UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Spain 0-1 Portugal: Holders fall to neighbours in semi-final

A late deflected goal took Portugal into Sunday's final and ended the hopes of holders Spain.

Highlights: Spain 0-1 Portugal
Highlights: Spain 0-1 Portugal

A late own goal took Portugal into Sunday's UEFA European Under-21 Championship final and ended the hopes of holders Spain in Maribor.

While Spain were hoping to reach their third straight final, Portugal are into their third showpiece overall. They will face the Germany at 21:00 CET on Sunday in Ljubljana.

Match in brief

Spain started the contest with some bursts down the flanks, only for no one to connect with Bryan Gil's crosses. Portugal defended strongly and were soon able to create chances of their own, countering after winning the ball in midfield. Vitinha was denied from distance by Álvaro Fernández, before Spain then pressed higher with Brahim Díaz's header flying just over the bar.

The match as it happened


Spain began the second half with more conviction. Marc Cucurella rattled the post and shots from Díaz and Manu García flew just wide, while Jorge Cuenca's and Juan Miranda's attempts were saved. Portugal had trouble getting out of their half, although Diogo Queirós's header came close at the other end.

But Portugal produced the sucker punch on the counter. In the 80th minute, Vitinha's precise long pass found Fábio Vieira and Cuenca's attempted block looped the ball over Fernández. Spain pressed with everything they had, but Portugal held firm.

Reaction

Dalot: "Mental strength saw us through"
Dalot: "Mental strength saw us through"

Vitinha, Portugal midfielder (player of the match): "It was a tough 90 minutes. Spain are a very good team. We controlled the game without the ball. We have a good side that can play with or without possession. They had a few chances, that's true. We scored, they didn't – that's the most important thing."

Diogo Dalot, Portugal defender: "We were prepared to suffer without the ball against a fantastic team. I think the mental aspect was even more important than the physical part of the game today. We made Portuguese people proud. Being in the final is a proud moment, but we want more."

Luis de la Fuente, Spain coach: "It is normal to suffer in such matches. This could well have been the final. It was a game between two great teams and rivals. We knew that little details would settle the game in one direction or the other. In football, you win if you score more goals. I am satisfied with the work we did, and I am satisfied with Spain's football future."

De La Fuente on Spain defeat
De La Fuente on Spain defeat

Key stats

  • Portugal ended Spain's 18-game unbeaten run in this competition, including qualifiers, dating back to a 3-1 group loss to Italy in 2019.
  • Portugal are into their third U21 final, having lost to Italy in 1994 and Sweden in 2015.
  • Spain miss out on chance to move one ahead of Italy, with whom they share the record of five titles.

Line-ups

Spain: Fernández; Óscar Gil, Mingueza, Jorge Cuenca, Cucurella; Manu García (Sancet 76), Zubimendi, Villar (Ruiz 82); Brahim Díaz (Yeremi Pino 66), Puado, Bryan Gil (Miranda 46)

Portugal: Diogo Costa; Diogo Dalot, Diogo Queirós, Diogo Leite, Abdu Conté; Daniel Bragança (Romário Baró 65); Vitinha, Fábio Vieira (Pedro Pereira 90), Gedson Fernandes (Florentino 51); Rafael Leão (Tiago Tomás 64), Dany Mota (Jota 65)