Tonight, England will face off against the Netherlands for a place in the first ever Nations League final, against Portugal.
The first semi-final proved to be a treat as Switzerland took hosts Portugal until the last few moments of the game before that man, Ronaldo settled any doubt. The Portuguese talisman secured a quickfire double, adding to an earlier freekick.
England now have a chance to play in a major European final, not long after heartbreak in Russia at the semi-final stage. The side that will take to the stage in Guimarães, promises to be slightly different to the one that ended the World Cup. Gareth Southgate has adopted a policy of nurturing youth into the national set up, with players like Jadon Sancho, Declan Rice and Joe Gomez all becoming key parts of his core setup.
Similar can be said regarding the Dutch set up though under the guidance of former Southampton manager Ronald Koeman. Some of the players included in the Netherlands match for this game have been dubbed has the best young players in the world. Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt is a highly wanted man across Europe, the likes of Barcelona and Juventus are said to be heavily interested in securing his services but he could potentially be facing future teammates tonight as Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all continue to be linked with the 19-year-old.
It is suggested that Koeman has the best international centre back pairing at his disposal in de Ligt alongside, Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk. The recent Champions League winner has established himself as one of, if not the best defender in the world and with de Ligt next to him, the Dutch appear to be in safe hands. The pair look calm and assured next to each other, while also appearing to instil confidence in the players around them. A very much benefitting factor.
Both sides boast quality in different areas with England overwhelmed with attacking options. The Three Lions captain, Harry Kane is a slight doubt after struggling on his return from injury in the Champions League final. However, Southgate will still be able to call upon one of Europe’s most inform players in Raheem Sterling. He would likely be accompanied by Marcus Rashford who has been superb early on in his career.
This game promises to be a feast of flair, mixed with some superb passing football. New Barcelona man Frenkie de Jong, has proved to be a fine talent. A player that occupies a more defensive midfield role but can certainly run and heavily impact build up play.
It will provide a stage for some of the finest youngsters in the game to broadcast their ability in what should be a fast past, attacking game of football.
What may prove a key factor could be the full-backs, England in particular boast various options with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker and Ben Chilwell have all be included. Liverpool’s Alexander-Arnold in particular has shown himself as one of the finest creative players from his positions in the Premier League, setting up various goals.
If you’re a football fan you certainly won’t want to miss this one!
(Image via IBTimes UK)