U-21s Edge Norway


Photo: Portuguese Football Federation

Photo: Portuguese Football Federation

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)

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

U-21s Start Strong


Sergio Oliveira - Portugal vs Norway - U-21

Portugal 5-1 Norway

2015 UEFA U-21 Euro Qualification

Norway were no match for the Portuguese Under-21 team in a 2015 UEFA U-21 Qualification match. It was the start of the qualifying process for both teams in a competition that Portugal has seen very little success in over the past few seasons. Most notably coming within a game of qualification last time out, Portugal has higher hopes this time out, and can duly be excited, after a resounding 5-1 victory over Norway. Goals came from Betinho, Ivan Cavaleiro, Sergio Oliveira, William Carvalho, and Ricardo. Portugal are joined in Group 8 by Israel, Azerbaijan, and Macedonia, along with Norway. This group seems an easy one, and Portugal should progress to their first UEFA U-21 Euro since 2007.

Jose Sa, Joao Amorim, Josue, Paulo Oliveira, Luis Martins, William Carvalho, Rafa(Tiago Silva), Andre Gomes, Ivan Cavaleiro, Sergio Oliveira(Joao Mario), Betinho(Ricardo)

HIGHLIGHTS HERE

Rui Jorge Calls on 23 for U-21 Matches


Rui JorgePortugal U-21 coach Paulo Bento announced a squad of 23 for the team’s upcoming games against Norway and Poland. The team is slated to begin their qualification campaign for the 2015 UEFA U-21 Euro on September 5, when they host Norway. The U-21s have not qualified for a U-21 Euro since 2007. Most notably, the team came close to qualifying for the last Euro, only to draw their last game against Poland, when a win could have guaranteed them a place at the finals. This time around, Portugal are in Group 8, which is comprised of Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Norway, and Israel. The group seems an easy one, and Rui Jorge and the team certainly have something to prove, after he successive failures of the past six years. Five days after the game against Norway, Portugal hosts Poland in a friendly match.

Elton Monteiro - Club Brugge

One notable inclusion in the squad is Elton Monteiro, who is uncapped at the U-21 level. Monteiro recently made the move from Arsenal, where he appeared for the reserves, to Club Brugge in Belgium. Below is the entire squad list:

Goalkeepers: Daniel Fernandes (Osnabruck), José Sá (Marítimo), Luís Ribeiro (Sporting)

Defenders: Elton Monteiro (Club Brugge), Josué (Vitória Guimaraes), João Amorim (Vitória Guimaraes), Luís Martins (Gil Vicente), Paulo Oliveira (Vitória Guimaraes), Raphael Guerreiro (Lorient), Tiago Ferreira (Porto B)

Midfielders: André Gomes (Benfica), Tózé (FC Porto B), João Mário (Sporting B), Luís Gustavo (Rio Ave), Rafa (Braga), Sérgio Oliveira (Paços Ferreira), Tiago Silva (Belenenses), William (Sporting)

Forwards: Betinho (Sporting B), Ivan Cavaleiro (Benfica B), Lucas João (Nacional), Ricardo Pereira (Porto B), Ricardo Esgaio (Sporting B)

U-20s to Play Norway


The Portuguese Under-20 National Team has scheduled their first friendly of 2011, which will be against Norway on February 8th. The U-20 team will participate in the U-20 World Cup next summer, which the team last appeared in back in 2007. Right before the World Cup next summer, the team will participate in the Toulon Tournament, which the team missed out on this year.

Portugal Fall to Norway


Portugal succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against Norway as Silvio made his debut for the Seleccao. It is not a stretch to say that the Seleccao’s performance was even more uninspired than their previous game against Cyprus. An embarrassing blunder from Eduardo gave the hosts the deserved win. Portugal’s only good chances fell to Manuel Fernandes and Raul Meireles. The latter was clear through on goal, but shot well over and wide. Overall, it was a very discouraging performance from the Seleccao, reminiscent of Portugal’s friendly against Estonia last year. With the Portuguese coaching job in chaos, and Oliveira obviously not able to coachas well as required, the future looks grim for the Seleccao.

Eduardo, Silvio, Ricardo Carvalho, Bruno Alves, Miguel Veloso, Tiago(Danny), Manuel Fernandes, Raul Meireles, Nani, Hugo Almeida, Quaresma(Liedson)

Dates Set for Euro 2012 Qualification


Uefa released today the schedule for the qualification matches for Euro 2012. Portugal were earlier drawn with Iceland, Denmark, Cyprus, and Norway. Here is the Seleccao’s schedule:

3 September 2010
Portugal-Cyprus
7 September 2010
Norway-Portugal
8 October 2010
Portugal-Denmark
12 October 2010
Iceland-Portugal
4 June 2011
Portugal-Norway
2 September 2011
Cyprus-Portugal
7 October 2011
Portugal-Iceland
11 October 2011
Denmark-Portugal

Portugal Given Simple Euro 2012 Qualifying Group


It looks as if Portugal will have an easy go at it for qualification for Euro 2012…..of course, thats what we thought abouth WC 2010 qualification. Portugal are in Group H with Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, and Iceland. Our biggest opponent in the group will certainly be Denmark, who we lost once and tied once during WC 2010 qualification. The next hardest will probably end up being Norway. The last time we met Norway was in 2003(in a friendly match), here we beat them 1-0, thanks to a Pauleta goal. I forsee our next opponent, Cyprus, as being tricky. Cyprus narrowly lost to Italy two times during WC 2010 qualification. What Cyprus has is a strong attack, but a leaky defense. Next is Iceland. What can I say. They’re the Malta of this group.

I think (and hope) that Portugal will not take this group lightly, because if we do again, then we might not be making an appearance in Euro 2012.