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Four Chelsea players to watch at the Euro U21 Championship

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As if the Copa América, the U20 World Cup, and the Women's World Cup weren't entertainment enough for what's supposedly the football off-season, we also get to watch the U21 European Championships for the next couple weeks.  Unsurprisingly, given our overflowing stable of promising young talent, there will be Chelsea representation in the eight-team tournament in the Czech Republic.

Nathaniel Chalobah and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will be two of the younger members of the England squad that will be without Patrick Bamford due to injury.  England shouldn't be hurting for goals in Bamford's absence however, with the likes of Danny Ings, Saido Berahino, and Harry Kane in the fold.  There's further Chelsea connection in Steve Holland, who has been Gareth Southgate's assistant for a couple years now.

England will be in Group B, alongside Sweden, Italy, and Portugal, and should be considered one of the favorites.  Other names in Group B that might be familiar include Stefano Sturaro (of Juventus and Italy), John Guidetti (Sweden; Man City prospect), and William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon and Portugal) who's been regularly linked with moves to the Premier League for the last few transfer windows.

Group A will consist of hosts Czech Republic, Denmark, Serbia, and a very impressive sounding Germany side.  The Czechs will play Denmark in the opening match of the tournament tonight; Tomas Kalas and Andreas Christensen could very well start* for their respective countries.  Filip Duricic, on loan at Southampton from Benfica during the second half of the season, is the biggest name in Serbia's squad.  Meanwhile, Germany could field a competitive senior side with the likes of Ter Stegen, Matthias Ginter, Emre Can, Max Mayer, Kevin Volland, and others.

The top two in each group advance to the knockout round, as well as achieve qualification for next year's Summer Olympics.  Should England advance, their place at the Olympics will be taken by the winner of a playoff between the two third placed teams instead.  In any case, good luck to all four Chelsea boys, Steve Holland, and everyone else involved.  In the USA, matches will be broadcast on the ESPN family of networks; in the UK, they will be on BT Sport.

* Turns out Kalas is suspended for the first match.  But Christensen does start!