Portugal U19s cruise into semi-final of the European Championship after victory over Finland
Portugal earned their second victory of the under-19 European Championship, and a space in the last four of the tournament, after a 3-0 thrashing of host nation Finland.
Portugal finished the group in second place, only behind Italy, who they lost against 3-2 in an enthralling encounter which saw Portugal's Diogo Queiros sent off in the 9th minute.
But against Finland, Portugal had no such problems, and got off to a glorious start after Benfica's João Filipe curled in a great free-kick on the 20th minute, taking advantage of the Finland defensive wall failing to jump.
João Filipe was then heavily involved in Portugal's second goal, summing up his outstanding performance on the night, capitalising on some complacent defending to then dink the ball into the box, where his international and club teammate Jose Gomes was waiting to nod home.
Having taken a 2-0 lead just past the half hour mark, Portugal were in full control of the match, showing that they were perhaps just a class above the opposition on the night, and Wolves' teenage left-back Ruben Vinagre was no doubt one of the top performers with his energy on the wing and his attacking prowess from his defensive position, getting down the flank with great regularity and creating enough opportunities to truly put the game to bed.
But it was that man João Filipe again who was able to play a hand in the third and final goal, picking up a glorious through-ball to then unselfishly slide through Mésaque Djú, who had the simple task of putting the ball into the empty net, putting Portugal 3-0 up.
With Benfica's young star Filipe involved in each of the goals, he was undeniably the top performer on the day, but with fellow Benfica duo Djú and Gomes joining him on the scoresheet, it also meant that Benfica were very well represented overall, laying claim to every goal scored and showing the spectacular talent currently emerging through the Lisbon club's esteemed academy.
Portugal's opposition in the semi-final is yet to be determined, with England, Ukraine and France still battling it out to claim top spot in the other group. But they will take great confidence into the next match regardless of the opponent after a very strong showing in the group stage.
By finishing in the top two, Portugal also know that they have qualified for the 2019 U20 FIFA World Cup, the fifth time in a row Portugal have been represented in the World Cup at this youth level, the most of all European teams and second only to Uruguay.
PORTUGAL XI: Diogo Costa; David Carmo, Romain Correia, Thierry Correia, Ruben Vinagre; Florentino Luis, Miguel Luis, Quina; Francisco Trincão, João Filipe, Ze Gomes. SUBS: Mésaque Djú, Francisco Moura.