Home Irish Football Resilient Ireland Fall To Ruthless Portugal In Euro U19s Semi-Final

Resilient Ireland Fall To Ruthless Portugal In Euro U19s Semi-Final

Ireland’s U19s fell to a ruthless Portuguese side losing 4-0 in the semi-finals of the European Championships in Armenia on Wednesday afternoon.

Tom Mohan’s men reached the last four of the tournament following a strong victory over the Czech Republic on Sunday thanks to a late goal from Barry Coffey, but it was clear from the off that the challenge of the reigning European champions would be a step up in quality.

The Portuguese dominated the early exchanges with the movement of the likes of Joao Mario and Manchester City’s Felix Correia causing Ireland difficulties in the heat in Yerevan.

Ireland set-up defensively as expected and managed the challenge well, Fabio Viera striking the ball just wide of captain Brian Maher’s goal, their best opening in the first 20 minutes.

It was on the half-hour mark, however, that the game truly sparked into life, left-back Kameron Ledwidge, who had been strong in the opening 30 minutes, failed to fully clear the ball and it found its way to Mario, whose smart turn deceived Joe Hodge as the Man City man caught his trailing leg and conceded a penalty.

The Portuguese captain Vitor Ferreira calmly and casually slotted the ball into the Irish net to give Portugal a lead they unquestionably deserved.

Mohan’s men, however, refused to lay down and were inches away from finding the ideal response after Ali Reghba’s wonderful hold-up play led to a ball across the box falling into the path of Coffey, whose strike was sensationally blocked by Costinha on the line.

From the resulting corner, Ireland again put the pressure on and Ledwidge’s cross from the left was met by Mark McGuinness however the Arsenal man couldn’t keep his strike down as it cannoned off the crossbar.

Ireland’s tails were up as the half wore on with Ali Reghba, replacing the suspended Jonathan Afolabi for this game, looking impressive as an outlet up top.

Portugal’s quality, however, was evident for all to see and they grabbed their second in stoppage time of the first half as Maher couldn’t reach Ferreira’s cross into the box and it struck the bar before falling to Goncalo Ramos to easily tap home.

Ireland started resiliently in the second half and did an excellent job of disrupting the Portuguese flow from the first half, with their defence showing vulnerabilities on occasion.

As they did in the opening 45 minutes though, Portugal were ruthless in punishing Irish errors, this time it was Joe Hodge who lost possession as the ball found its way to the clinical Ramos in the box and he found the net for his second of the game.

From there Ireland pushed for a goal they would have certainly deserved but Portugal looked comfortable as they grabbed their fourth in stoppage time thanks to Ramos’ hattrick as he continued to show why he is one of the competition’s most sought after commodities.

About Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com