Black Country’s European football bank holiday festival (also applies to East Mids)

If you’re wondering what to do during the next Bank Holiday, I’ve got just the solution: England has been chosen as the venue for the Group 1 matches of this year’s European Championships and the matches take place at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium and Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium over the Bank Holiday (half term) week.

There are seven groups in the UEFA U19 Elite Qualifying Rounds (to give the competition its full name) and Group 1 will see England take on Scotland, Ukraine and Montenegro.

The mini-tournament kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday 24th May when England take on Montenegro in Walsall; later in the evening, at 7.30pm, Scotland face Ukraine in Burton.

On Bank Holiday Monday, 26th May, Montenegro will play Ukraine in Walsall (3.00pm) before England and Scotland go head to head in Burton (7.30pm).

Finally, on Thursday 29th May, Scotland will play Montenegro at Walsall while Ukraine take on England at Burton (both matches 3.00pm) with all teams hoping they’ve done enough to qualify.

Just one team from each group will qualify to join the hosts for the finals of the competition, which will be held in Hungary from 19th to 31st July. And in addition to competing to get their hands on the UEFA U19 cup, the teams are also fighting for places in next year’s FIFA U20 World Cup in New Zealand. Teams will need to finish in the top six of the UEFA competition to qualify for New Zealand.

Don’t write this off as kid’s football – the Under-19’s squads feature some very promising up-and-coming talent. England’s preliminary squad includes the young Manchester United striker James Wilson who bagged a brace on his Premier League debut against Hull City earlier this month.

Four Chelsea players – Lewis Baker, John Swift, Ola Aina and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – make the squad; alongside Arsenal’s Chuba Akpom, Southampton’s Sam Gallagher, and Charlton’s Diego Poyet.

Admission is incredibly cheap: just £3 for adults; and £1.50 for concessions.

The Black Country is a footballing hotspot – and there’s equally strong footballing support over in the East Midlands. While the England matches will be obvious draws I hope that all the matches in this Elite Qualifying Round attracts large crowds to cheer on young players who have the potential to become future global footballing stars.

UEFA U19 Championships
Group 1 Matches


24 May 2014

England v Montenegro (3pm) – Walsall
Ukraine v Scotland (7.30pm) – Burton

26 May 2014

Montenegro v Ukraine (3pm) – Walsall
England v Scotland (7.30pm) – Burton

29 May 2014

Scotland v Montenegro (3pm) – Walsall
Ukraine v England (3pm) – Burton

For tickets, call:
Walsall matches: 01922 651414 or 01922 651416
Burton matches: 01283 565938

Other Groups

Group 2 (24-29 May): Czech Republic, Sweden, Italy, Bulgaria*

Group 3 (25-30 May): Georgia, Israel, Switzerland*, Cyprus

Group 4 (28 May-2 June): Serbia (holders), Republic of Ireland*, Turkey, Iceland

Group 5 (31 May-5 June): Spain*, Germany, Denmark, Lithuania

Group 6 (5-10 June): Russia, Austria, Norway, Romania*

Group 7 (28 May-2 June): Portugal*, Belgium, Greece, Wales


The Preliminary England Squad

(The preliminary squad will meet for training camp between Tuesday 13th and Thursday 15th May; before the final squad of 18 is selected ahead of training, which begins next Sunday, 18th May.) 

Goalkeepers: Mitchell Beeney (Chelsea), Christian Walton (Brighton & Hove Albion). 

Defenders: Ola Aina (Chelsea), Dominic Ball (Tottenham Hotspur), Calum Chambers (Southampton), Shay Facey (Manchester City), Brendan Galloway (MK Dons), Lloyd Jones (Liverpool), Matthew Targett (Southampton). 

Midfielders: Lewis Baker (Chelsea), Isaac Hayden (Arsenal), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Ben Pearson (Manchester United), Diego Poyet (Charlton Athletic), Harrison Reed (Southampton), John Swift (Chelsea). 

Forwards: Chuba Akpom (Arsenal), Devante Cole (Manchester City), Sam Gallagher (Southampton), Jordon Ibe (Liverpool), Josh Murphy (Norwich City), Callum Robinson (Aston Villa), James Wilson (Manchester United). 

For tickets, call:
Walsall matches: 01922 651414 or 01922 651416
Burton matches: 01283 565938

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