Portugal wins to set up U-20 Word Cup final against Brazil

AP, Thursday 18 Aug 2011

Portugal will meet Brazil in the Under-20s World Cup final to take place in Bogota, 20 years after they last met in the tournament final

Portugal vs France

Portugal defeated France 2-0 on Wednesday in Medellin with its stout defence and goalkeeper Mika, registering their sixth straight clean sheet in the three-and-a-half week tournament.

“I don’t know of any team that has gone into a final without giving up a goal,” Portugal coach Ilidio Vale said. “This needs to be appreciated. We’ve had a great World Cup and we scored two goals today to answer critics who said we could not score.”

Vale brushed off suggestions that his team, which has only scored five goals, does not belong in the final. “The team plays with great organisation, great heart and it plays smart,” he said.

In the other semifinal, Henrique scored twice in the last 10 minutes to lift Brazil to a 2-0 victory over Mexico in Pereira. Henrique has five goals and shares the tournament scoring lead with Alvaro Vazquez of Spain.

Brazil has scored a tournament-best 15 goals so far. Philippe Coutinho and Dudu have three each.

Henrique scored with a header in the 80th minute and then slotted home an eight-yard shot from a cross for an insurance goal.

“In all games of the tournament we have used a strategy of trying to wear down the opponent,” Brazil coach Ney Franco said. “In the second half we have sent in better technical players to finish the job.”

Brazil will be chasing its fifth U-20 title and Portugal will be after its third when the teams clash in Colombia’s capital of Bogota. Brazil lost the final two years ago to Ghana in Egypt.

Saturday’s game will come 20 years after the last U-20 final between former colony and coloniser, which Portugal won on penalties with a team that boasted Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Joao Pinto.

In the first semifinal, Danilo gave Portugal a 1-0 lead on a leaping header in the ninth minute, and Nelson Oliveira made it 2-0 on a penalty in the 40th. France was in the U-20 semifinals for the first time.

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