Italy beat Portugal 3-0 in the 2024 UEFA European U17 Championship final

Portugal’s 2024 UEFA European U17 Championship campaign came to a close in the final where they suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Italy.

Federico Coletta headed home Cristian Cama’s cross in the 7th minute, the lead doubled nine minutes later when Francesco Camarda got past Rui Silva and Edgar Mota before beating Diogo Ferreira.

The Equipa das Quinas finished the first half strong but the contest was effectively ended five minutes after the restart when Camarda converted a fine pass from Mattia Mosconi.

João Santos emptied his bench but there was no way back against an Italian wide who had conceded just two goals in five previous matches in Cyprus.

It will be a long way back to Portugal for Santos and his side, an invaluable learning experience as they continue their development on and off the pitch.

Italy take an early 2-0 lead

Italy got off to a fast start in Limassol, Mattia Mosconi firing wide and Francesco Camarda missing the target after some silky skills from Mattia Liberali.

They kept their foot on the gas and took the lead in the 7th minute. It was a simple goal, left-back Cristian Cama getting forward and delivering a cross that was headed home by Federico Coletta.

Camarda was presented with another chance after getting past Rui Silva, the striker shooting straight at Diogo Ferreira.

Portugal were unable to stop the onslaught and found themselves 2-0 down in the 16th minute. Cama released Camarda who went around Rui Silva and inside Edgar Mota before beating Ferreira from close range.

The Equipa das Quinas created their first opportunity three minutes later when Geovany Quenda’s shot was too hot to handle for Massimo Pessina, Eduardo Fernandes with no time to beat the keeper on the follow up.

Quenda got past Cama and tested Pessina from a tight angle, Rodrigo Mora then heading wide after exchanging passes with Edgar Mota.

Cama’s impressive evening continued at the other end, the birthday boy sending a right footed effort narrowly past the post.

Portugal respond

Portugal ended the first half strong with Eduardo Fernandes’ shot slapped away by Pessina, Mora unable to connect cleanly, Quenda heading Martim Cunha’s cross wide and Mora firing over the bar.

Mora continued to look the most likely after the break when he went on two forward runs, going down in the box on the second attempt with his penalty claims denied.

Game over

Mosconi tested Ferreira at the other end, but the captain would soon play a part in Italy’s third goal which came in the 50th minute.

The move was started by Liberali who sent Mosconi clear, his clever pass through Rafael Mota’s legs providing Camarda with a chance that he finished with put away with poise.

Eduardo Fernandes fired into the side netting and Mora saw his shot blocked, João Santos making a triple substitution in the 62nd minute when Tiago Ferreira, Cardoso Varela and Afonso Patrão replaced João Simões, Eduardo Fernandes and Gabriel Silva.

Mora’s diving header went wide before Santos emptied his bench in the 71st minute, Eduardo Felicíssimo and Geovany Quenda making way for David Daiber and João Trovisco.

It made no difference, Italy’s superiority clear for all to see, Tiago Ferreira’s deflected effort in the dying minutes as close as they came to breaking down the impregnable Italian defence down.

Analysis

It wasn’t to be for Portugal, outplayed from start to finish by an Italian side that were superior in every department.

Francesco Camarda was too hot to handle up front, the striker ending with four goals in Cyprus and named player of the tournament. Mattia Liberali displayed his exceptional talent and captain Mattia Mosconi was a constant threat on the right wing.

João Santos and his side will lick their wounds and wait for some time to pass before the magnitude of their achievement sets in. They became the third Portuguese side to reach a UEFA European U17 Championship final.

Rodrigo Mora had an outstanding tournament and finished as top scorer with five goals. He is sure to take up most of the headlines, Porto and Portuguese football supporters sure to be paying close attention to his development in the coming years.

By Matthew Marshall at Limassol Arena

Line Ups

Portugal (4-2-3-1):  Diogo Ferreira - Edgar Mota, Rui Silva, Rafael Mota, Martim Cunha - Eduardo Felicíssimo (David Daiber 71’), João Simões (Tiago Ferreira 62’) - Geovany Quenda (João Trovisco 71’), Rodrigo Mora, Eduardo Fernandes (Cardoso Varela 62’) - Gabriel Silva (Afonso Patrão 62’)

Unused Substitutes: Miguel Gouveia, Afonso Sousa, Duarte Soares, Afonso Meireles

Coach: João Santos

Italy (4-3-1-2): Massimo Pessina - Emanuel Benjamin, Francesco Verde, Andrea Natali, Cristian Cama (Giovanni Lauricella 79’) - Federico Coletta, Emanuele Sala (Matteo Lontani 79’), Alessandro Di Nunzio (Christian Garofalo 70’) - Mattia Liberali (Matteo Mantini 70’) - Francesco Camarda (Thomas Campaniello 90’), Mattia Mosconi        

Unused Substitutes: Alessandro Nunziante, Federico Nardin, Lamine Ballo, Andrea Orlandi

Coach: Massimiliano Favo

Goals:

[0-1] Federico Coletta 7'

[0-2] Francesco Camarda 16'

[0-3] Francesco Camarda 59'