Ricardo Quaresma's golden goal in the final against the Czech Republic ensured Portugal continued the Iberian dominance of the UEFA European Under-16 Championship in 1999/00 by claiming the trophy for the fourth time in Israel.
Portugal went into the final tournament looking to win the competition for the first time since 1996, while Spain were hoping to defend their title having won it for a fifth time the previous season. The Portuguese opened with narrow wins against the Republic of Ireland and England, but missed out on first place in Group A after losing to Russia on Matchday 3, the third successive victory for the Russians in the section.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia won through from Group B, the Czechs clinching the section with seven points including a remarkable 7-3 triumph against Finland, while Denmark finished third despite defeating the Finns 5-2. Germany finished top in Group C with seven points, one more than the Netherlands with Hungary third and hosts Israel fourth. Spain were eased into second place in Group D by Greece despite a 7-2 success against Poland, the Greeks' 2-1 final-day victory against Spain proving decisive. Poland finished third and Romania fourth.
Two of the quarter-finals required penalties to separate the sides, Germany and Portugal playing out a 1-1 draw before the Portuguese prevailed 6-5 on penalties, while Slovakian hopes were ended by Greece after the sides had drawn 2-2. Spain's defence of their title was ended by the Czech Republic, who earned a 2-0 victory in Herzliya, while the Dutch ran out 3-0 winners against Russia. The semi-finals both produced 2-1 scorelines, the Czechs and Portuguese defeating the Netherlands and Greece respectively. Of those two losers, the Dutch gained a measure of consolation by recording a resounding 5-0 win in the third-place play-off in Tel-Aviv, future Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart among the scorers.
The final was a tighter affair, with Portugal needing an extra-time golden goal to defeat the Czech Republic 2-1. The Czechs took an early lead through Tomáš Jun only for Quaresma to level midway through the second period. The match moved into extra time, and in the opening seconds Quaresma struck the golden goal which finally ended the Czech challenge and gave Portugal the trophy. Russia's Dmitri Kudryashov finished as the competition's top scorer with ten goals, including eight in the qualifying round mini-tournament.
The next February Portugal, the Czechs and Spain joined the Italian hosts in the UEFA-CAF Meridian Cup, now a round-robin tournament. And Europe took the trophy with ease, only Nigeria winning a game for Africa with a 1-0 victory against Italy, while three victories and a draw for Spain saw them record the best overall performance.
©UEFA.com 1998-2013. All rights reserved.