The inaugural UEFA Nations League Finals is taking place in Portugal. The event which involves the four group winners of League A begins on June 5 and ends on June 9. The hosts, Portugal will take on Switzerland while England will face the Netherlands in the league’s semi-finals. The winning teams in the semis will then battle it out in the final.
The winner of the event will take the 71cm-tall sterling silver trophy home accompanied by €10.5 million in prize money. The runner-up team will get a prize worth €9.0 million, while the third and fourth placed teams will win €8.0 million and €7.0 million respectively. It means, each of the four competing teams will have something to take home at the end of the event, but they will all be aiming for the top prize.
Who do you think will win the UEFA Nations League finals?
Based on the already confirmed squads of each side, the tournament will feature top-notch players currently playing for teams across the top four football leagues. We should expect the will and wits of either side to be tested in every match they play, up to the finals. We take a look at the four teams to get a clue of how the finals could turn out.
England finished in front of Spain and Croatia in Group A4 with seven points, having won two of the four games they played in the competition. The Gareth Southgate’s side are currently ranked fourth in the FIFA Ranking with 1647 points. England thrashed the Czech Republic and Montenegro with five goals each, in their first two games in the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Southgate’s side have won six of their last 10 matches and drawn once. They have won four of their last five matches at home and twice in away matches. England beat Montenegro 5-1 in their last match on March 25. They lost to Belgium 2-0 during the 2018 World Cup playoffs in St Petersburg, Russia.
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling will lead England in their quest for the UEFA Nations League trophy as the captain. He hopes to display his experience and skills in favor of the English side.
The Netherlands’ stats
The Netherlands are currently 16th in the FIFA World Ranking with 1554 points. They finished ahead of France and Germany in Group A1 to qualify for the finals, after garnering seven points with a goal difference of four. Ronald Koeman’s side scored eight goals in the UEFA Nations League A and netted six goals in the European Championship.
The Dutch have won four of their last 10 matches and drawn four times. The Clockwork Orange have scored a total of 19 goals this season and conceded 11 goals. They beat Germany 3-2 in their last game on March 24. They have won four games at home and drawn four away matches. Despite being rich in talent, the Oranje failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, hence they will do whatever it takes in order to carry the UEFA Nations League trophy home. However, they will need to beat England first in the semi-finals in order to take their chances in the finals.
England vs Netherlands h2h
England have won five of their last six matches, while the Netherlands have won three times. The two teams have met eight times. The Oranje have won three direct matches against England, as Gareth Southgate’s side only won once against the Dutch. Both sides have drawn four times. The Dutch lost 0-1 to England in their last encounter in Amsterdam a year ago.
The Netherlands are in third position in the European Championship with three points, while England are in position one with six points.
Portugal are in position seven with 1607 points, according to the FIFA rankings. Fernando Santos’ side finished on top of Group A3, ahead of Italy and Poland after garnering eight points in four games. Portugal have scored six goals in the last four appearances in the FIFA World Cup and scored five goals in the UEFA Nations League A. They have won three times in their last 10 matches and drawn six times.
Portugal have not lost any of their last five home matches but lost once away. The Santos’ side have scored 12 goals this season and conceded nine goals. They drew 1-1 with Serbia in the European Championship qualifier on March 25.
Switzerland are currently eighth placed with 1604 points, according to FIFA ranking. They finished ahead of Iceland and Belgium in Group A2 with nine points after winning three of the last four games they have played. Vladimir Petkovic’s side have won four of their last 10 matches and drawn two times.
The Rossocrociati have won two of their last five home matches and lost thrice away. They have scored a total of 21 goals this season and conceded 13 goals. The A-Team drew 3-3 with Denmark in the Euro 2020 qualifier on March 26. Switzerland’s quest for the 2018 World Cup title was cut short after they were kicked out of the tournament by Sweden during the round of 16 match that ended 1-0 on July 3.
Portugal vs Switzerland h2h
Portugal have won two of their last six matches, while Switzerland have won three times. Fernando Santos’ side scored eight goals in six games and Switzerland netted 13 times. The two teams have faced each other three times where Switzerland achieved two wins against Portugal. Portugal beat Switzerland 2-0 in their last encounter on October 10, 2017.
Portugal are currently third in the European Championship with two points, while Switzerland are second with four points.
England are the favorites to win
Judging from the above statistics, I believe England have a better shot at emerging victorious in the UEFA Nations League finals. The ranking of Gareth Southgate’s side and their good form places them at a better position of carrying the title home.
England have also won more matches as opposed to the three opposing teams that will be contesting for the silverware, and these records could turn out in their favor.
However, it will not be a walk in the park for Gareth Southgate’s side. They will need to defeat the Netherlands in the semis and fight hard in the finals, in order to be assured of the trophy. We should also be ready for any form of surprise during the event, as anything could happen during the event.
Photo by Dan Kamminga via Wikicommons (CC BY 2.0)