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Portugal vs England: Under-21 EURO background, form guide, previous meetings

There has been little to separate Portugal and England in their previous U21 meetings as they face off on Matchday 2.

Rafael Leão in action for Portugal
Rafael Leão in action for Portugal Getty Images

There has been little to separate Portugal and England in their previous UEFA European Under-21 Championship meetings as they face off on Matchday 2.

• This Group D encounter at the Stadion Stožice in Ljubljana brings together two teams who have been finals regulars in recent years, with Portugal featuring for the third time in the last four U21 tournaments and England in the group stage for the eighth U21 EURO in a row.

2021 Under-21 EUROs: Meet the teams
2021 Under-21 EUROs: Meet the teams

Previous meetings
• The teams' last meeting came at the Toulon Tournament in 2016, England's Lewis Baker scoring the only goal.

• The sides' last three European U21 Championship games have also finished 1-0, the most recent a Portugal success in the 2015 group stage in the Czech Republic. João Mário got the only goal in the 57th minute, giving his side the win that helped them top Group B on five points; England finished bottom on three.

• That ended Portugal's four-game winless run in competitive fixtures against England, and was their first victory since a 2-1 success in Liverpool on 9 September 2003. England beat Portugal 1-0 home and away in qualifying for the 2011 finals thanks to goals from Danny Rose (in London) and Daniel Sturridge (in Barcelos).

• Portugal were 3-1 winners when the teams met in the 2002 group stage, goals from Filipe Teixeira (7), Ariza Makukula (20 pen) and Hugo Viana (69) securing victory despite Alan Smith's 43rd-minute response. Portugal still missed out on a semi-final place, finishing third in Group B with England fourth.

• Portugal have won five of the sides' ten competitive meetings (D2 L3), including home (4-2) and away (2-1) in qualifying ahead of the 2004 edition, Hélder Postiga and Ricardo Quaresma scoring in each game with Cristiano Ronaldo also on target in Rio Maior.

• Aaron Ramsdale, Ryan Sessegnon and substitute Josh Dasilva were in the England team that beat Portugal 2-1 in the final of the 2017 European U19 Championship. Diogo Costa, Diogo Queirós, Diogo Dalot, Gedson Fernandes, Domingos Quina and substitutes Rafael Leão and Miguel Luís featured for Portugal, with Diogo Leite and Florentino Luís unused replacements.

• Jota's hat-trick, and another goal from Rafael Leão, helped Portugal to a 7-3 win against England in a U17 tournament organised by the English Football Association in 2015. On 4 October the same year, Jota's equaliser earned a 1-1 home draw against England in the 2016 European U17 Championship qualifying campaign.

2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities
2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities

Form guide
Portugal
• Portugal's last finals appearance came in 2017, when they finished second in Group B behind Spain. They were victorious against Serbia (2-0) and North Macedonia (4-2), but a 3-1 loss against their Iberian neighbours on Matchday 2 proved crucial.

• Rui Jorge's side lost the 2015 final to Sweden on their first appearance in the tournament since 2007. They had also been runners-up in 1994 before a quarter-final finish two years later. Subsequently the Portuguese came third in 2004, yet have otherwise been eliminated in the final tournament group stage – in 2002, 2006 (as hosts), 2007 and 2017.

• In charge since 2010, Rui Jorge guided his side to second place in Group 7 in qualifying for the 2021 finals. Portugal finished level with the Netherlands on 27 points, a 4-2 away defeat by the Dutch in their third fixture leaving them behind their opponents on head-to-head record in the final standings. Portugal won their other nine qualifiers, including the last seven, finishing with a 2-1 home victory against the Netherlands. They had the best record of all nine group runners-up.

• Before this tournament Portugal had won nine of their 23 games at U21 EURO final tournaments (D7 L7).

2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities
2021 Under-21 EURO: The host cities

England
• England have qualified for their eighth successive U21 final tournament – the longest ongoing sequence in the competition. They failed to win a game in Italy two years ago, conceding twice late on to lose to both France (1-2) and Romania (2-4) and drawing with Croatia (3-3) to finish third in Group C.

• England have made it past the initial group stage three times in those seven finals appearances although the 2017 defeat on penalties by eventual champions Germany in the last four is their only knockout appearance in the last five final tournaments; runners-up in 2009, they also lost in the 2007 semi-finals.

• This is England's tenth participation in an eight or 12-team U21 finals; six of those previous nine campaigns ended in the group stage.

• Champions in 1982 and 1984, England also reached the semi-finals in 1978, 1980, 1986 and 1988.

• Before Matchday 1 England had won only three of their last 16 group games at the final tournament (D5 L8).

• In qualifying for these finals Aidy Boothroyd – who has been in charge since 2016 – oversaw an unbeaten campaign, England winning nine of their ten fixtures to finish on 28 points, ten clear of Austria at the top of Group 3.

• England have reached each of the last four U21 final tournaments without losing a game. Their last qualifying defeat was a 2-1 loss in Belgium on 14 November 2011; their subsequent record is W37 D6.

• Eddie Nketiah was the top scorer in qualifying overall with 13 goals. He is England's all-time U21 top scorer on 16.

How the under-21 finals were won 1996-2017
How the under-21 finals were won 1996-2017

Links and trivia
• Have played in England:
Gedson Fernandes (Tottenham loan 2020–)
Vitinha (Wolverhampton Wanderers loan 2020–)
Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers 2019–)
Diogo Dalot (Manchester United 2018–20)
Rúben Vinagre (Wolverhampton Wanderers 2017–20)
Pedro Gonçalves (Wolverhampton Wanderers 2017–19)
João Virgínia (Everton 2019–, Reading loan 2019/20)

• Morgan Gibbs-White has been a Wolves team-mate of Vitinha, Neto, Vinagre and Gonçalves.

• Have also played together:
Diogo Dalot & Mason Greenwood (Manchester United 2018–20)
Gedson Fernandes & Oliver Skipp (Tottenham 2020)

• Goals from Fábio Vieira and Diogo Queirós helped Porto beat Chelsea 3-1 in the final of the 2018/19 UEFA Youth League; Diogo Costa, Diogo Leite and Vitinha also featured for the Portuguese club.

• Gonçalo Ramos scored twice as Benfica beat Liverpool 4-1 in the 2019/20 UEFA Youth League round of 16.