Portugal beats the Netherlands but failes to win the group

The Portuguese under-21 football team defeated the Netherlands today (2-1) in Portimão, with Fábio Vieira’s 2 goals, missing by a goal the victory in Group 7 of the 2021 European qualification stage.

In the final encounter of this phase, with the two teams already qualified for the competition, to play in Hungary and Slovenia, in 2021, the two goals of the FC Porto attacking midfielder (two and 53 minutes), with a response through the middle of Cody Gakpo (42) did not arrive for the Portuguese to reach their goal.

Portugal, who needed to win by two goals difference to cancel the defeat on Dutch soil (4-2), finished the group in second place, with 27 points, on equal points with the Netherlands, first placed.

To attack the first place of the group, Rui Jorge made two changes in relation to Sunday’s victory against Cyprus (2-1), betting on Tomás Tavares and Fábio Vieira to replace Nuno Mendes (low due to injury) and Rafael Leão.

If, with the Cypriots, the Portuguese team had suffered in the second minute, this time the opposite happened in the same minute: after a throw-in, Hoogma delayed head to the goalkeeper with little strength, Dany Mota pressed, arrived faster and watched Fábio Vieira pull over for the opening goal.

The Netherlands, who came to this match with nine wins in nine games and 45 goals scored, ‘accused’ the early goal, leaving the offensive expenses of the match to Portugal over the first quarter of an hour.

In the 11th minute, Javairo Dilrosun still shot slightly over the top, with a direct free kick, but Portugal also had a good chance, three minutes later, when Vítor Ferreira gained space at the entrance to the area and shot the bar wide.

In the face of a Portuguese team that tried to control the match through possession of the ball, the Dutch offensive movements improved and the danger began to surround the goal of Diogo Costa, who, on 24 minutes, stretched to block a dangerous shot by Cody Gakpo.

Dilrosun and Justin Kluivert threatened with a set piece, but the equalizer ended up close to the break (42): Zeefuik combined with Dilrosun on the right and crossed low for Gakpo’s deflection at the second post.

In search of victory, Rui Jorge modified the team at half-time, discarding the 4-3-3 and placing Rafael Leão beside Dany Mota in front of the attack, supported by a diamond midfield.

With the Portuguese more pressing in the resumption, Fábio Vieira ‘scored twice’, in the 53rd minute, in a lucky shot from outside the area: the ball rebounded in a defender and took a trajectory that betrayed the guardian Scherpen.

In the final moments, with the spirits on the pitch between the two banks, the Dutch could also have drawn, but Justin Kluivert, with no mark in the area, headed wide (90 + 3).

The final stage of the U21 European Championship will be divided into two distinct periods: the group stage, with four groups of four teams each, is scheduled for March 2021, with games in Hungary and Slovenia, with eight teams qualifying for the phase to be eliminated, which will take place between May and June.

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