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2022 UEFA U17 EURO semi-final preview: France vs Portugal

The duo go head-to-head for a place in the final in Sunday's first last-four encounter at the Netanya Stadium in Israel.

France celebrated a dramatic penalty shoot-out win against Germany to reach the semi-finals - Portugal now await in Netanya
France celebrated a dramatic penalty shoot-out win against Germany to reach the semi-finals - Portugal now await in Netanya

France and Portugal face off in the first 2022 UEFA Under-17 EURO semi-final at the Netanya Stadium on Sunday — UEFA.com gives you the lowdown on the teams' run to the last four.

UEFA U17 EURO semi-finals at a glance

When: Sunday 29 May
France vs Portugal 16:30 CEST
Netherlands vs Serbia 20:00 CEST
Where: Netanya Stadium, Netanya, Israel
Where to watch: UEFA.tv

Final: Wednesday, 1 June, Netanya Stadium


Previous U17 best: Winners (2004, 2015)
Group stage: Group B runners-up (W6-1 vs Poland, W4-0 vs Bulgaria, L3-1 vs Netherlands)
Quarter-finals: W4-3 on penalties vs Germany (1-1)
Mathys Tel (3), Désiré Doué, Zoumana Diallo (2), Naim Byar, Axel Gueguin, Ayman Aiki, Warren Zaire Emery, Tom Saettel (1)

Highlights: France see off Germany to reach semis

How did they get here? José Alcocer's team raced out of the blocks with ten goals in their opening two games. A much-changed side also went in front against the holders in their final group match before being overhauled by the Dutch in the closing stages. Their race looked run after they missed their first two penalties in the quarter-final shoot-out against Germany only for a dramatic turnaround to edge them into the semi-finals.

Key player: Mathys Tel
The Rennes forward featured for his club in the UEFA Europa Conference League and in Ligue 1 this season, and has brought goals and maturity to his captaincy of the side. He took the nerve-jangling fifth penalty against Germany with the coolest of heads.

2022 U17 EURO top scorers


Previous U17 best: Winners (2003, 2016)
Group stage: Group D runners-up (W5-1 vs Scotland, W4-2 vs Sweden, L3-1 vs Denmark)

Quarter-finals: W2-1 vs Spain
Scorers: João Veloso, Afonso Moreira (3), Rodrigo Ribeiro, Ivan Lima, José Rodrigues (2)

Highlights: Portugal squeeze past Spain into semis

How did they get here? Despite coach José Lima missing Matchday 1, his team were sublime in their emphatic opening-game win against Scotland, and followed that by scoring four against Sweden. Group D leaders ahead of Matchday 3, they saw Ivan Lima's early goal overhauled by a determined Denmark, who came within a couple of goals of knocking out the two-time champions. José Rodrigues scored the decisive goal from the penalty spot as they won 2-1 against Spain to progress to the last four.

Key player: João Veloso
The Benfica midfielder has provided both guile and a goal threat from the middle of the pitch. His passing range and ability to find space in the frantic final third have been precious qualities for Portugal.

Possible line-ups

Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Fernandes backstopped his country to victory in a nail-biting quarter-final with Spain
Portugal goalkeeper Diogo Fernandes backstopped his country to victory in a nail-biting quarter-final with Spain

France: Olmeta; Kumbedi, Sarr, Bitshiabu, Belocian; Atangana, Zaire Emery; Byar, Doué, Saettel; Tel (c)

Portugal: Diogo Fernandes; Martim Fernandes, João Muniz, Diogo Monteiro (c), Leonardo Barroso; João Veloso, Djaló, Dário Essugo; Afonso Moreira, José Rodrigues, Ivan Lima

Where to watch the games: TV/streams

View from the camps

José Alcocer, France coach, speaking to UEFA.com: "We saw a very good Portugal side. They have a solid game plan. It's a semi-final. Anything is possible. It could be tense, it could be totally crazy. But the two teams deserve to be there, and I think we're going to move up a gear in terms of intensity. This EURO is a big success. The favourites are there, there's an outsider too. We're going to try and stay a little longer."

Mathys Tel, France captain, speaking to UEFA.com: "We're here to win the tournament, so there are steps to take. The finish line is just behind a big wall. Are we going to do it? I don't know, but we have the team to do it, the technical staff to do it. I think there's something we can do, and we'll try to get it done."

José Lima, Portugal coach: "Now all the teams are aiming to be champions of Europe. Our main objective now — for now — is the game against France, knowing that France is a very difficult team, as was Spain. We know that it will be difficult but that we will do our best to win and be in the final."

João Muniz, Portugal defender, speaking after the quarter-final defeat of Spain: "We came here with a goal and in a very short competition, we have to celebrate these steps that we are taking, but as of tomorrow, we are already preparing the game against France. We will face the game with a clear head and we will put on the field the same dedication and commitment that we showed in today's game."