Portugal are making their final preparations with the 2023 UEFA European U17 Championship starting today. Sixteen nations are competing in Hungary with Filipe Ramos' side attempting to lift the trophy for the third time.
The "Equipa das Quinas" have been drawn in Group C alongside Scotland, France and Germany. Their campaign begins against the Germans with the match taking place in Debrecen.
Portugal have a proud history at the tournament, winning four titles when it was a U16 event and two titles at U17 level, in 2003 and 2016. They reached the semi-finals in Israel in 2023.
PortuGOAL's Matthew Marshall runs through the qualification campaign, manager Filipe Ramos and the 20 player squad with quotes and all the fixtures.
Road to Hungary
Portugal enjoyed home advantage in the qualifying round in November with all three matches played in the Algarve.
Gonçalo Oliveira opened the scoring against Kazakhstan at Estádio Algarve, the visitors equalising in the 55th minute before Gil Martins, Nuno Patrício, Gonçalo Moreira, Nuno Patrício and Diogo Sousa scored in the space of 20 minutes to secure a commanding 6-1 victory.
Faroe Islands were the obvious whipping boys in Group 1, Equipa das Quinas winning 3-0 in Parchal where Gonçalo Moreira, Nuno Patrício and Olívio Tomé found the net.
The two victories secured a spot in the elite round as they returned to Estádio Algarve to take on Slovenia, João Simões and Olívio Tomé scoring with Filipe Ramos saying "It was the best game we played in this tournament, a consistent display against a team that played with the result in order to be qualified. They didn't risk anything and defended for 90 minutes".
Torneio Internacional Algarve
Portugal continued their tradition of hosting the Torneio Internacional Algarve in February which allows them to test themselves against top quality opposition. They beat Germany 2-1 in Lagos, Olívio Tomé opening the scoring in the 79th minute before the German’s equalised, Rodrigo Duarte’s first goal for the U17 side securing victory in added time.
Netherlands were next up, the Equipa das Quinas winning 2-1 in Faro with Gonçalo Sousa netting at the end of the first half and substitute João Teixeira scoring the winner after the Dutch side equalised.
Portugal returned to Lagos, going down 1-0 against Spain despite coming home strong in the second half. Ramos was unhappy with the result, saying "It was a good game with two good teams in which the result was very unfair, especially in the second half where we were always on top of Spain".
Once again Portugal enjoyed home advantage in the elite round, their first game a dominant 2-0 win against Slovakia in Viseu where Martim Ferreira opened the scoring, Gonçalo Moreira and Nuno Patrício hitting the woodwork before Rodrigo Duarte wrapped it up late on.
Filipe Ramos' side secured an important 1-0 win against Poland which saw them go three points clear in Group 5. Chances were hard to come by in Tondela, Gil Martins winning a penalty that Nuno Patrício converted in the 79th minute.
Portugal returned to Viseu where they needed a draw against Czech Republic to qualify. Gonçalo Moreira hit the bar before Gonçalo Oliveira opened the scoring in the first half, Martim Fernandes surging into the box and scoring in the 55th minute.
Filipe Ramos was born in Luanda, Angola, in 1970. The defensive midfielder starting his professional career at Torreense, playing one season for the Torres Vedras club before representing Sporting Clube de Portugal from 1989-1996, making 146 appearances.
He earned three caps for Portugal in 1992, coming off the bench in friendlies against Italy, Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria.
Ramos had short spells at Marítimo, Vitória de Guimarães, Chaves, Associação Naval and Atlético Clube before finishing his career at Mafra where he hung up his boots and immediately managed the club.
The 53-year-old began his career with Portuguese youth teams in 2011 when he managed the U16 side. He took the U19 side to the 2019 European Championship final in Armenia where they lost 2-0 against Spain.
Filipe Ramos initially named 24 players in his squad with 20 travelling to Hungary. Samuel Sousa, Tiago Freitas, José Ribeiro and Ricardo Ribeiro were the unlucky ones who missed out.
Right-back Martim Fernandes is the only player in the squad who represented Portugal at the 2023 UEFA European U17 Championship in Israel.
Two players have been selected for the first time, both on the books at Sporting CP, winger Geovany Quenda and striker João Infante.
Goalkeepers: Gonçalo Ribeiro (Porto), André Moreira (Benfica)
Defenders: Martim Fernandes (Porto), Gonçalo Oliveira (Benfica), Guilherme Gaspar (Benfica), Tiago Parente (Benfica), Rayhan Momade (Sporting CP), João Fonseca (Benfica)
Midfielders: Gil Martins (Porto), João Teixeira (Porto), Martim Ferreira (Benfica), João Simões (Sporting CP), Diogo Sousa (Vitória de Guimarães), Rodrigo Duarte (Vitória de Guimarães)
Forwards: Gonçalo Sousa (Porto), Nuno Patrício (Braga), Olívio Tomé (Sporting CP), João Infante (Sporting CP), Geovany Quenda (Sporting CP), Gonçalo Moreira (Benfica)
Gonçalo Ribeiro: "I think we are all very united, from the beginning. We had two years working together, we formed a very united and strong group, I think that in this stage of preparation, we worked well every day.
I think we are prepared for the Germany match and we will give everything we have inside of us. The important thing is this game, the past is the past, but I think it gives us confidence to have already beaten Germany, and at the moment we are focused on tomorrow and on bringing joy to all the Portuguese people.
We know that the German national team is very strong in attack, they are physically strong, we have to be very attentive to second balls, but I think we are prepared.
We are very united, we play well with the ball on the ground, a point in our favor. The Germans in aerial duels can win the first or second ball, but later in the game we think we are better".
Rayhan Momade: "I'm feeling very good, it's good to be back in the team. We want to give everything, we've come here to fulfill a dream. We want to go as far as possible and leave each game thinking that we gave our maximum, nothing less, that has to be our objective because we are Portugal".
João Teixeira: "I feel good, I think the team has evolved well and we have all worked at high levels so that later in the games we will be able to overcome difficulties. It's a very good environment that helps each one of us to improve every day.
We're all united and focused on what's important, winning and bringing joy to all Portuguese people. We know that the group is complicated, there are three very strong teams, but we are Portugal and we cannot be afraid of our opponents.
Representing the national team is a source of pride for all players. We are representing our country, we have to do our best to achieve the goals we set ourselves at the beginning of this training camp . We are united and focused on what is important. We are very strong".
João Fonseca: "I feel a very good work environment, as you would expect from this generation. We are a very united group, full of strength, determination and talent. We are ready for the challenges.
It's a very complicated group, we know their patterns of play both defensively and offensively. We already know the strong points of each team and what remains for us is to continue to play our role well.
With humility, determination and perseverance, always looking our opponents in the eye, we will be able to overcome any kind of difficulties, so that in the end we can make all Portuguese people proud.
Mister Ramos is with us on this journey, he always tells us to continue playing as we have played in the elite round, always with our strong character and warrior spirit. We have to give our best, to get as far as possible".
Gonçalo Moreira: "We are studying our opponents to the limit, there is nothing about them that we will not analyze, but in the game anything can happen, there is always the unpredictability in football that nobody can control.
We are aware of the solidity of the teams in Germany, Scotland and France, but we also know that we are united and focused on the essential, working for Portugal".
Geovany Quenda: "We are focused and ready for our challenges, continue to work to win, work on all aspects so we are able to respond to the demands in the games.
We have to know how to play with and without the ball, we have to know how to suffer when necessary and we must, above all, be a united team to honor our country.
Germany is a team with great experience, very strong physically that can cause us a lot of difficulties, but we know what we have to do to stop them and we are going to take the field with everything to bring joy to all the Portuguese people who have given us so much support from a distance.
When I was called by Mister Ramos to join the training camps, I was speechless. It is the fulfillment of a dream for any player, it is the result of the work done in the club and I just want to respond in the best way on the field, to the trust placed in me by the entire technical structure of the federation. We are together and united for Portugal".
Filipe Ramos: "We have already fulfilled our first objective, which was to qualify, now we are going to work towards new targets.
We already know Germany well, we will have moments in the game where we're going to be on top, others when they are on top and we have to defend well. Against France it will be another complicated match, but this team is prepared for anything.
Regarding Scotland, many think that they will be defeated in every game, but I disagree. I think that the Scottish team can get some results and influence who qualifies for the quarter-finals.
We are facing a very cohesive work group, they are very united and that makes the difference on the field. Of course, individualities will emerge, but they know that there are no individualities if the group is not rowing in the same direction.
The team feels good, confident, we are prepared, we know that it will be a difficult game against Germany. We know the offensive power of the German team and we have to be prepared to defend well and spend some moments without the ball.
We are convinced that it will be a strong, hard and very well contested game between two great teams. We have to dignify as much as possible what we carry in our hearts, which is our symbol, the pride of representing Portugal at all times and then work as hard as we can to win the matches.
All 20 players are available, some will play, some will not, but the group is cohesive and they know their position within the team and the importance they have".
May 17, 2023| Wednesday
19:00 - Portugal vs Germany (Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen)
May 20, 2023 | Saturday
14:00 - Portugal vs Scotland (DEAC Stadion, Debrecen)
May 23, 2023| Tuesday
14:00 - Portugal vs France (Nagyerdei Stadion, Debrecen)
May 27 Quarter-Finals
May 30 Semi-Finals
June 2 Final