Portugal wingers Ricardo Esgaio and Bruma have been wreaking havoc against opposing defences during the Under-19 finals in Estonia and both admit they are keen to cause more panic when they tackle Greece in their final Group A encounter on Monday.
Products of Sporting Clube de Portugal's youth academy, Esgaio and Bruma were the epitome of calm as they sat down to talk to UEFA.com about their experiences at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship to date. Their tranquil demeanour was nonetheless a far cry from the explosive, energetic performances they produced on either flank during Friday night's 3-3 draw against Spain, a game in which Bruma found the scoresheet.
"I think that was a good football match between two very even teams," the left-sided attacker said. "It wasn't only because there were a lot of goals – the technical level was also very high." His team-mate Esgaio agreed, explaining: "the game was played at a high intensity while we had a top approach that came from good preparation. Our coach wasn't happy after [our 3-0 opening win against] Estonia but he was happier after the Spain game because we lifted our level and our rhythm and with that we achieved a good result."
Admitting that playing together for club and country helps with their understanding on the pitch, Bruma added that both players were delighted to be advancing their development at these "important" finals. "We have played alongside one another for a long time and know each other's on-field movements," he said. "Obviously that helps us here, but that is also the case at Sporting which, in my opinion, is one of the best club's for developing young players."
Portugal reached the 11th edition of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship as top scorers, registering 29 goals in their six qualifiers. Esgaio scored two of those and admits he is happy to now be testing himself at "such a high level" in Estonia. "The best thing is to be playing against some of the best players at this level," he said. "This is where we want to be. Football is our profession, so being here is very important for our futures. There are no downsides to this."
The only disagreement between the pair arose when Bruma expressed his preference for Real Madrid CF while Esgaio revealed his FC Barcelona allegiances – yet even that failed to disrupt their harmonious relationship for long. Indeed, both agreed that it is the Liga giants' attacking style that impresses them most.
Knowing that a draw in their final group game against Greece in Haapsalu will be enough to take Portugal through to the last four at their opponents' expense, the two players likewise insisted that winning is the only thing on their minds. "A point will be good enough for us, but we will enter the game with the same winning spirit that we have shown so far in this tournament," Esgaio said.
"We have shown here that we play each match as a final and that's exactly how we will be treating the Greece match," Bruma added. "We want to win and continue our path through the tournament and into the semi-finals."
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