João Filipe - remember the name: Five Portuguese players at the U19 European Championship that proved they are destined for greatness
Portugal's under-19s battled to an extraordinary 4-3 victory against Italy in the European Championship final, a fitting end to a stunning tournament for the young Seleção stars, who stormed through each round in style, scoring 16 goals in just 5 games en route to lifting the title in Finland.
And this was no unexpected dream for this highly talented Portugal side; having already seen this same generation of players lift the U17 European Championship title just two year earlier, optimism was high in the nation at the thought of witnessing this young side fulfil the ambitious objective of holding both the U17 and U19 Euros titles at the same time, with the quality the squad possesses clear for all to see.
Composed on the ball, technically sound and a few individual stars; this group has something incredibly special about them, and this monumental European success only confirms that this may be yet another 'Golden Generation' in Portugal's footballing history.
And it should also be pointed out that this was, in many people's eyes, far from Portugal's strongest possible squad, with Benfica duo João Felix and Gedson Fernandes not included in the squad, in addition to ex-Sporting striker Rafael Leão and new Manchester United right-back Diogo Dalot, making Portugal's success even more impressive and the nation's footballing future even more promising.
But who were some of the stand-out performers in what was a simply outstanding team? Here, we detail 5 of the biggest prospects within the squad who took their game to new heights this tournament and will likely be making big-money moves in the years to come.
1. João Filipe (Benfica):
There is no better place to start than with Benfica's young starlet João "Jota" Filipe, who dazzled and shone like no other at the competition and was simply a joy to behold from beginning to end. Involved in practically every goal Portugal scored in one way or another - whether it was scoring, assisting or starting off a promising attack - Filipe was practically at the centre of everything Portugal did and was the source of inspiration on so many occasions.
As Benfica fans know so well, Filipe is most certainly one of the stars of the future, not just domestically, not just for the national team, but in all of world football. It's not so much a question of if he will leave Benfica, but, quite depressingly for fans of the Lisbon giants, when. The sad truth of the matter is that Filipe's years at Benfica are most certainly numbered. Having seen so much talent leave the Estadio da Luz well before they reach their peak level, Filipe will simply be the latest in a long line to outgrow the Portuguese league and want to test himself amongst the very best in Europe.
However, in what may come as a surprise to many, Filipe is yet to actually play a game for Benfica's senior team, something that may be difficult to understand, particularly off the back of such a stunning Euro U19 campaign.
Indeed, more often than not, he looked streets ahead of the rest of his competitors in this tournament, in a league of his own as he performed at a level well beyond what his years would suggest. Tenacious, determined, skilful, quick, technically-gifted, an eye for goal - he quite literally does, with minimal exaggeration, have it all, and will one day, in the not-too-distant future, become a household name to football fans all across Europe as his stock and reputation inevitably rise together in perfect harmony in the coming seasons as his career at club level is taken to an entirely different level.
His undoubted natural talent and ability is one thing, but what also makes Filipe so impressive is that he seems to knows exactly how to utilise his attributes in the most effective way possible, ensuring his impact on every game is both easily identifiable and admirable. Running at defenders for fun, drifting across the front line, cutting inside - his decision-making and work ethic are vital in his game, separating him from the rest of the field and ensuring he is easily noticeable in every match he plays.
João Filipe - remember the name, you will not regret it. He is, unmistakably, destined for greatness.
2. Francisco Trincão (Braga)
As always seems to be the case with Portuguese sides, there never seems to be a lack of skilful, technically-gifted attacking players in the ranks, and this generation is most certainly no excpetion to the rule. Francisco Trincão, one of the most exciting players ever seen emerge through Braga's ranks, is another young Portuguese talent that is, unquestionably, a star in the making.
Indeed, his five goals scored this tournament meant that he was, with João Filipe, named as the tournament's joint top scorer, with the two Portuguese forwards scoring for fun and toying with opposition defences with great regularity.
It is therefore no wonder that Juventus are interested in bringing the 18-year old double European Champion to Turin this summer; at such a young age - even younger than his compatriot Joao Filipe - it is very rare to see a player have the footballing intelligence to make use of their exceptional raw ability in the manner in which he so effortlessly seems to, and it could prove incredibly smart business for the Italian club, with Trincão's current contract containing a release clause that few of the top clubs in world football would have a problem paying. At just 15 million euros, there is a great chance for a club to swoop in and pinch one of Europe's finest for an absolute bargain.
While perhaps not quite as polished overall as Filipe, not possessing as much obvious flair and skill his compatriot demonstrates game after game, Trincão does still have some way to go to live up to the huge expectations the nation now have for him, but this tournament will have done him a world of good and, if he does now go on to get some game time at Braga this season, we could still see even more to come from the creative winger.
3. Ruben Vinagre (Wolves)
Widely regarded as Portugal's future international leftback in the making, Ruben Vinagre's stamina and energy on the left-hand side every time he enters the pitch is simply stunning. Indeed, over the last couple of years, his attacking prowess and willingness to get forward at every opportunity from his deep starting position have been praised and admired by fans and pundits alike, and at the U19 Euros it was certainly no different.
A constant threat on the overlap, Vinagre possesses the skill, pace and confidence to take on the opposition full back with great regularity - and typically comes out on top. Requiring no invitation to charge upfield, and with his quick feet and silky dribbling to boot, Vinagre is the perfect embodiment of what it entails to make it as a modern-day full-back, striding forward to help in attack whenever possible, while also possessing the work-rate to track back to fulfil his defensive duties.
It is therefore no wonder that he played every minute of every game at these U19 European Championships, and is likely one of the first names on the team sheet for every international break. Indeed, Wolves have done some miraculous business over the past 18 months, and the signing of Vinagre is perhaps one of the most impressive of them all. With the former Monaco player undoubtedly one of the greatest left-backs for his age group in world football, he could find himself being given a fair few opportunities for the newly-promoted Premier League side this year, which would do wonders for his development.
Where his future will take him is difficult to say, with his potential no doubt sufficient to end up playing for one of the greatest sides in the continent, and his career is definitely one to keep an eye on.
4. Domingos Quina (West Ham)
Domingos Quina was most certainly another player to do no harm to his ever-increasing reputation, with his performances for Portugal amongst the best witnessed at this year's U19 championship.
Incredibly technical, composed on the ball and with an admirable work-rate in the centre of midfield, West Ham's 18-year old is another to keep a very close eye on as the years role by.
Indeed, it is no wonder that Spanish giants Barcelona have been watching the young star with great interest in recent times, having seen Quina deliver two man-of-the-match performances in the group stage at the U19 tournament, with his athleticism and ability to get up and down the pitch simply stunning for someone in his age bracket, and it's testament to his dedication to the sport.
However, having yet to garner any significant game time at West Ham, he still has a long way to go to fulfil his undoubted potential and will be hoping to get more senior game time over the next couple of seasons to take his development to the next level.
5. Florentino Luis (Benfica)
Another big prospect, another Benfica academy product. Florentino Luis, 18, showed what he is capable of at the U19 European Championship, demonstrating his composure, strength and passing ability, all while functioning as a very effective defensive midfielder.
With good tackling and reading of the game also in his locker, Luis fits the bill of a deep-lying playmaker, able to cover for the defenders while also contributing creativity to launch an attack. With him in midfield, Portugal always look like they are in control of the game.
Still only 18 year old though, Luis is yet to play for Benfica, but his debut for the senior side is surely not too far off, having now proven himself at every international youth category available to him.