UEFA Under-19 EURO semi-finals to be played on Thursday

Portugal and Norway, Spain and Italy will be battling out for a place in the final of the UEFA European Under-19 Championship as the two semi-finals will be played on Thursday at the Tony Bezzina Stadium and the National Stadium respectively.

The first semi-final, in programme at the Tony Bezzina Stadium at 18:00, will see Group A winners Portugal face Group B runners-up Norway.

Portugal were the top seed in the tournament. They received a bye in the qualifying round, claiming maximum points from the Elite Round Group 4 thanks to a 1-0 win over Sweden and identical 3-0 wins over Czechia and Croatia. In the finals, they defeated Poland 2-0, Italy 5-1 and Malta 2-1.

They won the championship in 2018, reaching the finals eleven times.

Norway placed second in Group 10 in the qualifying round following a 2-0 win over San Marino and a 6-2 win over North Macedonia, followed by a 0-2 defeat to Serbia. However in the Elite Round Group 1, they claimed maximum points thanks to a 4-0 win over Romania, a 2-1 win over France and a 5-2 win over Northern Ireland. In the finals, they defeated Greece 5-4, drew 1-1 with Iceland and 0-0 with Spain.

They made it to the finals five times but this was the first time they reached this stage.

In the second-semi-final, in programme at the National Stadium at 21:00, Group B winners Spain face Group A runners-up Italy.

Spain won the competition eight times, the last time being in 2019, reaching the finals twelve times. In the qualifying round, they won Group 7 after defeating Albania 5-0 and a goalless draw with Belgium. In the Elite Round, they drew 0-0 with Denmark but then registered back-to-back 4-0 wins over Luxembourg and Ukraine. In the finals, they defeated Iceland 2-1 and Greece 5-0, being held in a goalless draw by Norway.

Italy, on the other hand, reached the finals eight times, winning the Under-19 EURO in 2003. They qualified to the Elite Round despite placing third in Group 5 after a 0-2 defeat to Estonia, a 3-2 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina and a 1-0 win over Poland. In the Elite Round Group 2, they defeated Germany 3-2, obtaining a 0-0 draw with Slovenia and a 2-2 draw with Belgium. In the finals, they defeated Malta 4-0, lost 1-5 to Portugal and then held Poland in a 1-1 draw to qualify thanks to a larger number of goals scored when compared to Poland.

The final will be played at the National Stadium on Sunday, kick-off at 21:00.