Football

England reached the Nations League Finals on Sunday.

How do the Nations League finalists compare against each other?

Published Add your comment

Football News
24/7

England will be joined in the Nations League Finals by Holland, Switzerland and Portugal.

The draw for the semi-finals of the competition takes place on December 3 in Dublin, with games to be played between June 5 and 9 in Portugal.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses the strengths and weakness of the four countries.

England

After years of disappointment and frustration, Gareth Southgate has succeeded in uniting the country behind the national team.

His squad is packed with exciting, young talent and buoyed by reaching the semi-finals of the World Cup and topping a Nations League group containing Spain and Croatia.

In Harry Kane, England possess a genuine world-class striker capable of producing match-changing moments.

Despite reaching the last four in Russia, England struggled against the stronger nations, losing twice to Belgium, once against Croatia, and being held to a draw by Colombia.

While a reliance on youth provides a platform for the future, it also brings inexperience in the short term.

Captain Kane has a superb scoring record for his country, but, should he be unavailable, manager Southgate could be short of central striking options.

FBL-EUR-NATIONS-ENG-CRO

Holland

Following successive failures to qualify for major tournaments, Holland had little to lose in a group containing the winners of the last two World Cups, France and Germany.

The Dutch have been rejuvenated under coach Ronald Koeman and demonstrated a new-found confidence and team spirit to defy expectations.

Captain Virgil Van Dijk provides a commanding presence at the back, while former Manchester United forward Memphis Depay is beginning to fulfil his potential.

Unlike previous years, the Dutch squad has a lack of top-level players.

FBL-EUR-NATIONS-GER-NED

Van Dijk and Liverpool teammate Georginio Wijnaldum are among the few who play for one of Europe’s elite clubs.

While results under Koeman have been impressive, there are reasons why Holland were not at the World Cup in Russia or Euro 2016 and an underlying fragility could be exploited by opponents.

Switzerland

Battling back from two goals down to beat Belgium demonstrates the resilience of Vladimir Petkovic’s side and their ability to take on the world’s top teams.

That shock 5-2 victory left them top of Group A2, ahead of the World Cup bronze medallists. 

Left-back Ricardo Rodriguez and Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka provide much-needed experience for the Swiss, with Xherdan Shaqiri supplying creativity.

Switzerland have not reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament since 1954 and lack the international pedigree of their three opponents.

Fbl-EUR-NATIONS-SUI-BEL

While they are capable of springing a surprise, as demonstrated against the Belgians, they are unlikely to strike fear into their rivals and will start the Finals as underdogs.

Haris Seferovic scored a hat-trick against Belgium, but a regular source of goals could be an issue.

Portugal

Fernando Santos’ side will benefit from home advantage next summer.

Star man Cristiano Ronaldo – Portugal’s record goalscorer and most capped player – has not appeared since the World Cup, but his country have shown they can cope without him by topping Group A3.

FBL-WC-2018-MATCH49-URU-POR

The reigning European champions also have a strong record in major tournaments and posses a winning mentality, reaching six semi-finals since 2000, including winning Euro 2016.

Head coach Santos insists Ronaldo remains part of the team and, while his recent absence has not had significant consequences, it remains to be seen if Portugal have sufficient firepower without him.

Defensively, the team is going through a minor transition.

Ageing centre-backs Pepe, 35, and 34-year-old Jose Fonte have remained central to Santos’ plans since the World Cup, but he has also given regular starts to 21-year-old Benfica player Ruben Dias.

Topics:
Football
Gareth Southgate
Vladimir Petkovic
Switzerland Football
Croatia Football
Fernando Santos
Santos
Ricardo Rodriguez
Pepe Reina
Haris Seferovic
Xherdan Shaqiri
Virgil van Dijk
Georginio Wijnaldum
Granit Xhaka
Portugal Football
Colombia Football
Russia Football
Harry Kane
France Football
Memphis Depay
Ronald Koeman
Pepe
Spain Football
Germany Football
Belgium Football
England Football
Cristiano Ronaldo
Manchester United
Liverpool

Article Comments

Read more

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author

DISCLAIMER

This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again