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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
Portugal demolish England
Makukula of Portugal scores from the penalty spot
Despite winning comfortably Portugal failed to qualify

Portugal 3-1 England Group A, European Under-21 Championship

England Under-21s crashed out of the European Championships after being outclassed by Portugal in Zurich.

Portugal had managed just a point from their previous two games and made seven changes for this game, but at times coach Agostinho Oliveira's side overran England with some impressive play.


If you start games badly it costs you
England Under-21 captain David Dunn

Within 20 minutes the Portuguese were two goals ahead through Filipe Teixeira and Aziza Makukula and were completely in control of the game thanks to Pedro Mendes and Hugo Viana's grip of the midfield.

After England had restored a degree of parity the coup de grace was applied by Viana - the game's outstanding player - on 69 minutes when he cleverly scored with an angled shot.

On this display it comes as no suprise that Viana is joining the senior squad for the World Cup finals as a replacement for Daniel Kenedy, who has failed a drugs test.

England's defeat - a draw would have given them a place in the last four - saw Italy and Switzerland, who shared a goalless draw in the other Group A game, progress to the semi-finals.

  Group A points
Italy - 5
Switzerland - 4
Portugal - 4
Engalnd - 3

So lacklustre were England - Portugal's goalkeeper Sergio Leite was barely troubled in the opening half hour - that coach David Platt replaced Jonathan Greening with Shola Ameobi on 30 minutes.

Lavish servings

After adjusting to the game's tempo the Newcastle's striker began to galvanise the English attack.

First he contrived England's best chance of the opening half when after a mazy run he struck a shot into the side netting.

Then just before the interval Ameobi intelligently fed the ball to Alan Smith, who turned and struck the ball past Leite.

Soon after the restart Smith almost drew level, when after being released by David Prutton, his left-foot shot went just past the post.

Even so Smith, Ameobi and Jermain Defoe had to content themselves with mere scraps in contrast to the lavish servings Mendes and Hugo Viana contrived to serve up to the Portuguese forwards.

Within the first five minutes of the game Portugal had gone close through Viana and Neca.

Alan Smith scores for England against Portugal
Smith was one of England's better performers

England survived those two scares but not the third when the Portuguese went ahead with a superbly worked goal.

Semedo crossed from the right, Neca cushioned the ball to Filipe Teixeira, who crashed a half-volley exquisitely home, with a strike that Eusebio would have been proud of.

Paul Konchesky had problems containing Semedo's surging runs down the right and in the 20th minute the Charlton defender lunged once too often to give away the penalty.

Makukula made no mistake as he sent the ball into the corner of the net past Robinson.


England U21: Robinson, Young, Konchesky, Barry, Knight, Dunn, Greening, Pennant, Prutton, Defoe, Smith. Subs: Martin Taylor, Christie, Riggott, Jenas, Parker, Crouch, Zamora, Ameobi, Stuart Taylor, Howarth.

Portugal U21: Leite, Faisca, Tonel, Ribeiro, Viana, Teixeira, Alves, Mendes, Semedo, Neca, Makacula. Subs: Briguel, Ednilson, Candido Costa, Postiga, Paulo Costa, Alhandra, Miguel, Ferreira, Marcio Santos, Ivo.

Referee: E Ersoy (Turkey).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Mike Sewell
"Portugal suffocated England"
England U-21 boss David Platt
"Portugal were very sharp"

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Platt's young lions

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