After being defeated by Russia in the Euro qualifiers, Portugal was drafted by UEFA to play the competition in England (6-31 July) after Russian teams were disqualified due to the war in Ukraine. Focus on a young team playing only their second international competition.
A few seconds after their defeat to Russia, during the play-off of the European Women’s Championship, the women’s team in Portugal had no idea that the summer would be prolonged. Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UEFA decided to strike hard by excluding all Russian picks and teams from its competitions. Such was the case for Sbornaya, who was initially placed in Group C with the Netherlands, Switzerland and Sweden for the competition that will begin on July 6 in England.
So Francisco Neto’s team learned of its draft through a press release. “We would have replaced our presence at Euro 2022 with a world without war and without the horrific events we saw on television: bombings, deaths, children and women, entire families suffering and fleeing. When the news came, the Portuguese coach replied, “No one is indifferent.”
The team is constantly growing
If the qualification conditions were not those hoped for, the state welcomed this news with a big smile. “Portugal remains a very big football nation, assures Angeline da Costa, French-Portuguese U-23 player and midfielder for Torres, at RMC Sport. Even if the women’s team does not have a superstar like Cristiano Ronaldo on the boys’ team, the results are not Still very popular Women’s football has experienced strong growth in the country over the past decade At the end of March nearly 7,800 players were licensed according to data from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), an increase of 72% compared to the 2011/2012 season.
The Fifa invited clubs to form professional teams in 2016 and established several competitions to improve the quality of the practice. Since then, all major Portuguese clubs, with the exception of FC Porto, have had a women’s team: Sporting Portugal, Benfica Lisbon and Sporting Braga.
The experience is also not the same between the two choices. While the boys won the Euro in 2016, the girls are only participating in their second international competition, after the 2017 edition, which ended in the pools. “The girls have nothing to lose. This is an opportunity to confront the major nations in order to find out what is missing to take to the next level,” continues the Montauban native, in Tarn and Garonne.
Against Switzerland (July 9), the Netherlands (13) and Sweden (17), Coinas, the 29th country in the FIFA rankings, has a strong pool with the Dutch defending champion and the Swedish deputy Olympic champion. “This group does not lack much to pass the course. In recent years, the mentality has changed, and there is a real control over the selection. Portuguese football represents the football of the future, knowing that it is a nation that does not start from much. Today, the results are visible among the youth, and the plan remains The game is the same from one category to another, allowing players not to get lost.Last February, the girls of Francisco Neto managed to beat Norway in the Algarve Cup (0-2).
Kika Nazareth, the solid block to follow
In an attempt to create a surprise in England, the Portuguese coach relies on a group made up mainly of local players, with the exception of Tatiana Pinto (Levante) and Ines Pereira (Servette). The group is also relatively small and Angeline Da Costa was able to meet some of them at U23. “Kika Nazareth (Benfica) is really amazing. Despite her young age (19), she has managed to make big Champions League matches against Lyon this season (despite two group stage defeats against future European champions, editor’s note). In Midfielder, Andrea Norton (25, Braga) was voted Player of the Season which is very important to the group.
The effect of the selection for the coming years also goes through performance at the club, particularly in the Champions League, with the hope of achieving maturity. But Portuguese clubs are very poorly represented in the queen of competitions. Since the new formula was implemented last season, only the champions can participate and must pass two qualifying rounds to reach the group stage, which includes 16 teams. “The coaches look at the high level, as well as the players who play in the Champions League. The more Portuguese people are in the European Cup, the more experience they have,” adds the former player from Brest and Soyux.
After two victories over Greece (4-0, 1-0) and a draw with Australia, the Alcuinas are ready to enter the Wigan circuit, on July 9 against Switzerland, to continue writing their history.
Goalkeepers: Ines Pereira (Servette), Patricia Moraes (Braga), Rut Costa (Famalicao).
Defenders: Alicia Correa (Sporting Lisbon), Carroll (Benfica), Catarina Amado (Benfica), Diana Gomez (Braga), Joanna Marchao (Sporting Lisbon), Mariana Azevedo (Famalicao), Silvia Rebelo (Benfica).
Midfielders: Andrea Norton (Braga), Andrea Jacinto (Sporting Lisbon), Andrea Faria (Benfica), Dolores Silva (Braga), Fatma Pinto (Sporting Lisbon), Kika Nazareth (Benfica), Tatiana Pinto (Levante), Vanessa Marquez ( Braga). )).
Forwards: Ana Borges (Sporting CP), Carolina Mendes (Braga), Diana Silva (Sporting CP), Jessica Silva (Benfica), Thelma Encarnacao (Maritimo).