The UEFA Nations League is an international football tournament participated by the men’s senior national teams of UEFA member associations. The tournament will be held every two years with last year’s 2018 UEFA National League the first installment of the competition.
The inaugural 2018-19 UEFA Nations League began with a League phase from September 6, 2018, to November 20, 2018, and the four group winners from League A will play in the Nations League Finals which is scheduled for June 5-6, 2019.
Host Portugal will take on Switzerland in the first semifinal match on June 5, 2019, at the Estádio do Dragão, Porto while England faces the Netherlands on June 6, 2019, at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques, Guimarães. The winners of both matches will face off in Porto on June 9th to determine who lifts the 7.5 kg sterling silver trophy for the first time ever.
England followed up its successful stint at the 2018 FIFA World Cup by topping Group 4 and picking up a win over World Cup runners-up Croatia. The English finished with a record of 2-1-1 for a total of 7 points with six goals scored and five allowed to enter the semifinals stage.
- Goalkeepers – Jack Butland, Tom Heaton, Jordan Pickford
- Defenders – Trent Alexander, Ben Chilwell, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker
- Midfielders – Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Nathan Redmond, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse, Harry Winks
- Strikers – Harry Keane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson
Odds from Mybookie.ag as of 5/25/19
The Netherlands were in what was arguably the toughest group of the competition along with France and Germany and in a surprise that not many expected, they were able to win the group after finishing with seven points on two wins, one loss and one draw with eight goals scored and four allowed or a +4 goal difference.
- Goalkeepers – Marko Bizot, Jasper Cillessen, Kenneth Vermeer, Jeroen Zoet
- Defenders – Patrick van Aanholt, Nathan Ake, Daley Blind, Stefan de Vrij, Denzel Dumfries, Terence Kongolo, Matthijs de Ligt, Kenny Tete, Virgil Van Dijk
- Midfielders – Steven Berghuis, Frenkie de Jong, Marten de Roon, Davy Propper, Pablo Rosario, Kevin Strootman, Donny van de Beek, Tonny Vilhena, Georginio Wijnaldum
- Strikers – Ryan Babel, Steven Bergwijn, Luuk de Jong, Memphis Depay, Quincy Promes, Wout Weghorst
There are similarities between these two team. With a mix of young players coming through and experienced senior players, this is a game between teams who play similarly. Southgate has given opportunities and confidence to his young players but it’s the same with Holland and Koeman.
With The Dutch in disarray recently, they missed several big tournaments including the 2018 World Cup. Their current team doesn’t have the star power of the previous generations but Koeman has fine-tuned the team to the strengths of his players and that has worked wonders for them.
Holland adapted a counter-attacking style that depends on the Virgil van Dijk-led defense and the speed of Ryan Babel, Memphis Depay and Quincy Promes up front. It has worked wonders for the Netherlands as they were able to surprise both Germany and France to win the toughest group in the tournament.
On the other hand, England arguably has the best team among the four nations left plus they are the betting favorites in this match. And the team enters this game with plenty of confidence after a successful 2018 FIFA World Cup bid. Making the final four was such a big achievement and not only did it help Southgate’s team grow as a team but it rallied the entire nation behind them.
Players like Harry Keane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli, and Marcus Rashford are proven names at the highest level of the sport. With more than enough backing at the other positions, the English side has more than enough talent and depth to bring home the trophy.
With youth, talent and desire, this team believes it can win it all and more. England has faltered so many times before and has failed to live up to expectations but the times may be about to change. What they achieved last summer in Russia and topping World Cup runners-up Croatia in Group 4 of this competition were certainly no flukes. With their sites set at the bigger goal at hand in the 2020 European Championships, I expect England to be at their best and win this match and the tournament to start a winning culture but without looking too far ahead. Prediction: England