Nations League Final
Portugal won the first UEFA Nations League by beating Holland 1-0 at home, at Porto’s Estadio do Dragao.
The Dutch had failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia and were in decline until a new batch of Ajax bred youngsters and other rising or in form players were blended together by new national coach Ronald Koeman. Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Daley Blind formed the core of Ajax’s surprise Champions League semi final team. They are joined by in form players like Memphis Depay (Lyon), Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool).
Portugal came off a disappointing World Cup that followed their Euro 2016 win in France. With Ronaldo still pulling the strings and rescuing the team but joined by new and risings in Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes.
The game start well for the Dutch but soon became one mostly controlled by the Portuguese. The hosts managed to gain control of the midfield with Danilo adding extra midfield spine and mostly handcuffing the likes of de Jong. The Dutch were forced to use the wings but were unable to penetrate for much of the game.
Quincy Promes for Ryan Babel at half time didn’t help or threaten much more on the left wing side and soon after the second half started Portugal gained more control of the game.
In the 60th minute a Bernardo Silva pass had Goncalo Guedes cutting inside. The winger took a long range shot and just beat Jasper Cillessen who got a hand on it but was unable to divert the ball to safety. Rui Patricio and Ruben Dias did well when the Dutch tried to threaten via crosses. Portugal claimed the inaugural trophy.
Earlier in the day England finished third by beating the Swiss. The third place match finished 0-0 and 6-5 after penalties, one of which was converted by Jordan Pickford, England’s goalkeeper.