Portugal’s 2023 European U17 Championship got off to a terrible start after an ugly 4-0 defeat to Germany at Nagyerdei Stadion.
Noah Darvich took advantage of two errors to open the scoring in the 32nd minute, more poor defending from a corner allowing Almugera Kabar to score on the stroke of half time.
Filipe Ramos introduced Tiago Parente and Gonçalo Moreira at the break but it made little difference to proceedings.
It was a substitute from the opposite bench who got it done, Robert Ramsak scoring five minutes after being introduced and sealing the deal in added time.
Portugal sit last in Group C after France beat Scotland 3-1, Ramos’ side with three days to prepare for the Scots which is a must win match.
Germany establish 2-0 half-time lead
Paris Brunner fired the first warning shot in the opening minute with Gonçalo Ribeiro taking no chances, the Porto goalkeeper tipping the ball wide.
Germany’s top scorer was having an interesting battle with Martim Fernandes, booked in the 4th minute when he stopped the right-back surging into the box.
Portugal were increasingly being put under pressure, Noah Darvich seeing his shot blocked before Almugera Kabar fired a free kick into the wall.
Germany kept their foot on the gas and opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. It was completely self-inflicted after a poor pass from Rayhan Momade, Gonçalo Oliveira backing off Darvich and falling over which allowed the captain time and space to curl the ball into the top corner.
Gil Martins won a free kick that Gonçalo Moreira sent way over the bar but Portugal were not troubling Max Schmitt. To make matters worse, they found themselves 2-0 down before the break.
It was as simple as it gets, Charles Herrmann’s corner evading Gonçalo Oliveira and João Fonseca with Almugera Kabar getting in between the central defenders and diverting the ball into top corner.
Ramos goes to his bench
Filipe Ramos made two changes at the break with Rayhan Momade replaced by Tiago Parente and Gonçalo Moreira making way for Gonçalo Sousa.
Portugal started the second half well with Parente seeing plenty of action, the left-back getting to the byline and creating a chance for Gil Martins’ that sailed narrowly over the bar.
Ramsak makes the difference
Christian Wück made his first change in the 54th minute when Max Moerstedt made way for Robert Ramsak. It proved to be a significant moment in the match with the striker taking centre stage and helping Germany regain control.
The 16-year-old was immediately involved, testing Ribeiro from close range before heading the resulting corner wide. The Bayern Munich striker wouldn’t be denied however and extended Germany's lead in the 59th minute.
It was a regulation ball into the box that wasn’t dealt with, Darvich steering the ball to Ramsak who got around Fonseca and beat Ribeiro.
Ramos immediately went to his bench and brought on Diogo Lobão and Olivio Tomé for Martim Ferreira and Geovany Quenda.
Tomé saw his shot saved before being booked for a heavy challenge on Eric da Silva Moreira, Ramos making his final change in the 73rd minute when Nuno Patrício made way for Rodrigo Duarte.
No way back
The game was slowing down which suited Germany, Wück making more changes with goalscorers Kabar and Darvich making way for Maximilian Hennig and Kjell Wätjen.
Tomé delivered a dangerous cross into the box and João Simões missed the target, but it was obviously not going to be Portugal’s night which got worse in added time.
The horror show wcame to a conclusion when Brenner stepped inside an exhausted Simões, his shot saved by Ribeiro with the ball falling perfectly for Ramsak who couldn’t miss an empty net.
One of Ramos' assistants was booked for dissent with the team 4-0 down, the manager facing a huge task to prepare his side to take on Scotland at DEAC Stadion in Debrecen on Saturday.
It was always going to be a tough match against another European heavyweight and so it proved. Portugal beat Germany 2-1 in the Algarve in February, but they were outplayed in Debrecen and can have no complaints with the 4-0 defeat.
Filipe Ramos handed Geovany Quenda his debut from the start, the winger failing to get involved like so many of his teammates.
Martim Fernandes showed some early promise and Olivio Tomé looked most likely after being introduced in the 61st minute, but there was little leadership on show when things were not going their way.
Captain and goalkeeper Gonçalo Ribeiro was unable to affect his team which saw João Simões become the leader in the middle of the pitch, but he was largely alone with Germany superior in every facet of the game.
Ramos has a big test ahead of him with morale low and his side sitting bottom of Group C. He will make some wholesale changes with Tiago Parente, Diogo Lobão and Olívio Tomé the obvious candidates to come into the starting side against Scotland.
It goes without saying that losing 4-0 in an opening match at an international tournament is bad news. The Equipa das Quinas have to beat the Scots in Debrecen before facing a strong France side in Balmazújváros.
By Matthew Marshall at Nagyerdei Stadion