Portugal are on track to compete at the 2022 UEFA European U17 Championship after qualifying for the elite round. José Lima’s side won two of their three games in the qualifying round at Estádio Algarve. 

Portugal beat Kazakhstan 5-0 in their opening match before a 2-0 win against Wales. They took the lead twice against Ukraine, but failed to close it out and suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat. 

The loss came at a cost with the Selecção das Quinas seeded in Pot C for the elite round. Portugoal’s Matthew Marshall was in the Algarve for the final two games and picks out three players to keep an eye on over the coming years.

Diogo Monteiro

Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Diogo Monteiro made his professional debut for Servette on 6 March 2021, coming on as a late substitute against Basel.

At 16 years, one month and nine days old, Monteiro became the third youngest footballer to debut in the Swiss Super League and the youngest defender to do so.

Monteiro is a key player in central defence and his leadership qualities are clear as captain of Portugal’s U17 side.

He was impressive against Wales, in particular his ability to spot an attacking player in space and execute a long pass which instantly created attacking opportunities for his side. 

João Gonçalves

João Gonçalves was born in Braga and is currently signed for Braga’s U17 side, making an appearance off the bench for Braga’s U23 side on 22 October.

A left footed attacking midfielder with plenty of technical ability, he came off the bench against Kazakhstan before starting the final two games.

Gonçalves is adept at set-piece situations, delivering an assist from a corner against Wales and scoring a penalty against Ukraine.

There were some minor attitude issues on display, but the 16-year-old has plenty of time to mature and fulfil his potential.

José Rodrigues

José Dinis Pinto Magalhães Rodrigues, also known as Dinis Pinto, scored against Kazakhstan, Ukraine and had multiple attempts to score against Wales.

Born in Maia, the 1,85m striker is currently climbing through the youth ranks at Braga alongside João Gonçalves.

Rodrigues showcased all of his skills in the Algarve, winning possession, turning opposition players, holding the line, bringing teammates into play and scoring goals.

He is a very confident player, strong in the air and appears to have a bright future. It might not be too long before he breaks through and gets a chance at a higher level.

Squad

Porto: Diogo Fernandes, Gonçalo Ribeiro, Luís Gomes

Braga: João Gonçalves, José Rodrigues

Benfica: Alfa Baldé, Francisco Machado, Ivan Lima, João Conceição, João Rego, João Veloso, Rafael Luís

Sporting CP: Afonso Moreira, Guilherme Santos, Henrique Arreiol, Leonardo Barroso, Marlon Júnior, Rodrigo Ribeiro

PAOK: Gustavo Varela

Servette: Diogo Monteiro

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“These players continue to surprise me every day.”

Rúben Amorim
(Sporting coach after 3-1 Lisbon derby victory against Benfica at the Estádio da Luz) 

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