when Norway take on Portugal and Finland face Italy in Group A. Group B starts tomorrow with England playing Turkey and France facing Ukraine. The group stages will run until next Monday, 23 July, with the Semi-Finals next Thursday, 26 July. Teams that finish third in their group will have an extra game as a play-off for a place in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup 2019, which will be held in Poland next summer. The final is on Sunday 29 July.
There is Brentford representation in two squads and one of the young Bees could be in action today. Brentford B midfield player Jaakko Oksanen has been selected for the Finland squad for the tournament, which was announced last week. And earlier today, England announced that Brentford goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe would be in their squad for the event.
Jaakko has been chosen for the event despite being just 17 and two years younger than many that will be involved. He has ten caps at Under-19 level and was 16 when he made his Under-19 debut against Georgia in October. He has also represented his country at Under-16, Under-17 and Under-18 level.
Ellery has been part of the Under-19 squad for the past year and played in two of England’s three matches in the final qualifying round for the competition. Ellery has five Under-19 caps in total and has also represented England at Under-18 level. The 18-year-old, who has nine international appearances to his credit overall, was in the England Under-20 squad that won the prestigious Toulon Tournament last summer and was called-up as a training goalkeeper for the same event this summer. This year an England Under-21 team won the tournament with Ellery part of the wider squad. Ellery signed a four-year contract with The Bees last month and was promoted to the First Team group.