Two weeks ago, PortugalFutbol announced Part I of the Primeira Liga’s Top 10 Under 24 from last season. In Part I, we announced who were the honorable mentions, and promised the full list to follow. These are ten of the best under-24 Portuguese players from last season playing outside of the “Big Three.” The data has been gathered and the decisions made. Here’s the list. Continue reading
Portugal 5-0 Germany
2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship Semi-Final
A comprehensive performance from the Portuguese under-21 team pushed them past Germany in the semi-final of the 2015 U-21 European Championship to book a place in the tournament’s final. Goals from Bernardo Silva, Ricardo Pereira, Ivan Cavaleiro, João Mario, and Ricardo Horta gave Portugal an emphatic and entirely unpredicted 5-0 win over the Germans. The Portuguese will now face Sweden in the final, to be played on Tuesday. Continue reading
On Wednesday evening, Sporting travel to Stamford Bridge to take on the already-qualified Chelsea in a crunch match that will decide whether they go through to the Round of 16 of the Champions League or not. They go into the game needing just one point to qualify as the group runners-up, having beaten Schalke (4-2) and Maribor (3-1) at home in their last two Champions League games. Continue reading
A goal from Bernardo Silva early in the second half was the only highlight from a Portuguese perspective as a brace from hometown hero Danny Ings and finely-slotted goal from Carl Jenkinson was enough to comfortably guide the English to a 3-1 victory at Turf Moor in Lancashire on Thursday night. Continue reading
Portugal 5-4 Holland
2015 U-21 Euro Qualifying Playoff Leg 2
The Portuguese Under-21 team defeated the Netherlands yesterday 5-4 in the second leg of a playoff for qualification to the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship. With the 2-0 victory in the first leg, Portugal qualified comfortably by a margin of 7-4. Goals yesterday came from Ricardo (2), Ruben Vezo, Ruben Neves, and Bernardo Silva, and although the scoreline appears close at 5-4, the match was much more one-sided (as was the case in the first leg). Continue reading
Portugal Under-21 coach Rui Jorge named yesterday a 23 man squad to face the Netherlands in the playoff for the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship. The playoff is a two-match series, with first played in Netherlands on the 9th and the other in Portugal on the 14th. Needless to say, these two matches are of great importance. This is the closest the U-21 team has come to qualification to a major tournament since 2007, which is the last time the team appeared in a U-21 Euro. Continue reading
Portugal 3-1 Azerbaijan
2015 UEFA U-21 Euro Qualification
The Portuguese Under 21 team maintained their perfect record today, as they ran out 3-1 winners against Azerbaijan in their final 2015 UEFA U-21 Euro qualification match. Having already qualified for the play-off, this match was more or less a formality for Portugal. Despite this, the team managed a convincing victory, with goals from Rafa, Edgar Ie, and Ricardo Esgaio all on the score-sheet for the team. Continue reading
Norway 1-2 Portugal
2015 UEFA U-21 Euro Qualification
The Portuguese Under-21 team defeated Norway 2-1 yesterday to continue their perfect qualification campaign for the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship. The game was a much different encounter than the last time the two teams met, which ended in a 5-1 demolition by Portugal. This time out, the two teams were much more evenly-matched, and Portugal was not able to waltz to victory. This win kept Portugal at the top of Group 8 with a perfect record. The team has only conceded five goals in the seven matches thus-far in qualification, and has retained positive results throughout qualification, despite losing players such as Andre Gomes, Ivan Cavaleiro, and William Carvalho to the Senior National Team.
The Portuguese came into this game already qualified for the playoffs, having secured a top spot in the group. The only real reason for this match was to build confidence and gain more time on the field as a team. Also, Portugal was defending their perfect record in qualifying thus far. And early into the game, it appeared that this match would go much like the last time they played Norway. The Portuguese team dominated the opening exchanges, though the match took time to settle. Once both teams found their rhythm, the match was a lively, even affair, with both Portugal and Norway playing impressively. Though both teams appeared adept at possession, it was Portugal who fashioned the better chances on goal. And it was Portugal who opened the scoring. Some lax defensive work from Norway gave over possession in their midfield. Ricardo Esgaio picked up the ball and passed the ball upfield to Goncalo Paciencia. Paciencia then had the clarity of mind to look up and feed the ball to the on-rushing (and un-marked) Carlos Mane. Mane picked up the pass, took a few touches to steady himself, and calmly slotted the ball home. It was a confident goal that perfectly encapsulated Portugal’s play up to that point. The ease at which Portugal scored their goal left the feeling that they would run away with the game, as they have done countless times in this qualification cycle. That didn’t quite prove to be the case, as Norway defended diligently and capably. Just before half-time, however, Goncalo Paciencia pulled up injured after an awkward fall. The striker was substituted off for Ricardo, of Porto. Ricardo was moved to the left wing, and the goalscorer, Carlos Mane, was moved to the central role of striker.
The second half began with little incident, with both teams settling evenly into a flow. After the game settled down, it was Norway that looked the more lively, with the young 15 year-old Martin Odegaard proving difficult to handle for the Portuguese. Norway, realizing that anything less than a win would effectively eliminate the possibility of qualification, were a much different-looking team in the second half, dominating most of the proceedings. Despite this domination, Portugal still continued to have the cutting edge that Norway lacked. And this cutting edge paid off right around the hour mark. Joao Mario fed a ball to Ricardo Pereira, who, surrounded by Norwegian defenders, took a touch and skillfully finished near-post (and with his weaker left foot) past the Norwegian ‘keeper. Overall, a 2-0 scoreline was justified at that point, as Portugal had dominated the majority of the game up until that point. Norway were threatening, and their pressure paid off just minutes after Ricardo’s goal. The Norwegians pulled on back through Bakenga, who is the spearhead of the team’s attack. With the score now at 2-1, the remainder of the game was a tense one, with Norway within one goal of ruining Portugal’s loss-less record. Portuguese wonderkid Marcos Lopes had been brought on before the second-half goals, and his play proved to be a highlight in the time remaining in the match. Lopes hit the post with one play and one surging run and subsequent shot forced an excellent save out of the Norwegian goalkeeper. With Portugal looking comfortable and able to defend their lead, debutant Helder Costa, of Benfica’s B team, came on for Carlos Mane. Though the scoreline was close going into the final minutes of the match, little of note occurred, and Portugal walked away with a well-fought 2-1 victory.
The team will now face Azerbaijan in their final 2015 UEFA U-21 Euro qualification match, to be played on September 9th. For that match, Ruben Pinto (Benfica B), Andre Silva (Porto B), and Tiago Silva (Belenenses) have been called.
Bruno Varela, Ricardo Esgaio, Paulo Oliveira, Miguel Rodrigues, Raphael Guerreiro, Joao Mario, Bernardo Silva, Sergio Oliveira, Rafa(Marcos Lopes), Carlos Mane(Helder Costa), Goncalo Paciencia(Ricardo)
Portugal 2-0 Macedonia
2015 UEFA U-21 Euro Qualification
The Portuguese Under-21 team took another step toward direct qualification to the 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship today with a 2-0 win over Macedonia. The Portuguese can be rightly proud of how they played, having dominated the majority of the match. U-21 coach Rui Jorge took the opportunity to award four players with their first U-21 caps, with Ruben Vezo, Marcos Lopes, Carlos Mane, and Goncalo Paciencia all earning well-deserved debuts.
Rui Jorge named a strong starting eleven, with Ricardo Esgaio and Luis Martins operating on the flanks in defense, on the right and left, respectively. Paulo Oliveira, an established starter both for his club, Vitoria Guimaraes, and the U-21s, started in central defense alongside Ruben Vezo, who recently scored the winning goal in Valencia’s victory over Granada. Rui Jorge opted to play Rio Ave’s Luis Gustavo as an anchorman in midfield, with Andre Gomes and Joao Mario joining him in central midfield. On the wings were Carlos Mane, who has established himself as a starter for Sporting this season, and Bernardo Silva, who has enjoyed a wonderful season for Benfica B. Goncalo Paciencia earned a starting spot as the team’s striker.
Goals from Bernardo Silva and Ricardo Esgaio sealed the win for the Seleccao.
Jose Sa, Ruben Vezo, Paulo Oliveira, Luis Martins, Ricardo Esgaio, Luis Gustavo, Andre Gomes(Sergio Oliveira), Joao Mario, Bernardo Silva(Marcos Lopes), Carlos Mane(Ricardo), Goncalo Paciencia
Portugal 3-0 Israel
2015 UEFA U-21 Euro Qualification
The Portuguese Under-21 team continued their perfect start to 2015 UEFA U-21 European Championship qualification with a resounding 3-0 victory at home to Israel. Goals from William Carvalho, Bruma, and an Israeli own goal were enough to give Portugal the 3-0 victory. The team dominated the majority of the match, and the scoreline duly reflects Portugal’s dominance. Bruma and Tiago Ilori both debuted for the team, and their debuts were impressive ones, with Ilori playing the entire match in the heart of the team’s defense, while Bruma managed to get on the score sheet. Also debuting for the team was To-Ze, who appeared for the final quarter of an hour.
Jose Sa, Tiago Ilori, Paulo Oliveira, Luis Martins, Ricardo Esgaio, William, Rafa, Joao Mario(Tiago Silva), Sergio Oliveira(To-Ze), Bruma(Ricardo), Ivan Cavaleiro