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England vs Portugal facts

Previous meetings, form guides, links and trivia ahead of the 2023 EURO U21 quarter-final.

England line up ahead of a group stage game
England line up ahead of a group stage game Getty Images

Having won all three games in their UEFA European Under-21 Championship group for the first time, England are looking to reach the semi-finals for the second time in four editions of the competition as they face Portugal at the Shengelia Arena in Kutaisi.

Lee Carsley's side finished five points clear in Group C with wins in all three fixtures, concluding the section with a 2-0 defeat of Germany that eliminated the holders from the tournament. Portugal, meanwhile, snatched second place in Group A behind co-hosts Georgia thanks to an 89th-minute penalty winner against Belgium on Matchday 3.

Previous meetings

Portugal were 2-0 winners against England on Matchday 2 of the 2021 finals thanks to goals from Dany Mota(64) and a 74th-minute penalty converted by substitute Francisco Trincão. The Portuguese went on to win Group D with a maximum nine points, England finishing bottom on three.

The sides' previous three European U21 Championship games had all finished 1-0, including a Portugal success in the 2015 group stage in Czechia. 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 (D1 L3), 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 six of the sides' 11 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.

Emile Smith Rowe scored England's opening goal past Celton Biai in a 4-1 Under-19 friendly win against Portugal on 11 October 2019. Max Aarons, Morgan Gibbs-White and Angel Gomes were also in the England team with Nuno Tavares and substitute André Almeida playing for Portugal.

Samuel Costa helped Portugal to a 3-2 victory against England in an U19 friendly on 4 June 2019.

A Fábio Silva goal past James Trafford was not enough to prevent Portugal's Under-17 side suffering a 2-1 loss to England on 9 September 2018. Tomás Araújo and Paulo Bernardo also featured for Portugal with Samuel Soares an unused replacement; Noni Madueke and substitute Taylor Harwood-Bellis were also in the England line-up.

Tommy Doyle and substitute Curtis Jones were both in the England team that came from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Portugal in a U17 friendly in Chesterfield on 8 November 2017, Doyle scoring his side's first goal.

Doyle's England team were beaten 4-0 by Portugal in a U17 friendly on 9 February 2018.

Form guide


England are in the knockout stages for the fourth time since an eight-team final tournament was introduced in 1998. They have won only one of their four previous knockout ties in those finals, beating hosts Sweden 5-4 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in the 2009 semi-finals. Two of those defeats also came on penalties – against the Netherlands in 2007 (12-13) and Germany in 2017 (3-4) – in addition to a 4-0 loss to Germany in the 2009 final.

England have won all six of their previous European U21 Championship quarter-finals, all over two legs, and are unbeaten in the 12 matches (W8 D4):
1978 W 2-1 agg v Italy (2-1 h, 0-0 a)
1980 W 2-1 agg v Scotland (2-1 h, 0-0 a)
1982 W 4-3 agg v Poland (2-1 a, 2-2 h)
1984 W 7-1 agg v France (6-1 h, 1-0 a)
1986 W 2-1 agg v Denmark (1-0 a, 1-1 h)
1988 W 2-0 agg v Scotland (1-0 a, 1-0 h)

This is England's ninth successive final tournament campaign – the longest ongoing sequence in the competition – and an 11th overall; they last missed out in 2006.

Champions in 1982 and 1984, England also reached four further semi-finals in the first six editions of the European U21 Championship.

However, this is only the second time in their last seven finals campaigns that the Young Lions have progressed from the group stage, reaching the semi-finals in 2017. Going into this tournament they had won just four of their previous 19 finals matches, losing ten.

In 2021, a late Croatia goal in England's 2-1 Matchday 3 victory meant Aidy Bothroyd's side finished level on three points with their opponents but were eliminated on goals scored in a three-way head-to-head also involving Switzerland, finishing bottom of the section.

Before this tournament the win against Croatia was England's only victory in seven finals games (D2 L4).

Carsley's team won eight of their ten qualifiers to finish three points clear of Czechia in the 2023 preliminaries, although a 2-1 home loss to Slovenia in the last game in their group on 13 June 2022 ended England's record 54-game unbeaten run in U21 qualifying (W47 D7), dating back to 14 November 2011.

Folarin Balogun, who is not in the final tournament squad, was England's top scorer in qualifying with six goals. Taylor Harwood-Bellis made the most appearances, starting all ten matches.

Having beaten Czechia, Israel and Germany all 2-0, England are the only side still to concede at these finals.

Smith Rowe was the joint top scorer after Matchday 3 on two goals, level with Switzerland pair Dan Ndoye and Kastriot Imeri, Abel Ruiz of Spain and France's Bradley Barcola.


The Portuguese are in the knockout rounds for the fourth time since an eight-team final tournament was introduced in 1998.

Portugal are in the quarter-finals for the fourth time. They beat Poland in 1994 (3-1 a, 2-0 h) but lost to Italy at the same stage two years later (1-0 h, 0-2 a) before a 5-3 extra-time win against the Azzurrini in 2021.

This is Portugal's tenth appearance in the U21 final tournament; yet to lift the trophy, they were runners-up in 1994 to Italy, 2015 to Sweden and 2021 to Germany. They were also third in 2004.

Portugal have now qualified for four of the last five tournaments, reaching two finals in that time – all under long-serving coach Rui Jorge, who was also a runner-up as a player in 1994.

In 2021 Portugal won their first three games to finish six points clear at the top of Group D and subsequently beat Italy in the quarter-finals and Spain (1-0) in the semis only to go down 1-0 to Germany in the final.

In charge since 2010, Jorge oversaw a near-faultless qualifying campaign for the 2023 finals, Portugal winning nine of their ten games and drawing the other to finish ten points clear at the top of Group D.

The Portuguese were top scorers in qualifying with 41 goals, conceding only three.

Portugal also boasted the overall top scorer in qualifying, Gonçalo Ramos's 12 goals five more than any other player. He scored four goals in each of the home games against Liechtenstein (11-0) and Cyprus (6-0) and found the net at least once against all five Group D opponents, although he is not in the final tournament squad.

Beaten 2-0 by co-hosts Georgia in their opening fixture, Portugal drew 1-1 with the Netherlands on Matchday 2 before second-half goals from João Neves (56) and Tiago Dantas, an 89th-minute penalty, earned a 2-1 win against Belgium that enabled them to leapfrog the Dutch and Belgians and snatch second place in Group A behind Georgia.

That also ended Portugal's run of three matches without a win at the U21 final tournament (D1 L2), their previous six having all ended in victory. The loss to Georgia on Matchday 1 was their joint heaviest defeat at the finals while André Almeida's Matchday 2 strike was their only goal in that three-game sequence.

Links and trivia

Have played in England:
Pedro Neto (Wolverhampton Wanderers 2019–)
Henrique Araújo (Watford 2023 loan)
Nuno Tavares (Arsenal 2021/22)
Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers 2020–22)

Has played in Portugal:
Angel Gomes (Boavista 2020/21 loan)

Have played together:
Jarrad Branthwaite & Fábio Silva (PSV Eindhoven 2022/23)
Morgan Gibbs-White & Pedro Neto, Fábio Silva (Wolverhampton Wanderers 2021)
Emile Smith Rowe & Nuno Tavares (Arsenal 2021/22)

A Branthwaite own goal gave Francisco Conceição's Ajax the lead in the Dutch Cup final on 30 April, but PSV Eindhoven rallied to level at 1-1 before winning 3-2 on penalties.