There are four teams left in the first ever Nations League tournament and Portugal has been chosen to host the conclusion of the ineugral competition. Which side will be lifting the Nations League trophy in Porto on Sunday?
05/06/19 – Portugal vs Switzerland
06/06/19 – Netherlands vs England
The winners of the two semi-finals will contest the final on Sunday 9th June at 7.45pm, before that there will be a third placed play-off between the two losing semi-finalists.
Portugal have the luxury of home advantage going into the semi-finals and they also have arguably the easier of the matches, coming up against a Switzerland team that are often hit and miss in big matches.
The Netherlands are a team on an upward curve after a tough few years and they play World Cup semi-finalists England on Thursday evening. It will be a meeting of a few familiar faces with the Dutch pair of Gini Wijnaldum and Virgil Van Dijk set to square up against Liverpool teammates Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The Euro 2016 winners will have been disappointed to only make it to the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia, and with Cristiano Ronaldo reaching the back-end of his career, they know time is running out for him to lift another trophy as Portugal captain. They do have some young exciting talent coming through their ranks though and Bernardo Silva goes into the Nations League semi-finals off the back of a fantastic season with Manchester City, where he won the Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup.
Portugal Key Man: Cristiano Ronaldo.
One to watch: Joao Felix.
Odds to win the Nations League: 7/4 – BET NOW.
Route to the semi-finals: Portugal had a tricky group containing Italy and Poland but made it through to the last four with eight points from a possible. They beat both sides in their first matches and they drew the return fixtures. That was enough to see them through after Italy dropped points with a draw against Poland.
Read More: See our Portugal vs Switzerland predictions for the first semi-final.
The ever growing footballing nation that is Switzerland would have been disappointed with their World Cup campaign in Russia – they should have beaten Sweden in the last 16 but put in a poor performance. They do have a good crop of players at the moment with Premier League representation coming from Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka of Arsenal. Both players are instrumental figures in the Swiss side and you never know what Switzerland side will turn up in games.
Switzerland Key Man: Granit Xhaka.
One to watch: Ricardo Rodriguez.
Odds to win the Nations League: 7/1 – BET NOW.
Route to the semi-finals: Switzerland needed a win against Belgium in their last match of the group to qualify for the finals, and what a performance they put in. They ran out 5-2 winners against the World Cup semi-finalists to leave Roberto Martinez’ men stunned. That put the Swiss through on goal difference to this week’s meeting with Portugal.
The Dutch have had a troubled few years on the international stage, failing to qualify for both Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018, bit now Ronaldo Koeman seems to have got better players at his disposal and he has a good spine to build the team around. Virgil Van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt form a fantastic defensive base and the likes of Memphis Depay, Donny van de Beek and Frenkie De Jong provide great excitement going forward.
Netherlands Key Man: Virgil Van Dijk
One to watch: Frenkie De Jong
Odds to win the Nations League: 11/4 – BET NOW.
Route to the semi-finals: Holland had the toughest group to negotiate going into this tournament, and they were the outsiders to qualify ahead of Germany and World Cup winners France, however some fantastic performances by themselves, and some poor displays from the other two teams ensured the Dutch made it through. They did however, need two very late goals in their final match against Germany to get the point they needed, Van Dijk getting the vital equaliser in injury time.
England’s run in the World Cup was widely applauded but they are unlikely to get a better chance to get to a major final for a long time. However, this young group of players that Gareth Southgate has put together play exciting football and they have reconnected with the England fans. Winning the Nations League would be a great learning curve for the youngsters such as Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford but they’ll have to get past the Dutch first.
England’s Key Man: Raheem Sterling
One to watch: Jadon Sancho
Odds to win the Europa League: 15/8 – BET NOW.
Route to the semi-finals: England were expected to find it tough in a group containing Spain and World Cup finalists Croatia, but they put up two great performances away from home, more so a 3-2 win in Spain, to set themselves up for a final game shoot-out against Croatia. They needed to win the match but were 1-0 down as the match entered the final stages. Jesse Lingard then tapped in from close range before captain Harry Kane got the winner with a few minutes left.
Read More: See our Netherlands vs England predictions for Thursday’s semi-final in the Nations League.
Home advantage makes Portugal worthy favourites to win the Nations League. They have the easiest of the semi-finals, on paper at least, and both Netherlands and England had key men playing 90 minutes in the Champions League final on Saturday. Playing their semi-final on Thursday is a disadvantage because Portugal will get an extra days rest and the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva can guide their side to another international trophy, three years after winning the European Championships.
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