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Published: Sunday 1 January 2012, 18.11CET
Top scorers in qualifying with 29 goals – eight of them from Sporting Clube de Portugal forward Betinho – Edgar Borges' side will be in confident mood for the finals.
Portugal were the top scorers in qualifying ©FPARAISO
Published: Sunday 1 January 2012, 18.11CET


Top scorers in qualifying with 29 goals – eight of them from Sporting Clube de Portugal forward Betinho – Edgar Borges' side will be in confident mood for the finals.

Portugal reached the final tournament with 29 goals in their six qualifiers – eight more than any other team – and, having missed out on the 2011 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, will be out to impress in Estonia.

Big wins against the Faroe Islands and San Marino helped Edgar Borges' team into the elite round with something to spare, and victories in friendly international tournaments in La Manga and Porto proved the perfect preparation for the concluding qualifying stage. After defeating last season's semi-finalists the Republic of Ireland (1-0) and Israel (7-1) the mini-tournament hosts took on 2009 champions Ukraine for a finals berth, a comfortable 3-0 win in Faro-Loule securing first place in Group 4.

Portugal typically favour a 4-3-3 formation which relies heavily on pace going forward. Sporting Clube de Portugal forward Betinho is the star, his eight goals in qualifying making him the competition's top scorer, while SL Benfica's Cafú pulls the strings in midfield.

"We have achieved our main goal, which was to play in the European Championship," said Borges after the Ukraine win. "We will now savour the moment but we will quickly start the preparation for the big tournament. The objective is to do the best we can and the minimum would be to qualify for next year's [FIFA] U-20 World Cup."

Qualifying round: Faroe Islands 9-1, San Marino 6-0, Hungary 3-3 (Group 1 winners)
Elite round: Republic of Ireland 1-0, Israel 7-1, Ukraine 3-0 (Group 4 winners)

Key players: Ricardo Esgaio (defender, Sporting Clube de Portugal), João Mário (midfielder, Sporting Clube de Portugal), Cafú (midfielder, SL Benfica), Tózé (midfielder, FC Porto), Betinho (forward, Sporting Clube de Portugal)

Coach: Edgar Borges
Date of birth: 21 June 1954
Nationality: Portuguese
Coaching career: CD Candal, Nogueirense FC, SC Régua, SC Lamego, CD Tabuaço, FC Porto (youth), Kuwait Under-17, Portugal U16, U17, U18, U19

A former youth player at FC Porto, Borges made his name as a coach in the lower divisions before returning to the Dragons in 1991, working with the club's youth teams until 2000 when he left to join the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF).

He has since worked across the ages groups from Under-16 to U19 as either head coach or assistant, and in 2003 was part of the staff that guided Portugal to the European U17 Championship title on home soil. Took the U19s to their European finals in 2007 before a brief stint in Kuwait in 2009/10, returning to Portugal in 2011.

Team records

Qualifying top scorer
Betinho: 8

UEFA European Under-19 Championship best
Runners-up 2003

Honours in UEFA youth competitions
UEFA European Under-18 Championship
Winners 1994, 1999
Runners-up 1988, 1990, 1992, 1997

UEFA European Under-17 Championship
Winners 2003

UEFA European Under-16 Championship:
Winners 1989, 1995, 1996, 2000
Runners-up 1988

International Youth Tournament (U18)
Winners 1961
Runners-up 1971

Other honours
FIFA U-20 World Cup
Winners 1989, 1991

Last updated: 09/06/12 12.25CET

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