Switzerland take on Portugal in Ljubljana, the Stadion Stožice bring the venue for the third and final round of Group D games.
Article top media content
Switzerland take on Portugal in Ljubljana, the Stadion Stožice staging the teams' final Group D fixture at the UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
• Portugal have managed five victories in the sides' ten European U21 Championship fixtures, including the last three.
• A Portugal side coached by Rui Jorge beat Mauro Lustrinelli's Switzerland 4-2 in Neuchâtel in the teams' most recent meeting, on 27 March 2018. First-half goals from Djibril Sow (4) and Eray Cömert (37) put the home side in charge, but Portugal pulled level through Heriberto Tavares (50) and André Horta (57) before goals in the final half-hour from João Félix (64) and Gil Dias (90) wrapped up a comeback win.
• Andi Zeqiri was in the Swiss team while Diogo Dalot and Rafael Leão featured for Portugal.
• Portugal had beaten the Swiss 2-1 in Paços de Ferreira on 14 November 2017, all three goals coming in the first half. Diogo Gonçalves (10) and Diogo Jota (29) struck for the home side, with Ulisses Garcia's 39th-minute response not enough for the visitors.
• The six points from those two games helped Portugal finish second to Romania in qualifying Group 8, with Switzerland eliminated after finishing fifth in the six-team section; Portugal went on to lose 3-2 on aggregate to Poland in the play-offs.
• Portugal had fared better in the play-offs for the 2006 finals, beating Switzerland 3-2 over two legs. The first leg in Zurich on 13 November 2005 finished 1-1, Davide Chiumiento's third-minute opener for Switzerland cancelled out 14 minutes later by Ricardo Quaresma. Three days later in Porto, David Degen gave the Swiss another advantage, in the 21st minute, but second-half strikes from Hugo Almeida (55) and Silvestre Varela took Portugal through to a final tournament they would host.
• This is the countries' third meeting at a U21 EURO final tournament, both previous encounters also having come in the group stage.
• On Matchday 2 of the 2002 edition, finals hosts Switzerland were 2-0 winners in Zurich thanks to second-half strikes from Ricardo Cabanas (60 pen) and Alexander Frei (73); that result helped Switzerland finish as Group A runners-up to Italy, level with Portugal on four points but above them on head-to-head record.
• In 2004, the teams shared a 2-2 draw, also on Matchday 2, in Mainz. All the goals came in the second half, Johan Vonlanthen putting Switzerland in front in the 57th minute before Carlos Martins (65 pen) and Hugo Almeida (71) turned the match in Portugal's favour. Baykal Kulaksızoğlu earned a draw four minutes from time but that proved Switzerland's only point of the finals; Portugal finished as Group B runners-up to Sweden having picked up four.
• Switzerland are in the finals for the fourth time overall, and the first since 2011. Then, a side including future senior internationals Yann Sommer, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri kept four clean sheets on their way to the final, winning all three Group A games against hosts Denmark (1-0), Iceland (2-0) and Belarus (3-0) before beating the Czech Republic 1-0 after extra time in the semi-finals. Spain proved too strong in the final, however, running out 2-0 winners in Aarhus.
• The Swiss had also reached the semi-finals on home soil in 2002; their other finals appearance, two years later, ended in group stage elimination.
• Switzerland lost to Germany in the play-offs for the 2013 finals (1-1 a, 1-3 h); each of their next three campaigns ended in the qualifying group stage.
• Lustrinelli, who took over from Heinz Moser in 2018, oversaw nine wins from ten games to take his team to these finals as Group 2 runners-up behind France. The teams finished level on 27 points apiece, Switzerland winning their first nine fixtures – including a 3-1 victory against France – but defeat by the same scoreline in their last qualifier left them behind their opponents on goal difference.
• 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 tournament (D7 L7).
Links and trivia
• Zeqiri of Switzerland and Portugal's Vitinha were on opposing sides in the Premier League on 2 January 2021, a 3-3 draw between Brighton and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Vitinha played the first 64 minutes; Zeqiri came on at half-time.
• Tiago Djaló came on as a late substitute in LOSC Lille's 2-0 Ligue 1 win away to Dijon, who had Switzerland's Anthony Racioppi in goal, on 16 December 2020.