Portugal wins to set up U20 final against Brazil
Medellin: Portugal will meet Brazil in an Under-20 World Cup final which will feature the tournament`s best defensive team against its most potent attacking combination.
Portugal defeated France 2-0 in Medellin with its stout defence and goalkeeper Mika registering their sixth straight clean sheet in the 3½-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 organization, 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 8-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 previous Under-20 final between former colony and colonizer, 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 9th 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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