U19 EURO: Portugal v Ireland Preview


U19 EURO: Portugal v Ireland Preview

It's down to the final four in the 2019 UEFA European Under-19 Championships with the Republic of Ireland taking on holders Portugal on Wednesday.
23rd Jul 2019

Nothing has come easy for Tom Mohan's squad throughout this campaign, yet they continue to show a resilient streak and advance forward.

Finishing second in Group B - behind France - has now propelled them into the semi-finals of this year's tournament.

Portugal v Republic of Ireland
Wednesday, 24 July
Banants Stadium, Yerevan
Kick-Off: 15:00 (Irish Time)
Live on TV: RTÉ2
Referee: Kristo Tohver (Estonia)

Both Lee O'Connor and Jonathan Afolabi are suspended due to two yellow cards accumulated in the group stages.

Republic of Ireland Head Coach Tom Mohan
"It is a tremendous achievement by the players to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA European Championships and they deserve a huge amount of credit in being one of the final four teams. However, we are not content with that as there is a place in the final up for grabs and we will do everything that we can to take that.

"We have an extra incentive when it comes to motivation to reach the final as the players, and staff, want to do it for both Lee O'Connor and Jonathan Afolabi, who are both suspended for our semi-final with Portugal. It is really disappointing for the two lads, who have been outstanding in every game for us, so we want to collectively do what we can so that Lee & Jonny get to play in the final.

"We are fully aware of the threat that Portugal pose. They won the tournament last year and we've seen their Elite Round qualifiers and their games in Armenia. There is no question that they are one of the strongest teams in this year's tournament and we will have to produce another massive performance to match them, but this group of players are not fazed by anyone and we have a lot of strengths too.

"One of the most pleasing aspects of this tournament so far has been the courage of the players to get on the ball whilst under pressure and adapt to playing against the different styles & systems of our opponents. Barry Coffey epitomised that by coming off the bench against Czech Republic and not only scoring the winning goal but contributing to the team performance and helping to execute our game-plan. The strength of our squad has been hugely important as everyone is making a valuable contribution.

"A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes, in terms of recovery and preparation, so we feel that we are ready for this game. The players have already done magnificently to reach this stage, but we want to go one better and get to the final now."

Wednesday, 24 July: Portugal v Republic of Ireland, Banants Stadium, KO 15:00 (Irish Time) - Live on RTÉ2

Monday, 15 July: Republic of Ireland 1-1 Norway, Yerevan FFA Stadium
Thursday, 18 July: Republic of Ireland 0-1 France, Banants Stadium, Yerevan
Sunday, 21 July: Republic of Ireland 2-1 Czech Republic, Yerevan FFA Stadium

Minutes Played
270 - Brian Maher, Andy Lyons, Oisin McEntee, Mark McGuinness, Lee O'Connor, Joe Hodge, Ali Reghba, Jonathan Afolabi
269 - Kameron Ledwidge
210 - Brandon Kavanagh
150 - Matt Everitt
61 - Jack James
60 - Barry Coffey
59 - Tyreik Wright
7 - Andrew Omobamidele 
2 - Festy Ebosele
1 - Conor Grant

Goals Scored
1 - Jonathan Afolabi, Barry Coffey, Joe Hodge

1 - Joe Hodge, Kameron Ledwidge

Yellow Cards
2 - Jonathan Afolabi, Lee O'Connor
1 - Joe Hodge, Ali Reghba

Goalkeepers: Brian Maher (St Patrick's Athletic), George McMahon (Burnley)
Defenders: Andy Lyons (Bohemians), Mark McGuinness (Arsenal), Oisin McEntee (Newcastle United), Andrew Omobamidele (Norwich City), Jack James (Unattached), Kameron Ledwidge (Southampton), Ciaran Brennan (Sheffield Wednesday)
Midfielders: Joe Hodge (Manchester City), Lee O'Connor (Manchester United), Barry Coffey (Celtic), Niall Morahan (Sligo Rovers), Brandon Kavanagh (Shamrock Rovers), Conor Grant (Sheffield Wednesday)
Forwards: Jonathan Afolabi (Unattached), Ali Reghba (Leicester City), Tyreik Wright (Aston Villa), Matt Everitt (Brighton & Hove Albion), Festy Ebosele (Derby County)

- Ireland have qualified for this tournament twice since it was regraded to Under-19 level - finishing fourth in 2002 under Brian Kerr and reaching the semi-finals in 2011 with Paul Doolin

- Before it was regraded to Under-19 level, Ireland won the tournament in 1998 when it was called the UEFA European Youth Championship

- Ireland were the only team to qualify having won their six games across the Qualifying Round and Elite Round

- In the last two years, where a number of the current players have been involved, Ireland have won nine, drew twice, and lost just once (to eventual European champions Portugal)

- Portugal are through to their fourth successive semi-final in this tournament (they have won four out of six semi-finals altogether)

- Last year's win in Finland sealed a fourth triumph for Portugal at this level, while they have finished as runners-up on eight occasions

- In qualification, Portugal received a bye through to the Elite Round where they beat Cyprus, Turkey and Scotland (scoring 10 goals and not conceding a single goal)

Game Hashtag: #PORIRL
Tournament Hashtag: #U19EURO
Ireland Team Hashtag: #IRLU19

- 54 nations entered into qualifying for this year's tournament, plus hosts Armenia
- With 370 goals scored in qualifying, there was an average of 3.08 goals per game
- Each team will be permitted five substitutions (maximum of three stoppages of play)
- Two groups of four teams will compete for the four Semi-Final spots on offer
- Group A consists of Armenia, Italy, Spain, and reigning champions Portugal
- The Semi-Finals will be played on 24 July, with the Final being staged on 27 July
- This is the 18th edition of this tournament (68th if Under-18 & Junior eras included)

Qualifying Round
10 October, 2018: Republic of Ireland 3-1 Bosnia & Herzegovina
13 October, 2018: Republic of Ireland 3-0 Faroe Islands
16 October, 2018: Republic of Ireland 2-1 Netherlands

Elite Round
20 March, 2019: Republic of Ireland 5-0 Romania
23 March, 2019: Republic of Ireland 3-1 Azerbaijan
26 March, 2019: Republic of Ireland 2-0 Russia