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Portugal pip Denmark to Lithuania

A late Bruma penalty against ten-man Denmark gave Group 3 hosts Portugal victory and a place in the finals after a mini-tournament where both teams excelled.

Portugal are in their second straight finals
Portugal are in their second straight finals ©UEFA.com

Portugal had a late Bruma penalty to thank for victory against Denmark and first place in UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round Group 3.

Going into today's decider in Barcelos, hosts Portugal led Denmark on goals scored after both had secured convincing wins against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria. Thanks to their third victory, Portugal secured their place in the finals from 20 July to 1 August 2013, joining hosts Lithuania, Georgia, Turkey and four other sides to be decided in the next two days in Friday's draw.

Hoping to qualify for the third time in four years, Portugal had an early boost against Denmark when goalkeeper Oliver Korch was dismissed on five minutes for bringing down Hélder Costa in the box. But Casper Radza came off the bench and promptly saved Bruma's penalty to keep Denmark in with a chance of reaching their first U19 finals.

Still, it was Denmark that needed to win and with two minutes to go they were still only a goal away. However, Portugal then won a second penalty and this time Sporting Clube de Portugal winger Bruma beat Radza to ensure a place in Lithuania having also been part of the finals squad in Estonia 12 months ago.

Emílio Peixe, the Portugal coach, said: "It wasn't an easy group. We already knew there was a very strong team to go against. Denmark have great players and a very good playing style. Their quality puts them among the best. For us to go through it means a lot, of course, but I am sure this was completely fair due to the effort my players put into this competition, their focus in every match, they deserve it.

"Today we could have managed the game a bit better, with their keeper out of the game early and so on. However, we did the best we could and we managed to get the win, which was our main objective along with qualification."

That Portugal and Denmark would dominate the group was clear on day one. Denmark opened by beating the Czech Republic 5-0, Kenneth Zohore scoring twice. But that was not enough for them to lead the group as Portugal scored seven without reply against Bulgaria, Gonçalo Paciência's hat-trick the highlight.

Two days later Denmark secured another 5-0 win, this time against Bulgaria with Kristian Lindberg getting a treble against a side reduced to nine men late on. That left Portugal under pressure to win well enough to restore their group advantage and they did just that, 4-1 versus the Czech Republic, Bruma the third hat-trick scorer of the mini-tournament. The Czechs did beat Bulgaria 2-1 for third place.