UEFA Nations League Predictions & Preview – Portugal vs Netherlands
We have UEFA Nations League Predictions for the final between Portugal and Netherlands.
The Nations League has been a marvellous inclusion into the world of international football. The days of pointless friendly’s that have plagued the football calendar for so long are now a thing of the past, and fans’ have quickly understood that the Nations League is a competition that teams are taking seriously.
However, there can only be one winner and after two hard-fought semi-finals; the inaugural winners will either be the Netherlands or Portugal.
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Tournament hosts Portugal kicked off the tournament by taking on a Swiss side that had beaten Belgium en route to this stage. However, once again, there were two big takeaways from the game, and neither of them was hugely surprising.
Firstly, VAR. The technology once again threatened to be the centre of attention in the semi-final, as, within seconds of giving a penalty to Portugal, the decision was overturned to give a penalty to Switzerland.
Is it working? Of course, the right decision was eventually made, but the argument whether it is adding to the sport is down to whether your team is playing and if you’re in attendance. If the answer to both of those is no, then yes it has added a new element to the drama that unfolds on the football field.
The second takeaway, and less surprisingly; the star of the show was Cristiano Ronaldo. It certainly wasn’t the first time, and it definitely won’t be the last.
The stage was set for Ronaldo to lead his country to a second major trophy in four years and he duly lived up to the bill. The number seven scored a brilliant hat-trick; including two in the final five minutes to avoid the risk of extra-time following the VAR drama that led to the Swiss equaliser.
There isn’t a player in world football that you would rather have to drag your country through challenging circumstances.
While Wednesday was all about Ronaldo’s brilliance; Thursday was a night full of defensive mistakes, and ultimately it was a case of the Dutch making less fatal errors than England. The Three Lions went ahead when Matthijs de Ligt allowed the ball to roll under his foot before bringing down Marcus Rashford for an England Penalty.
Rashford duly obliged and put his side ahead. However, de Ligt soon made up for his mishap by putting Holland ahead with a powerful header. There was more VAR drama last in regular time as Jesse Lingard had thought he had put England through to the final; only for the VAR to adjudge the England man offside and the goal disallowed.
The extra time period was a 30-minute spell that all the England players would like to forget in a hurry. First, John Stones was caught on the ball which allowed Memphis Depay to pick his pocket before the ball eventually crossed the line off the foot of Kyle Walker.
Then, early in the second period, Stones again played a suicidal pass that was poorly controlled by Ross Barkley into the path of Depay who unselfishly squared the ball to Quincy Pommes to wrap up the tie for the Dutch.
UEFA Nations League Predictions
This will be an exciting matchup; with Ronaldo once again coming up against de Ligt just months after Ajax knocked Juventus out of the Champions League.
How the Dutch deal with Ronaldo will ultimately decide if they will win. If Virgil van Dijk and de Ligt deal with Ronaldo effectively, then the press that the Netherlands employs will cause no end of trouble for Portugal.
UEFA Nations League Predictions: The Netherlands to win the Nations League @ BetOnline