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Tuesday, June 08, 2004 

Portugal earn Athens adventure



A sparkling display from winger Danny saw Portugal edge a pulsating match against Sweden 3-2 to claim third place in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship and entry into this summer's Olympic Games men's football tournament.

Dramatic game
Swedish captain Johan Emander became the tournament's leading scorer as he registered on the stroke of half-time. Hugo Viana and Jorge Ribeiro turned the game in the second half, and although Markus Rosenberg came on to equalise in added time, Carlitos - set up by Danny - saw Portugal home near the end of the extra half-hour.

Banned players return
Sweden were without injured centre-back Martin Andersson while Boswinga's suspension for Portugal was cancelled out by the return of Raúl Meireles, Carlos Martins and strikers Lourenço and Hugo Almeida, who all missed their semi-final loss against Italy.

Danny dazzles
The match sprang into life in the third minute as Danny set off on a dazzling 40-metre run that ended with his goal-bound shot being blocked. Moments later Swedish goalkeeper Johan Wiland was then called into action to deny Martins and Lourenço.

Goalline clearance
Sweden defended deep and in numbers to withstand the early onslaught and nearly snatched the lead against the run of play on when Jon Jönsson's deflected shot was headed off the line by Miguel Garcia.

Sweden ahead
But Sweden only needed one more chance as Emander picked up on a slide-rule pass from Haralampos Stefanidis in the 45th minute to score his fourth goal of the finals. Portugal could still have nicked an equaliser before the break, but Lourenço twice missed golden opportunities.

Andersson unlucky
Johan Andersson nearly doubled Sweden’s lead six minutes after the restart, but he was unlucky to see his lob over goalkeeper Moreira bounce in front of goal and above the bar. Stefan Ishizaki then saw a free-kick saved.

Woodwork hit
Carlitos had Wilands beaten at the other end as his ferocious 30-metre shot on the hour mark clipped the top of the bar, and Elmander nearly doubled his tally by poking a shot wide as the tempo picked up.

Games turns
But with 14 minutes of normal time remaining Portugal drew level as Danny was tripped in the area by Sweden's hero Elmander and substitute Hugo Viana stepped up to convert. More good work by Danny gave Portugal the lead as he teed up Jorge Ribeiro, who sent an angled drive into the corner of the net.

Late equaliser
Sweden looked to be heading for defeat, but with seconds of normal time remaining, substitute Markus Rosenberg latched on to Per Nilsson’s knock-down and ensured an extra 30 minutes.

Carlitos winner
Mikael Antonsson went close for Sweden in the first period of extra-time, but saw his glancing header slide agonisingly wide. It was Danny again who was the difference between the two sides as his run set up Carlitos with the easiest of finishes. Portugal join U21 finalists Italy and Serbia and Montenegro and hosts Greece at the Olympics.

Source: Uefa.com

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