The rules say that any player born between 1997 and 2001 can play (I wasn’t aware that there was a lower limit too).
It’s just that Portugal’s ’98 generation is weak compared to the others.
The ’97 generation was under-17 Euro semifinalist in 2014, the ’99 won the under-17 Euro last year, and inbetween the ’98 generation couldn’t even qualify to the 2015 edition.
Then the ’97 generation was again semifinalist in the under-19 Euro last year, while the ’98 generation almost ruined the qualification for this year’s edition, they had to be rescued by several ’99 reinforcements.
The ’98 generation was basically “swallowed” by its limitations and the success of the surrounding ones.
And things shouldn’t get much better for them in the future.
They’ll have to go to a secondary event like the Toulon tournament or so and shine there to stand any chance of reentering the national coaches’ minds, which should always prefer successful players/teams over unsuccessful ones.
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