2019 UEFA Nations League Finals predictions
2019 UEFA Nations League Finals predictions? What are the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals predictions? Who will win the 2018/19 UEFA Nations League? It’s only a matter of time before the finals of the inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League commences.
After some exciting matches in League A, Portugal, Netherlands, England and surprisingly, Switzerland are playing in the Nations League Finals which Portugal will host. This will be a clean knockout tournament with a semi-final and a final. However, there’s also a third-place playoff here, something which we will see in a UEFA international competition for the first time since Euro 1980.
The first match will be hosts Portugal taking on Switzerland at the Estadio do Dragao at Porto tomorrow. The winner of this match will play the winner of Thursday’s game between England and Netherlands at the Estadio D. Alfonso Henriques at Guimaraes in the final at the Estadio de Dragao on Sunday.
The loser of both semi-finals will play in the third-place playoff at Guimaraes which is also on Sunday. So, without any further ado, we will take a look at the 2019 UEFA Nations Leaggue Finals Predictions.
2019 UEFA Nations League Finals Predictions- Who will be the winner of Portugal vs Switzerland
Home advantage for Portugal
Being the host nation, Portugal are undoubtedly heavy favorites to win the Nations League and given their current squad, Portugal have a very strong chance of winning it. The reigning European Champions won their group ahead of Italy and Poland without the services of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Of course, the addition of Ronaldo to the Nations League squad is a big boost for Fernando Santos’ side. Ronaldo may not have had the kind of season he used to have at Real Madrid. However, the 34-year old was a key factor in Juventus winning their 35th Scudetto. He amassed 28 goals and 13 assists and was named the Serie A Player of the Season.
There was a time when many called Portugal as a one-man team. However, that’s not the case anymore. Portugal have world-class players. In Ronaldo’s absence, the likes of Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva helped Portugal win their group. Andre Silva isn’t in the Nations League squad but Bernardo Silva is. The 24-year old scored twice during the group stages of the Nations League and given his present form, there is no doubt that Silva will shine for Portugal.
Wolverhampton Wanderers impressed many during the Premier League this season. Managed by Nuno Santo, this side had four fine Portuguese players, all of whom are in the Nations League squad. Two of them are youngsters Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota who attracted interest from many top clubs through their performances. The other two are stalwarts Rui Patricio and Joao Moutinho whose experience will come in pretty handy.
Portugal’s defense has the experienced Pepe and their full-backs include the likes of Raphael Guerreiro, Nelson Semedo, Mario Rui and Joao Cancelo.
When Portugal won Euro 2016, the young player who caught the attention of everybody was Renat Sanches. Now, Joao Felix is the Portuguese young sensation who has captured the attention of the football world. The teenager amassed 20 goals and 11 assists for Benfica this season and is one to lookout for.
Can Switzerland pull off another Nations League upset?
There’s no doubt that Switzerland were the surprise package of the Nations League. When Switzerland were drawn in a group alongside Belgium and Iceland, it seemed the most straightforward group of the Nations League with Belgium winning it, Switzerland coming 2nd and Iceland coming third. It all came down to the final match of the group between Switzerland and Belgium at Lucerne. Belgium took an early 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Thorgan Hazard. However, the unthinkable happened. A hat-trick from Haris Seferovic and goals from Nico Elvedi and Ricardo Rodriguez saw Switzerland qualify for the Nations League Finals on goal difference.
Switzerland are always a team who can give the big guns a run for their money and this team sure has the firepower to do that. Some 5 players for this team play for Borussia Monchengladbach who beat Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena during the Bundesliga and came close to reaching the Champions League. These include their goalkeeper Yann Sommer who made more clean sheets than any goalkeeper during the Bundesliga except for RB Leipzig’s Peter Gulacsi. The others are Denis Zakaria and Nico Elvedi, both of whom were impressive for Monchengladbac. The likes of Josip Drmic and Michael lang were not regulars but have often performed well for Switzerland.
As far as goals are concerned, Switzerland will be heavily reliant on Haris Seferovic. The 27-year old striker had a memorable season with Benfica where he was the top scorer in the Primeira Liga with 23 league goals in just 29 matches to help his side win their 37th Primeira Liga title.
The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka have been with the national team for a while and Switzerland will need both these players to be at their best if they are to beat Portugal. The presence of Ricardo Rodriguez also adds a lot of depth to Switzerland’s attack. His overlapping runs down the flank combined with his set-piece taking abilities make him a formidable player.
Switzerland produced a stunning upset by beating Belgium and beat Portugal once not a long time back during the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. They will surely take the win against Belgium as an inspiration for the match against Portugal. However, Portugal have a stronger squad than the Swiss and have the added advantage of playing at home. Hence, Portugal should be able to beat Switzerland by 3 goals to 1 and make it to Sunday’s Nations League Final.
2019 UEFA Nations League Finals Predictions- Who will be the winner of England vs Netherlands
This is undoubtedly the match people will be looking out for. When the Nations League groups first came out, many expected Netherlands to finish second in their group at best as World Champions France were the heavy favorites to win it. The Dutch put up a tough fight in Paris against France but lost 2-1. However, they followed this with wins over France and Germany at Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Needing a draw against Germany to qualify, Netherlands seemed on the brink of exit as they were trailing 0-2 with 5 minutes left. However, two late goals from Quincy Promes and Virgil van Dijk saw Netherlands going through.
England had a poor start to theie Nations League campaign by losing against Spain at home. They followed this with a goalless draw against Croatia in Rijeka before beating Spain in Seville. The Three Lions then beat Croatia at Wembley to qualify for the Nations League Finals.
Will Netherlands’ good run of form take them to the Nations League title?
Netherlands had a poor period following their third place finish at the 2014 World Cup as they failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, the Dutch have had a period of resurgence which has seen them go back among the big guns. They qualified for the Nations League Finals ahead of France and Germany. At this stage, Netherlands are heavy favorites to win the Nations League and they have a team worthy of the favorites tag.
Jasper Cillessen hasn’t played much for Barcelona ever since joining them but whenever he has started for the Blaugrana, he has delivered. The 30-year old played a key role in Netherlands’ run to third place in the 2014 World Cup and five years on, Cillessen has gotten better.
The Dutch defence has some world-class footballers. These include captain Virgil van Dijk who is perhaps the best defender in the world. Van Dijk was a rock at the back for Liverpool this season and his performances make him a frontrunner for the Ballon d’Or this year. The 27-year old is also a goal threat due to his aerial ability. Van Dijk already has two goals to his name in the Nations League including the one which took Netherlands to the finals.
There’s also Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt who led Ajax to a double and took them to the Champions League semi-finals this season. De Ligt is one of the best young footballers in the world and his defensive partnership with Virgil van Dijk will certainly trouble the likes of Harry Kane and RRaheem Sterling a lot. The likes of Nathan Ake, Stefan de Vrij, Daley Blind and Hans Hateboer were all impressive for their respective clubs this season.
In midfield, Netherlands boast of the likes of Georginio Wijnaldu, Frenkie de Jong and Donny van de Beek, all of whom had outstanding seasons. They also have the experienced Kevin Strootman, Tonny Vilhena and Davy Propper.
As far as attack is concerned, Netherlands will look to Memphis Depay for goals. The forward had a fine season with Lyon and will hope to carry his good form into the Nations League.
Can Gareth Southgate’s young squad win England their first silverware since 1966?
Given the amount of footballing talent coming out of the country, England will certainly be a heavy favorite for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. As far as their encounter against Netherlands is concerned, the Three Lions have just the squad that can make things really hard for the Dutchmen. In Jordan Pickford, England have one of the best keepers in the world who followed a good World Cup with some fine saves for Everton this season.
In central defence, England have Harry Maguire and John Stones and Joe Gomez while their full-back deartment has some world-class layers. Left-back Ben Chilwell was highly impressive for Leicester City this season and he’ll undoubtedly get better.
One tough decision which Gareth Southgate will have to make is who will be England’s right-back? Kyle Walker has more experience and has been terrific for Manchester City. However, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been a revelation this season. The 20-year old has been sensational for Liverpool, defending and always providing assists from the right flank.
In midfield, England have the likes of Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson and 20-year old Declan Rice who has impressed for West Ham. England’s attack is a force to watch out for. They already have one of the best strikers in the world in Harry Kane while Jadon Sancho has been terrific for Borussia Dortmund. However, the one player van Dijk and de Ligt will have to be wary of is Raheem Sterling. The 24-year old is in the form of his life and has been a key reason behind Manchester City’s treble this season. Sterling’s pace, dribbling and finishing have both been at their peak this season and with Harry Kane having played the Champions League Final, Gareth Southgate will surely expect more from Sterling than he will from Kane.
This is a very evenly matched encounter but Netherlands might just manage to squeeze through England with an extra-time goal.