FOOTBALL Sports News

Nations League – England to play The Netherlands

England will play The Netherlands in the Nations League semi-finals next summer, after the draw was made earlier this afternoon in Dublin.

England will play Ronald Koeman’s Dutch side on the 6th of June in the Estadio D Afonso Henriques in Guimaraes, after they topped League A Group 4 ahead of Spain and relegated Croatia.  The other semi-final sees hosts Portugal play Switzerland, with the final being played on Sunday the 9th of June.

This match will be the first time these two countries have faced each other since Euro 1996, in which Gareth Southgate played in the 4-1 group stage win.

“It’s a very exciting game to look forward to and a second semi-final for us.

“We play a team in Holland who are at a similar stage to us – developing, lots of exciting young players in both sides – and you can see the impact Ronald has had,” said Southgate.

Southgate’s men topped League A Group 4 with seven points, after impressive wins over Croatia and Spain. The Three Lions had started poorly with their opening game defeat to Spain at Wembley and drawing away 0-0 against Croatia in front of an empty stadium. Southgate then took his side to Spain, where England blitzed the Spanish in the first-half 3-0, before being pegged back a few times in the 3-2 win.

Croatia’s draw with Spain at home gave England the chance to win the group at home to the World Cup runners-up but an Andrej Kramaric goal in the second-half looked to have relegated the home side. However, a late Harry Kane goal, just minutes after Jesse Lingard’s equaliser, meant that England topped the group and qualified for the finals.

The Dutch side, who have Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk and ex-Manchester United flop, Memphis Depay, amongst their ranks, qualified for the finals after a late equaliser against Germany last month.

This will be the first ever Nations League Finals, after the competition was brought in earlier this year. The idea of the Nations League is to cancel out ‘friendlies’ and provide lesser teams the chance to earn play-off positions for World and European Championships. The winner of the Nations League finals will earn £6.7 million pounds in prize money, with the fourth placed side gaining £4 million.

 

 

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