• Portugal advance to their second U21 EURO final in stunning fashion
• Bernardo Silva, Ricardo and Ivan Cavaleiro give Portugal 3-0 half-time lead
• João Mário and Ricardo Horta add to advantage in second half
• Germany, who lose Leonardo Bittencourt to late red card, suffer heaviest U21 finals loss
• Rui Jorge's men will head to Prague for 30 June final confident of first U21 title
The previous time Portugal reached a UEFA European Under-21 Championship final, back in 1994, their team included future greats Luís Figo and Rui Costa. Whether members of their 2015 vintage are one day spoken of in the same breath remains to be seen, but in Portugal they will be talking about this victory for a long time to come.
Rui Jorge's men were outstanding in their demolition of a Germany side who had gone 14 competitive matches unbeaten prior to this humbling evening in Olomouc. It is not often a Germany team are overpowered, but Portugal surpassed them both technically and physically. Despite the late withdrawal of the injured Tiago Ilori, replaced by Tobias Figueiredo, they looked in the mood from the off – not least their two key men.
Bernardo Silva, the brilliant Monaco playmaker, flicked a menacing early ball into the box with the outside of his boot. William Carvalho, the midfield powerhouse, then opened up Germany's left flank with a piercing ball to Ricardo, who turned Dominique Heintz and teed up Sérgio Oliveira for a shot against a post.
It was a sign of things to come. Portugal had found their rhythm and they soon opened the floodgates with a lovely goal by Bernardo. Receiving a pass from William Carvalho, he delivered an instant flick to Ivan Cavaleiro while simultaneously spinning in behind Julian Korb. He was now away from Korb and free to receive Cavaleiro's return ball, step closer to goal and drill low past Marc-André ter Stegen at the near post.
It was Bernardo's corner that then led to the second goal eight minutes later, as Paulo Oliveira nodded on for Ricardo to finish at the far post. At this stage, Germany had still a glimmer of hope. Nico Schulz was wasteful with a shot on the rebound after José Sá had blocked Joshua Kimmich's low strike. Sá, beaten only once in four games, then made an even better save to push away a rising shot from Amin Younes but the contest was all but over on the stroke of half-time. From a Ricardo cross, João Mário teed up Cavaleiro to bury a shot high into the net – an emphatic finish in keeping with Portugal's superiority.
Horst Hrubesch responded by sending out Max Meyer, the Schalke playmaker dropped in place of Johannes Geis, but his introduction was in vain. Within 50 seconds of the restart, Portugal made it four. It was a goal that began with the easy feet of Bernardo, running at the Germany defence, and ended with João Mário's 20-metre strike clipping Heintz and flying past Ter Stegen.
Five minutes after the restart, Rui Jorge could afford to withdraw Bernardo – whose name was chanted as he left the field – but for Germany the punishment was not quite over. João Cancelo crossed for Ricardo Horta to flick in a fifth goal before German frustrations spilled over as substitute Leonardo Bittencourt was sent off after collecting a second yellow card.
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