Uefa Nations League final: Van Dijk plays down Ronaldo battle
Netherlands beat England to set up final clash against Portugal on Sunday
Uefa Nations League final
- Who: Portugal vs. Netherlands
- When: Sunday 9 June
- Where: Estádio do Dragão, Porto
- Kick-off time: 7.45pm (BST)
- TV channel: live on Sky Sports
Nations League semi-final:Netherlands 3 England 1 (after extra-time)
Netherlands will play Portugal in Sunday’s Uefa Nations League final after beating England 3-1 after extra-time in Guimaraes.
England took the lead in the semi-final through a 32nd-minute Marcus Rashford penalty, but the Dutch levelled when defender Matthijs de Ligt headed in with 17 minutes remaining.
In extra-time England produced a “defensive horror show”, says the BBC, with a mistake by John Stones leading to an own goal from Kyle Walker and Ross Barkley’s back-pass ending with Quincy Promes scoring Holland’s third.
England will now play against Switzerland on Sunday in the third/fourth-placed match in Guimaraes (2pm, live on Sky Sports).
Ronaldo vs. Van Dijk
Sunday’s Nations League final will see Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo go head-to-head with Dutch skipper and defensive rock Virgil van Dijk.
Juventus striker Ronaldo scored a hat-trick for Portugal in the semi-final win over the Swiss. In his first season in Italy he scored 28 goals in 43 games as Juve won the Serie A title and Supercoppa Italiana.
Liverpool star Van Dijk also lifted silverware as the Anfield club won the Champions League final against Tottenham.
Speaking ahead of the Nations League final the centre-half said it’s not just Ronaldo that the Dutch have to worry about, but also Joao Felix.
Van Dijk said: “It’s not only Cristiano Ronaldo we’re going to face, we face a great Portugal. We will see what’s going to happen.
“I’m looking forward to playing this final with this team, and we’re going to give everything that we can to hopefully hold that trophy in the end and do everyone proud.”
On Benfica youngster Felix, Van Dijk added: “I watch football as well, I’ve seen the Europa League. Everyone has seen him. He’s a big talent for them.
“He has a bright future in front of him, if he stays humble and keeps working hard, and hopefully we can shut them down. Hopefully we are going to win.”
Koeman: we don’t stop
After the deserved victory over England, Dutch head coach Ronaldo Koeman urged his side to keep going against Portugal. He also played down the potential match-up between Ronaldo and Van Dijk.
“It isn’t a battle between two players, it’s Portugal and Holland,” said Koeman. “We know it’s impossible sometimes to have good defending against Cristiano Ronaldo but we want to keep the ball, with good possession, as then he can do nothing in attack.
“We don’t stop. There’s always something to improve, but we are in a good way, the team is happy and confident in the way we like to play.
“We have big talents coming through, experience in the team, two players who won the Champions League, this experience to play and win a semi-final, then play the final on Sunday, it makes everything much easier.”
Nations League squads
- Goalkeepers: Beto (Göztepe), José Sá (Olympiacos), Rui Patrício (Wolverhampton Wanderers)
- Defenders: João Cancelo (Juventus), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona), José Fonte (LOSC Lille), Pepe (Porto), Rúben Dias (Benfica), Raphaël Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund), Mário Rui (Napoli)
- Midfielders: Danilo (Porto), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton Wanderers), William Carvalho (Real Betis), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting CP), João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Pizzi (Benfica)
- Forwards: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), João Félix (SL Benfica), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Rafa Silva (Benfica), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Diogo Jota (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Dyego Sousa (Braga)
- Goalkeepers: Marco Bizot (AZ Alkmaar), Jasper Cillessen (Barcelona), Kenneth Vermeer (Feyenoord)
- Defenders: Nathan Aké (Bournemouth), Daley Blind (Ajax), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale Milano), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
- Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong (Ajax), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Davy Pröpper (Brighton and Hove Albion), Kevin Strootman (Marseille), Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)
- Forwards: Ryan Babel (Fulham), Steven Bergwijn (PSV Eindhoven), Luuk de Jong (PSV Eindhoven), Memphis Depay (Lyon), Quincy Promes (Sevilla)
- Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton)
- Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
- Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham)
- Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth)
- Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Mönchengladbach), Yvon Mvogo (Leipzig), Jonas Omlin (Basel)
- Defenders: Manuel Akanji (Dortmund), Loris Benito (Young Boys), Nico Elvedi (Mönchengladbach), Michael Lang (Mönchengladbach), Kevin Mbabu (Young Boys), Jacques-François Moubandje (Toulouse), Ricardo Rodríguez (Milan), Fabian Schär (Newcastle)
- Midfielders: Edimilson Fernandes (Fiorentina), Remo Freuler (Atalanta), Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool), Djibril Sow (Young Boys), Renato Steffen (Wolfsburg), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Mönchengladbach), Steven Zuber (Stuttgart)
- Forwards: Josip Drmić (Mönchengladbach), Breel Embolo (Schalke), Haris Seferović (Benfica), Albian Ajeti (Basel)
About the Uefa Nations League
What is the Uefa Nations League finals?
According to the Uefa website, the inaugural Nations League finals is “a knockout tournament involving the four group winners of the top-ranked league A”.
When does the tournament take place?
Portugal will host the tournament from 5-9 June 2019. The semi-finals will be held on 5 and 6 June followed by the third/fourth-placed match and final on Sunday 9 June.
What stadiums are hosting games?
Matches will be played at Porto’s Estádio do Dragão and the Estádio D Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes.
Holland, Switzerland, Portugal and England have qualified for the finals.
- Holland: winners of Nations League A group 1
- Switzerland: winners of Nations League A group 2
- Portugal: winners of Nations League A group 3
- England: winners of Nations League A group 4
What will the Uefa Nations League winners get?
As well as a sparkling new 71cm-tall sterling silver trophy the winners will also get €7.5m (£6.6m).
Uefa Nations League calendar
- Finals: 5–9 June 2019 (hosted in Portugal)
- Uefa Euro 2020 play-off draw: 22 November 2019
- Uefa Euro 2020 play-offs: 26–31 March 2020
When is the next Uefa Nations League?
The next edition of the competition, with relegation and promotions taken into account, will begin in 2020. That means that each summer without a World Cup or European Championship, there will be a Uefa Nations League final.
What about the major tournaments?
One upshot of the competition is that it will make qualification for the European Championships “more streamlined”, says Uefa. There will be a standard qualifying competition, with two teams going through from each group. But the Nations League rankings will then be used to decide which teams qualify for the play-offs to decide the final four spots at Euro 2020.