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U17 EURO final preview: Portugal v Spain

An impregnable Portugal side stand between Spain and a record third UEFA European Under-17 Championship title, La Roja coach Santi Denia saying "we need a perfect performance".

Portugal captain Diogo Queirós, coach Hélio Sousa and Spain's Santi Denia and Manu Morlanes
Portugal captain Diogo Queirós, coach Hélio Sousa and Spain's Santi Denia and Manu Morlanes ©Sportsfile
  • Portugal and Spain vie for title in repeat of the 2003 decider in Viseu
  • A Portugal squad featuring João Moutinho and Miguel Veloso triumphed that year
  • This is Spain's sixth U17 final and first since 2010 – they won in 2007 and 2008
  • Portugal's Diogo Costa has gone 624 minutes without conceding in the 2015/16 edition
  • Hélio Sousa's charges have kept five successive clean sheets in Azerbaijan
  • Portugal forward José Gomes has managed a finals leading seven goals in Baku
  • The Benfica player is also the competition's 16-goal all-time top scorer

Possible lineups
Portugal: Costa; Dalot, Queirós (c), Leite, Vinagre; Fernandes, Florentino, Quina; Mesaque, Gomes, Filipe.

Spain: Peña; Robles, Brandariz, Subias, Zabarte; Morlanes (c), Busquets; Mboula, Díaz, García; Ruiz.

Hélio Sousa, Portugal coach
We're a strong team in all areas. We're good with and without the ball and good at fast transitions, whether attacking or defensive. That has brought us to the final, but to do that game after game is very difficult.

We have an identity that means all of the players can appear in the final third. It could be a winger, a midfielder or a right-sided defender. That happens sometimes and on Wednesday it was [right-back] Diogo Dalot who scored a goal.

The team are fit, playing good football and converting that into goals. Sometimes playing well is not enough to win; occasionally it's better to play badly and get the victory. For us it's perfect: we're performing well and that is reflected in our results.

Spain's performance against Germany was very strong. They did the most difficult thing – they were losing and recovered to get the victory. That demonstrates their great personality and a strong will to win.

Road to the final
Qualifying round: Group 9 runners-up
Elite round: Group 5 winners

Final tournament: Group A winners
Quarter-finals: 5-0 v Austria
Semi-finals: 2-0 v Netherlands


Santi Denia, Spain coach
This will be our most difficult match of the tournament because Portugal were one of the favourites beforehand. We'll have to defend as a team [to stop Gomes]. Their defensive lines are very good, but tomorrow we'll try to find some holes and score a goal. To get the win we need a perfect performance. A third victory would be a record, but we're living in the present and we must do everything necessary to get the trophy.

This is a good period for Spanish football, although we must separate club success from that of the national teams. The clubs believe in the players and they can achieve whatever they want. We're witnessing that right now.

Road to the final
Qualifying round: Group 6 winners
Elite round: Group 8 runners-up

Final tournament: Group D winners
Quarter-finals: 1-0 v England
Semi-finals: 2-1 v Germany

Reporter's view: Wayne Harrison (@UEFAcomWayneH)
It is hard to look beyond a Portugal side that has scored 14 times without reply here. In José Gomes – five of whose goals have been headers – Sousa has a natural finisher, a true penalty-box striker. However, if Spain perform with the same gusto and intensity as they did in the second half of their semi-final against Germany, when they were 1-0 down until the 64th minute, we could be in for a thriller. Expect both teams to be unchanged for the third consecutive match.    

Did you know?
• Spain's sole 'defeat' in this season's UEFA European Under-17 Championship was a 4-3 loss on spot kicks to Belgium in their last elite round fixture. The shoot-out was necessary because the 0-0 draw meant the nations could not be separated at the top of the group on any tiebreak criteria.