Not since 1988 has UEFA's junior national team tournament been won by the hosts. In the 2002/03 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, however, Portugal made full use of home advantage.
The 2002 finals had opened with a 4-4 thriller, and the first match this time was also high scoring between Denmark and the hosts. In the last eight minutes of the first half, Portugal trailed 1-0, led 2-1 and were pegged back to 2-2, before 53rd-minute substitute Manuel Corto scored the winner for the home nation with his first touch. In the other Group A game, Austria beat Hungary 1-0, while in Group B England defeated Israel 2-1 and Spain overcame Italy 2-0. Portugal were through as group winners after Matchday 2 as they defeated Austria 1-0 and Denmark claimed a 2-0 win against Hungary, whose hopes ended. In Group B Spain saw off Israel 3-0 to reach the semi-finals and England's game with Italy ended goalless.
A 2-0 win against Hungary kept up Portugal's perfect record two days later, and Austria followed them into the semi-finals with a 2-0 win against Denmark thanks to goals from Patrick Mayer and Daniel Horvath. England needed only a point against Spain to advance from Group B, and after trailing 2-0 at the break John Peacock’s side fought back to draw, meaning Italy’s 4-0 win against Israel was in vain.
Spain, who had won a record six U16 titles, made up for their defeat in the 2002 semi-finals by defeating Austria 5-2. David scored four times in the match on his way to a tournament-leading six goals. The other encounter between Portugal and England proved much closer. Dean Bowditch put England ahead on eight minutes but Adelino Freitas swiftly levelled. James Milner made it 2-1 in the 21st minute only for Portugal substitute Saleiro to head an added-time equaliser. Penalties ensued, and Grant Leadbitter's miss put the hosts through to set up an all-Iberian final.
There was more heartbreak for England in the third-place play-off when Daniel Pirker's 53rd-minute goal gave Austria a 1-0 win. Then in front of 9,000 fans in Viseu, Márcio Sousa gave Portugal the half-time lead in the final, and although David equalised two minutes after the break, Sousa struck again five minutes later to seal victory for Portugal.
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