Portugal to win the inaugural UEFA Nations League

The inaugural UEFA Nations League will come to an end with a tight contest and potentially nail-biting encounter between Portugal and the Netherlands. The Portuguese are hosts for the finals and could claim their second international trophy in three years should they get past Ronald Koeman’s young Dutch side on Sunday. Both teams were 3-1 victors in the semi-finals over Switzerland and England respectively however Portugal’s win was a lot more convincing with the Dutch needing extra time to get past the English whose defensive errors cost them in a game that could have gone either way.

Key battles

Denzel Dumfries at right-back looked suspect defensively in moments against England and up against a top-class opponent in Bernardo Silva who was part of the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, a lot of questions will be asked of the 23-year-old. The 6ft 1in pacey defender will most likely make his sixth cap for the Netherlands in the final after Kenny Tete’s injury saw him come into the side to face England on Thursday. The tricky wide midfielder from Lisbon contributed 13 goals and 14 assists to Manchester City’s incredible treble winning season and has come up against many better full-backs in the past season than Dumfries.

Portugal’s ever reliable defensive rock Pepe has been ruled out of the final after being forced off in the semi-final, the 36-year-old has 105 caps for his country, a wealth of international experience that his replacement, Jose Fonte, will not be able to replicate. Pepe’s loss weakens the Portuguese defence significantly and increases the threat of the Dutch. Memphis Depay was heavily involved in all three of the Netherlands’ goals against England, registering two assists coming off the back of a mediocre season with Lyon, he may be buoyed by Pepe’s exclusion.

Frenkie De Jong

The Netherlands have a superior midfield that were able to take control for large parts of their semi-final. 22-year-old central midfielder, De Jong, who has recently signed for Barcelona was excellent at dictating proceedings and starting attacks with an outstanding all-round performance. De Jong won six tackles, three more than any other player on the pitch and had a pass completion rate of 96%. It will be interesting to see the Portuguese’s plans to deal with him expecting Ruben Neves and William Carvalho to be deployed in the middle of the park.

Cristiano Ronaldo

CR7 always seems to turn up in the big games for club and country. A chance for a second piece of silverware at international level will not be taken lightly by one of the greatest players of all time in the twilight of his career. Ronaldo will be 35 by the time Euro 2020 comes around when Portugal will aim to defend their crown. The Juventus attacker has 88 goals from 157 games for his country and having been injured early on in his last competitive final at Euro 2016, he will be looking to make his mark in what will be a fascinating battle up against Virgil Van Dijk and Matthias De Ligt.

Portugal – Netherlands Betting Tip

A ding-dong battle to potentially go all the way to penalties but for home advantage to get Fernando Santos’ side over the line.

Portugal to Lift the Trophy + Both Teams to Score at odds of 2/1 with Bet365.

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