The inaugural UEFA Nations League final sees hosts Portugal (FIFA rank: #7) take on the Netherlands (#16). After topping their group with a game to spare (W2, D2), a vintage Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick saw Portugal through to the final, as they beat Switzerland 3-1 in the semi-final at this very stadium.
Virtually untouchable at home, Portugal are unbeaten in 13 competitive matches since a 1-0 defeat to Albania in 2014 (W10, D3). Notably, six of those ten victories came ‘to nil’ and Portugal were winning at both HT/FT in seven of the last nine.
Many will say this is now Portugal’s tournament to lose, although one of just two blips in an otherwise glittering record since defeat to Chile in June 2017 came in a 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands (W13, D10, L2). On that day, all three goals arrived before half-time.
Ronald Koeman’s improving Netherlands have shown true grit to equalize after conceding the opener in each of their last six games outside of Holland (W1, D4, L1). Interestingly, four of those games ended 1-1, just as their UNL semi-final against England did before the ‘Oranje’ scored twice in extra-time for the first time in over 100 years (1907 vs Belgium).
Players to watch: It could be no other man, Cristiano Ronaldo (88 international goals) scored a brace as Portugal beat the Netherlands 2-1 at EURO 2012.
After failing to score in his first 14 caps, Netherlands prospect Matthijs De Ligt has scored in his last two appearances, both with his head.
Stat attack: Portugal has scored an equalizer in each of the last five matches in which they went behind (W1, D3, L1).