U-20s Edged Out on Penalties


Andre Moreira - Portugal vs Brazil - 2015 U20 World Cup

Portugal 0-0 Brazil (1-3 Penalties)

2015 U-20 World Cup Quarterfinal

In an entertaining encounter, the Portuguese Under-20 team was defeated on penalties by Brazil in the quarterfinal of the 2015 U-20 World Cup. The defeat sees Portugal exit the tournament, despite some excellent performances earlier in the tournament. Brazil was the most difficult opposition Portugal had faced in the tournament thus far, and if this match was anything to judge off of, Portugal could have progressed further. 

In preparation for Brazil’s strength in midfield, Portugal U-20 coach Hélio Sousa changed the Portuguese lineup. Gonçalo Guedes was benched, while Rony Lopes vacated his attacking midfield position to fill Guedes’ spot on the left wing. In Lopes’ spot was Estrela, who played in a much deeper role with Tomás Podstawski, in an attempt to solidify Portugal’s presence in the middle of the park. Francisco Ramos was preferred to Raphael Guzzo, once again in a defensive move.

Sousa’s tactical changes appeared to do the trick, with Portugal playing toe-to-toe with Brazil in the first half. Neither team came very close to breaking the deadlock, though Brazil captain Danilo (who plays for SC Braga) did manage to find the back of the net, only to have it called back for a foul. The remainder of the first half passed without much in terms of chances for either team.

The second half began much the same as the first half ended: with both teams cancelling each other out. But as the half wore on, Portugal began to find their feet. The change that sparked Portugal’s attack was the arrival of Nuno Santos, who entered the fray in the 68th minute at the expense of Estrela. Santos was given his usual left-wing spot and Marcos Lopes was shifted to his more familiar attacking midfield role. It was clearly an attacking move from Portugal, and it did the trick. Domingos Duarte sent a header wide, before Marcos Lopes had Portugal’s closest chance. An intelligent diagonal run from Lopes was picked out by an equally intelligent chipped through-ball by André Silva. Lopes controlled the ball, swiveled, and unleashed an excellent left-footed volley, which agonizingly hit the right-hand upright and bounced clear. It was an excellent effort and Portugal was unlucky to take the lead, especially as their play throughout the match warranted it. Unfortunately, despite Portugal’s dominance, they were unable to find a goal, and the match was scoreless after 90 minutes. Then came extra time.

Portugal came out in extra time clearly on top, and largely held that position for the full 30 minutes. Soon after the restart, substitute Raphael Guzzo picked out another of Marcos Lopes’ excellent runs, only for the Manchester City man to nod the ball wide. Not long after, Gelson Martins was gifted with arguably Portugal’s most clear-cut chance of the night. A defense-splitting through-ball from Nuno Santos found its way to the on-rushing Gelson Martins, who despite beating the Brazilian defenders for pace, couldn’t get his shot on frame. It was a disappointing miss from Martins, but fatigue surely played a part. With neither team once again able to open the scoring, the match moved to penalties.

First up was Andreas Pereira for Brazil, who converted his penalty. Marcos Lopes responded by burying his in the back of the net to tie it up at one apiece. Lucão stepped up next for Brazil, but struck his penalty onto the post and out. Raphael Guzzo then stepped up, but his lackadaisical panenka attempt was easily held by Brazilian goalkeeper Jean. Danilo cooly dispatched his penalty for Brazil, but André Silva hit his attempt wide. With Brazil now up 2-1 in the shootout, Gabriel Jesus stepped up and scored. Next up was Nuno Santos, who had to score to keep Portugal in the shootout. Santos began his run-up, and struck the ball, sending it very high and wide of the goal. Brazil began their celebrations and Portugal their mourning.


Quotes:

Rogerio Micale (Brazil coach)

“Portugal created more in front of goal than we did and deserved to win today.”

Hélio Sousa (Portugal coach)

“We stamped our authority on the game, we were better in every area but we just couldn’t score. It’s a shame to lose on penalties but it’s been a great experience for these players, who deserved to keep on playing and showing what they can do as individuals and as a team. This is tough, but it will help them to be stronger in the future and to raise the quality of Portuguese football.”

Brazil advance to the semi-finals and will face Senegal, the same team that Portugal defeated 3-0 in their first match at the tournament. Portugal will now head home.


André Moreira, Mauro Riquicho, Rafa, João Nunes, Domingos Duarte, Tomás Podstawski, Chico Ramos(Raphael Guzzo), Estrela (Nuno Santos), Marcos Lopes, Gelson Martins(Ivo Rodrigues), André Silva

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

PortugalFutbol Player of the Match: João Nunes

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