Portugal in group with Ukraine, Serbia for Euro 2020 qualifying; Draw Switzerland in Nations League semi-final

A Seleção will face a strong, balanced group in qualifying for Euro 2020, as they begin the defense of their European title.

Portugal, currently ranked 6th in the world as of 29 November, were drawn in Group B, which also includes Ukraine (ranked 28th), Serbia (29th), Luxembourg (86th) and Lithuania (133th).

What Portugal manager Fernando Santos had to say:

Ukraine and Serbia are strong teams that achieved promotion in the Nations League, which is a sign of their quality.

Serbia is a squad we know well, having faced them. They have excellent players who have played in top leagues in the last three seasons. Ukraine always cause their opponents difficulties as well.

We know Lithuania less but it’s always difficult to play there. Luxembourg is getting better, as they showed in the Nations League. It’s a place we like a lot because there’s a large Portuguese community there. It’s a difficult group and we need to be prepared.

The Portuguese federation [FPF] announced that the first two matches, taking place on 22 and 25 of March against Ukraine and Serbia respectively, will be played at the Estádio da Luz in Lisbon.

The Euro 2020 qualifying draw was made on 2 December in Dublin. The following day, Portugal learned that they would face Switzerland in the Nations League semi-final on 5 June at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto. The winner will face either Holland or England in the final on 9 June.

Switzerland is a familiar foe for Portugal. The two were drawn into the same qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup. Portugal lost 2-0 in Basel in the first match, before winning by the same scoreline in Lisbon in October 2017 and topping the group on goal differential.

Portugal and Finals Appearances at Youth Level

Despite its modest size and wealth, relative to its neighbours, Portugal has punched far beyond its weight in footballing terms.

Much of that success could be attributed to its youth development system. Portugal’s recent success at the U19 European Championships was just the latest achievement.

Portugal have made six finals in the last eight years at youth level. In comparison, the country made only three finals in the previous decade in total.

In 2019, Helio Sousa (Pictured) will be at the helm when the country competes at next summer’s U20 World Cup, hoping to complete a hat-trick of titles.

But, development does not end at youth level. It goes beyond that. Winning titles is always a good thing but much depends on what happens to these players after the tournaments end, particularly at club level.

Overall, Portugal have won 12 times in 24 finals at youth level.

Year Opponent Tournament Result
2018 Italy U19 Euro Won 4-3 in extra time
2017 England U19 Euro Loss 1-2
2016 Spain U17 Euro Won 1-1, 5-4 in extra time
2015 Sweden U21 Euro Loss 0-0, 3-4 on penalties
2014 Germany U19 Euro Loss 0-1
2011 Brazil U20 World Cup Loss 2-3 in extra time
2003 Spain U16 Euro Won 2-1
2003 Italy U19 Euro Loss 0-2 in extra time
2000 Czech Republic U16 Euro Won 2-1 in extra time
1999 Italy U18 Euro Won 1-0
1997 France U18 Euro Loss 0-1 in extra time
1996 France U16 Euro Won 1-0
1995 Spain U16 Euro Won 2-0
1994 Germany U18 Euro Won 1-1, 4-1 on penalties
1994 Italy U21 Euro Loss 0-1 in extra time
1992 Turkey U18 Euro Loss 1-2 in extra time
1991 Brazil U20 World Cup Won 0-0, 4-2 on penalties
1990 Soviet Union U18 Euro Loss 0-0, 2-4 on penalties
1989 East Germany U16 Euro Won 4-1
1989 Nigeria U20 World Cup Won 2-0
1988 Spain U16 Euro Loss 0-0, 2-4 on penalties
1988 Soviet Union U18 Euro Loss 1-3 extra time
1971 England U18 Euro Loss 0-3
1961 Poland U18 Euro Won 4-0


EURO 2016: Complete Tournament Player Ratings for Portugal

Portugal’s uncompromising style of play did not win them much admiration among neutral fans or the media but it was undoubtedly effective. Much credit should go to manager Fernando Santos who engineered a victory by utilizing the full strength of his squad. Football Factory rated each player on their performance over the entire tournament.


Rui Patricio He was not always busy but proved to be solid when called upon. He made a crucial stop in the penalty shootout against Poland. And he made several quality stops against France in the final. Named Best Goalkeeper at the tournament. Patricio is currently enjoying the best period of his career. 9

Eduardo Did not play.

Anthony Lopes Did not play.



Raphael Guerreiro He was probably Portugal’s most consistent outfield player. The French-born Guerreiro provided the cross for Cristiano Ronaldo’s header against Wales. He was deservedly named to the team of the tournament. 8

Eliseu He filled in for Guerreiro against Hungary and Poland. The Benfica left-back looked much improved in his defensive duties, although he did not offer much in attack. 6

Pepe The Real Madrid man began the tournament with a poor display against Iceland and Hungary in the group stage. However, he was near flawless in the knockout stages.  A thigh injury kept him out of the semi-finals. But he returned in time to face France and put in a Man-of-the-Match performance for his country. Named to the Team of the Tournament. 8

Ricardo Carvalho The 38-year-old has been a solid contributor since returning to the international scene following Fernando Santos’ appointment. He looked slightly out of step especially in the 3-3 draw against Hungary. He was dropped in favour of Jose Fonte for the knockout stages. 6

Jose Fonte One of the great stories in this squad. The former Sporting CP academy graduate only made his international debut less than two years ago at the age of 30. He replaced Ricardo Carvalho against Croatia and was solid the rest of the way. 7

Bruno Alves He filled in admirably for the injured Pepe in the semi-final against Wales. 6

Cedric Soares Took over for Vieirinha against Croatia. His crucial mistake in the early stages against Poland led to the Robert Lewandowski goal. However, the Southampton right-back did not hang his head. Instead, he would be one of Portugal’s best performers the rest of the way. 7

Vieirinha The biggest disillusionment of this tournament for Portugal. He failed to provide sufficient cover on the Iceland goal in the first match. He was ineffective in attack and at times, a liability on defense. Santos rightly dropped him in favour of Cedric. 5



William Carvalho The holding midfielder replaced Danilo against Austria and put in an outstanding performance helping to drive the attack while supporting the Portuguese backline. Although he made less of an impact from then on, he still provided the stability the team needed. 7

Danilo Pereira The FC Porto midfielder suffered a back injury in the match against Iceland and lost his position in the starting XI to William.  Although, he would make a valuable contribution as a substitute. He filled in for the Sporting midfielder as a starter in the semi-final against Wales and even came close to scoring on one occasion. 6

Renato Sanches Named Best Young Player in the tournament. His long run in extra time against Croatia led to Quaresma’s goal. He scored the tying goal against Poland. Although, he was less of a factor against Wales and in the final. Still, he only added to his burgeoning reputation. It will be almost impossible to top the year he has had. 7

Andre Gomes He earned a starting spot against Iceland and put in an excellent display, creating the goal scored by Nani. But, his injury against Croatia would greatly limit him. He made a positive substitute appearance against Wales but did not appear in the final. 6

Adrien Silva The Sporting captain made his debut in the tournament against Croatia. He earned Fernando Santos’ confidence with some impressive performances on the way to the final. Unselfish, hardworking and tough, he embodies Portugal’s championship-winning side more than anyone. 7

João Moutinho A starter at the beginning of the tournament, the Monaco midfielder was not at his best in the group stage. He was forced to withdraw at half-time against Hungary due to an injury. However, he came in as a late substitute against Poland and provided a dangerous through-ball to Ronaldo, who could not capitalize. He made a major impact as a substitute in the final, helping to create the winning goal. 7

João Mário Much was expected of the Sporting midfielder at the beginning of the tournament. He was noticeably quiet against Iceland and was dropped in favour of Quaresma in the second match. Back as a starter against Hungary he provided an assist on Cristiano Ronaldo’s back-heel goal. His decision-making left much to be desired at times in the knockout stages but he was much better in the final. 7



Cristiano Ronaldo The Portuguese captain was not always at his best in this tournament. He was a frustrated figure against Iceland and Austria but silenced his critics with a brace against Hungary. He was decisive again in the semi-final against Wales. His tournament seemed destined to end once again in tears when he was forced to withdraw in the final because of a knee injury. But, his teammates rallied around his absence and handed him that elusive championship at international level.  8

Nani The 29-year-old rebuilt his damaged reputation. He finished tied with the team-lead in goals with three and added an assist on Sanches’ goal against Poland. He did all that while playing out of position. His move to Spanish club Valencia was finalized during the tournament.  8

Ricardo Quaresma At 32, the journeyman winger looks to have finally come into his own on the international scene. He was generally ineffective in his only start of the tournament against Austria. However, he proved to be a valuable option off the bench, scoring a late goal against Croatia and then putting away the winning penalty in the shoot-out against Poland. 7

Rafa Silva He was originally expected to play a more prominent role. However, the Braga winger was limited to a short cameo in the late stages of the draw against Austria. He looked dangerous but was not able to break the deadlock. He is one for the future.  Incomplete

Éder Just weeks ago at pre-tournament friendlies the striker was whistled at by Portuguese fans every time he touched the ball. He made short substitute appearances against Iceland and Austria before the final. In a tournament of ample drama and great storylines for Portugal, it seems almost fitting that ‘the ugly duckling’ would score the most famous goal in the country’s history. 7



Fernando Santos He will never earn style points from the mainstream media but the 61-year-old found a way to win. By preaching unity and sacrifice above all, Santos got the most out of his players. He seemed to know how to make changes at the right time. Bringing on Sanches early in the second-half against Croatia and Éder in the final, seemed insane at the time but paid off enormously. 10

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