Tuesday 31 July 2018, 07:12

Portugal’s 1999 vintage victorious once more 

  • Portugal’s 1999 vintage have now won the European U-17 and U-19 titles

  • Ukraine the surprise package at UEFA U-19 EURO 2018

  • Italy, France, Ukraine and Norway heading to Poland 2019

The European champions: Portugal

As expected, the Iberians got their campaign off to a flying start with a 3-1 win over Norway before their progress was thrown into doubt by a 3-2 defeat at the hands of their eventual final opponents Italy. A 3-0 victory against Finland guaranteed their passage to the semi-finals, where they beat Ukraine 5-0 in a dominant display. The Portuguese were forced to play extra time in the final despite leading 2-0 with quarter of an hour to play, with Pedro Correia eventually turning the match in Portugal’s favour at 4-3 in the 109th minute.

The surprise package: Ukraine

Having only narrowly edged out Romania, Serbia and Sweden in the final round of qualifying, Ukraine went into Group B as outsiders behind France and England. Yet their last-gasp 2-1 win over France in their opening match and a 1-1 draw with England meant that beating Turkey 1-0 in the last group game was enough to top the group. In the semi-final, however, the limitations of Oleksandr Petrakov’s side were exposed against eventual European champions Portugal.

Qualified teams for Poland 2019

Portugal, Italy, France and Ukraine secured their tickets to next year’s U-20 World Cup by reaching the semi-finals. As the two third-place finishers from the groups, England and Norway battled it out for the fifth and final qualifying spot in a match that surprisingly ended 3-0 in the Scandinavians’ favour. The result means that reigning U-20 world champions England will not be in Poland to defend their crown.

As hosts, Poland qualified automatically to become the sixth nation to represent Europe at next year’s tournament from 23 May to 15 June 2019.

Did you know?

The same group of Portugal players born in 1999 that have just become U-19 European champions previously lifted the continent’s top U-17 trophy in Azerbaijan back in 2016. Ten of the players who triumphed at U-19 level in 2018 were part of the U-17 championship-winning side two years earlier.

What they said

"This is the result of the hard work we have put in over the years, but of course it’s a unique achievement in Europe. We don’t have as many players as England or other countries, but we have some quality in this generation and that gave us the chance to come out on top again." Portugal coach Helio Sousa