Following their Euro 2013 qualifier on Thursday, Portuguese U-21 coach Rui Jorge made some changes to the squad that is set to take on France on September 5th. Mario Rui, Nuno Reis, Julio Alves, David Simao, Caetano, Salvador Agra have all been called up in place of Ivo Pinto, Vitor Bastos, Andre Almeida, Diogo Viana, Ricardo Martins, and Abel Camara. Of the players drafted into the squad, David Simao is the only one who has any sort of experience with the U-21 team. The remaining five are just off Portugal’s best display at a U-20 World Cup for a long time.
Portugal are through to the quarterfinals of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup after a 1-0 win over minnows Guatemala. Portugal were overwhelming favorites coming into the match, and although the scoreline isn’t that impressive, Portugal dominated the match. As has been the case throughout this tournament, Cedric, Caetano, Nelson Oliveira, and Sergio Oliveira were the most impressive for Portugal, although there were no disappointing performers. Portugal started the match well, with Nelson Oliveira coming close. Cedric Soares then then made a run into the box, only to be brought down. The referee awarded the penalty and Nelson Oliveira converted it to make the score 1-0. Portugal continued their dominance in the first half, coming close several more times. In the second half, however, Portugal seemed more content to leave the score at 1-0.
Portugal will now meet Argentina in the quarterfinal. Argentina defeated Mexico controversially 2-1. All three goals scored in the match were penalties, with Argentina’s especially controversial. Portugal have a legitimate chance of overcoming their South American opposition.
Mika, Mario Rui, Cedric, Tiago Ferreira, Nuno Reis, Ricardo Dias(Pele), Sergio Oliveira, Danilo Periera, Alex(Rafael Lopes), Caetano(Roderick), Nelson Oliveira
The Portuguese Under-20 Team is through to the second round after two 1-0 wins over Cameroon and New Zealand each. Portugal’s overall play improved from their lackluster display against Uruguay in their opening match. The team added to their rock-solid defense a creative offense, and while it hasn’t gotten them goals, it has helped them just enough to reach the next round.
Portugal vs Cameroon
Portugal earned a deserved 1-0 victory over their African opponents on Tuesday. Nelson Oliveira scored the Seleccao’s only goal, which was enough to get them the win. Portugal controlled the majority of the match, and enjoyed much more success in their attack than they did against Uruguay. Their attack all payed off when two poor clearances from Cameroon’s defenders gave Nelson Oliveira a one-on-one situation. The Benfica man took his goal well, calmly lobbing it over the keeper to make the score 1-0. Portugal continued to control the match, but the game would end at 1-0.
Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick, Cedric, Luis Martins(Mario Rui), Pele, Danilo Pereira, Julio Alves(Ricardo Dias), Alex, Nelson Oliveira, Caetano(Amidio Balde)
Portugal vs New Zealand
The Seleccao U-20 sealed their place in the second round with their 1-0 win over New Zealand. Mario Rui scored the only goal of the match, but that was enough to give Portugal a deserved 1-0 win. Many are wondering, however, how the score was not more than 1-0. Portugal had many opportunities, mainly through Nelson Oliveira, who enjoyed a splendid game.
Mika, Nuno Reis, Roderick(Tiago Ferreira), Mario Rui, Cedric, Pele, Danilo Pereira(Sergio Oliveira), Alex, Julio Alves, Nelson Oliveira, Caetano(Ricardo Dias)
The Portuguese Under-20 team will now face Guatemala in the Round of 16 of the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Guatemala have not looked impressive at all, losing 6-0 to Saudi Arabia and 5-0 to Nigeria, so a comfortable win should be in the bag. The quality of this Portuguese team is evident, and will continue to grow as the team finds its feet in this competition. Nelson Oliveira and Caetano have already shown that they are destined for bigger things, and players such as Pele, Danilo Pereira, and our entire defense have shown what they are capable of. Portugal will go far in this tournament. Mark my words.