In 2003 Portugal became the first hosts to win UEFA's junior tournament in 15 years; leading the team was someone who would become no stranger to the latter stages of big competitions.
Portugal defeated Denmark, Austria, Hungary, England (on penalties) and Spain to lift the trophy. Impressive in central defence was captain Miguel Veloso, who made vital interventions to preserve the 3-2 win against Denmark and set up the opener as they overcame Spain 2-1.
However, that was just the beginning for Veloso. Later that year he helped Portugal to the FIFA U-17 World Cup quarter-finals in Finland, and the son of former international António Veloso was soon making a senior breakthrough as well.
While António was associated with SL Benfica, Miguel came through at Sporting Clube de Portugal having been rejected by the Eagles at a young age. Their loss was the Lions' gain, and indeed Clube Desportivo Olivais e Moscavide's, as Sporting loaned Veloso out to their neighbours in 2005/06 and he scored seven goals to help the third division club to promotion.
At the start of the following season Veloso was in the Sporting first team and made a superb UEFA Champions League debut in a 1-0 defeat of FC Internazionale Milano. There he was deployed in defensive midfield due to an injury crisis, and that was to prove the position where Veloso would soon be a regular for his club and Portugal U21s. His displays in 2007 earned him a senior international debut that October.
A squad member at UEFA EURO 2008, Veloso made his true Portugal breakthrough ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Ever-present in Portugal's run to the UEFA EURO 2012 semi-finals and at the 2014 World Cup as he surpassed 50 caps, Veloso's club career has taken him to Genoa CFC and FC Dynamo Kyiv.
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