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Group A rivals share spoils

Published: Monday 11 June 2007, 0.58CET
Portugal 0-0 Belgium
Belgium had the better chances in an entertaining encounter but both countries had to settle for a point.
by Patrick Hart
from Euroborg Stadium

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Match statistics

PortugalBelgium

Goals scored0
 
0
Attempts on target4
 
3
Attempts off target4
 
7
Corners4
 
1
Fouls committed7
 
18
Yellow cards2
 
1
Red Cards0
 
0

Standings

Group A NED / ISR / POR / BEL(Host country: Netherlands)

TeamsPWDLFA+/-Pts
Netherlands Netherlands11001013
Portugal Portugal10100001
Belgium Belgium10100001
Israel Israel100101-10
Last updated: 19/04/2013 11:26 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
W: Won   
D: Drawn   
L: Lost   
F: For   
A: Against   
+/-: Goal difference   
Published: Monday 11 June 2007, 0.58CET

Group A rivals share spoils

Portugal 0-0 Belgium
Belgium had the better chances in an entertaining encounter but both countries had to settle for a point.

Belgium and Portugal took one point apiece from their first appearance at this UEFA European Under-21 Championship, the Group A contest in Gronginen ending goalless.

Parity
Both sides have been hailed, in some quarters, as potential winners of this tournament, yet over the 90 minutes it was a strong and lively Belgium team who staked the more convincing claim. Only their inability to convert a flurry of first-half chances preserved the stalemate.

Big reputation
The Euroborg Stadium complex boasts a further education college, which was appropriate as Portugal are many people's idea of a Grade A student at this level. Coach José Couceiro counted on five graduates of the Sporting Clube de Portugal academy, with two featuring in the early exchanges. After Manuel Fernandes had shot into the side-netting, the same midfielder passed in-field to João Moutinho whose first-time touch sent Sporting team-mate Yannick Djaló racing into the opposition box. The finish had rather less gloss, being blasted against goalkeeper Logan Bailly.

Growing force
After a tentative start, Belgium began to suggest why they have been billed as their country's best generation in a decade. Anthony Vanden Borre released Kevin Mirallas in the penalty area but with Portugal keeper Paulo Ribeiro exposed, the forward dragged his attempt wide. Giant central midfielder Marouane Fellaini then advanced to knock down a long ball to the feet of Mirallas, who fired over when free. Despite being deployed in a defensive role, Fellaini was a target for high balls around the Portugal box, showing the fluidity of François De Sart's 4-3-3 formation.

Dominance
Although Van Borre appeared hampered by a left-foot injury, it was his right foot that almost connected with captain Maarten Martens' cross-cum-shot towards the half-hour. And the same player rode the sliding tackle of Semedo to surge towards the Portugal area in a two-on-two situation which was defused when his through-pass fell short. With willing forwards Martens and Mirallas keeping Portugal's defence on edge, Jonathan Blondel crossed, Fellaini challenged Paulo Ribeiro, and the unclaimed ball was sidefooted wide by Vanden Borre. Belgium were dominant. Sepp De Roover broke down the right before playing in Martens, whose shot was blocked by Paulo Ribeiro, the rebound being sent over by Blondel. Mirallas's relentless front-running should also have brought reward when he grazed the post.

Near misses
If the first-half honours went to De Sart's protégés, Belgium continued to look the more enterprising side as the second period unfolded. Mirallas the spearhead, supported by Vanden Borre, Maartens and Blondel, were running their socks off in search of the breakthrough. On the hour, this almost came at the other end. Yannick centred from the left, Hugo Almeida punched a header towards goal, Bailly made a brilliant save. This was not a tide-turning event. As a hot day surrendered entirely to a cool, damp evening, there was an air of desperation about Portugal's defending. Only Mirallas himself stopped Vanden Borre getting on the end of a menacing deep cross. When Fellaini did connect with a Sébastien Pocognoli delivery, he nodded wastefully over.

Profligacy
Belgium were nearly left to rue their profligacy as the game entered its final ten minutes. Substitute Silvestre Varela's shot from inside the Belgium box required the intervention of two defenders to deflect it over; Manuel Fernandes's devastating effort from outside almost burnt a hole in the side-netting. In keeping with the overall complexion of the match, however, Manuel da Costa was forced to head clear Tom De Mul's curling strike in the dying seconds.

Last updated: 27/03/13 7.38CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2007/matches/round=2240/match=85174/postmatch/report/index.html#group+a+rivals+share+spoils

Lineups

Portugal

Portugal

Belgium

Belgium

1
Paulo RibeiroPaulo Ribeiro (GK)
1
BaillyLogan Bailly (GK)
4
Miguel VelosoMiguel Veloso
2
De RooverSepp De Roover
5
SemedoSemedo
4
VermaelenThomas Vermaelen
7
Filipe OliveiraFilipe Oliveira
6
LombaertsNicolas Lombaerts
8
Manuel FernandesManuel Fernandes
9
MirallasKevin Mirallas
9
Hugo AlmeidaHugo Almeida (C)
Yellow Card17
10
VertonghenJan Vertonghen
Yellow Card19
10
João MoutinhoJoão Moutinho
Yellow Card36
Substitution84
11
MartensMaarten Martens (C)
Substitution87
11
GonçalvesJosé Gonçalves
Substitution57
15
PocognoliSébastien Pocognoli
18
NaniNani
17
FellainiMarouane Fellaini
20
Yannick DjalóYannick Djaló
Substitution66
20
Vanden BorreAnthony Vanden Borre
Substitution90
22
Manuel da CostaManuel da Costa
22
BlondelJonathan Blondel
Substitution76

Substitutes

12
Ricardo BatistaRicardo Batista (GK)
12
BoeckxFrank Boeckx (GK)
23
João BotelhoJoão Botelho (GK)
21
CordierMichaël Cordier (GK)
2
AmoreirinhaAmoreirinha
5
MulemoLandry Mulemo
3
João PereiraJoão Pereira
7
OvermeireKillian Overmeire
Substitution90
6
OrganistaOrganista
8
HarounFaris Haroun
Substitution87
13
RolandoRolando
13
GilletGuillaume Gillet
14
Paulo MachadoPaulo Machado
14
De MulTom De Mul
Substitution76
15
Rúben AmorimRúben Amorim
Substitution84
16
De SutterTom De Sutter
16
MoreiraJoão Moreira
18
CimanLaurent Ciman
17
Ricardo Vaz TéRicardo Vaz Té
19
De SmetStijn De Smet
19
VarelaSilvestre Varela
Substitution66
23
WitselAxel Witsel
21
AntunesAntunes
Substitution57

Coach

José Couceiro (POR) Jean-François De Sart (BEL)

Referee

Robert Malek (POL)

Assistant referees

Mustafa Eyisoy (TUR), Dimitrios Saraidaris (GRE)

Fourth official

Bas Nijhuis (NED)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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