The finale on 10th June will bring to the forth the first winner of the UEFA Nations League ever.
Seeking redemption of their recent failures in world football, The Netherlands pulled off an ecstatic 3-1 comeback victory in the extra time against a mighty England side at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques Stadium in Portugal.
Teenage sensation Matthijs De Ligt and Quincy Promes were on the scoresheet for the Dutch whereas Marcus Rashford scored from the spot for the Three Lions while Kyle Walker netted an own goal. Having defeated Gareth Southgate’s men, the Oranje set up a UEFA Nations League final with Portugal who also defeated Switzerland with the same scoreline thanks to a fantastic Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick.
Ahead of the finale on Sunday, Dutch skipper Virgil van Dijk spoke about facing the Portuguese, Ronaldo and more. “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.”
“We’ll see. It’s not only Cristiano Ronaldo we’re going to face, we face a great Portugal. We will see what’s going to happen,” he added.
It will naturally be a mouthwatering clash between the Liverpool centre-back and the Juventus stalwart in the final. Obviously, the quality which the latter possesses is not unknown, being considered as one of world football’s greatest. On the other hand, van Dijk, who recently faced another footballing great Lionel Messi, showed his immense talent and proved that he is a fearsome defender for attackers to pass by.
However, apart from the duo, there will be another exciting duel between two of the most prominent youngsters from the two nations, Joao Felix and Matthijs De Ligt. Felix, who caught the attention of many top flight clubs in Europe with his performances for SL Benfica last season will be one of the focal points for Portugal while De Ligt too, has been in the headlines for the past two months.
Having already praised his young centre back partner before, van Dijk also heaped praise on Felix saying, “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.”
The final between the two nations will take place at the Estadio do Dragao in Portugal on Monday and will also mark the first final since the establishment of the Nations’ League.