The UEFA Nations League held its first ever semifinal games, this past week, and there was plenty of action and drama in both games. In the opening game host nation Portugal came away with a 3-1 win after a masterful performance by Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese superstar scored a hat trick that included a wonderful free kick from outside the box and two goals after the 87th minute to secure a victory for the hosts. It was probably an unfair result for Switzerland, but when you are going against someone like Ronaldo that can happen. Portugal will face the Netherlands, in the final, after the Dutch secured a 3-1 victory, after extra time, over England. It looked like England had the game won, in the 83rd minute, but a goal by Jesse Lingard was taken off for offside after VAR. The game went to extra time where Kyle Walker scored an own goal and Memphis Depay sealed the victory with a 114th minute goal.
Portugal vs Netherlands for the trophy and England vs Switzerland for third place. It should be a good day of soccer in Portugal.
Here are my picks for Sunday’s UEFA Nations League games.
England (+110) vs Switzerland (+229): Draw (+250)
England’s seven game unbeaten run, and five game winning streak, came to an end Thursday in their semifinal loss to the Netherlands. It was the first time England had scored less than two goals in five games. England is missing players who played in the Champions League final, but they still have a squad capable of getting the win Sunday.
Switzerland’s three game unbeaten came to a run thanks to Ronaldo on Wednesday, but the Swiss should be happy with their performance as they looked like the better team for the majority of the game. Switzerland have been up and down since the World Cup ended, but a third place finish in the Nations League would be a nice result for their nation.
I like England to get third place in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
England leads the all-time series 17-5-3 and are unbeaten in the last 11 games between these two nations. The last time Switzerland won was in a 1981 World Cup qualifier when the Swiss came away with a 2-1 win.
Portugal (+137) vs Netherlands (+200): Draw (+225)
Portugal extended their unbeaten run to nine games, though it was their first win in four games, thanks to a masterful performance from Ronaldo, but the Portuguese squad as a whole did not look good Wednesday. It was the first time in five games that Portugal scored more than one goal and they have only allowed more than one goal one time in their last 10 games.
The Dutch are continuing their resurgence after a nice 3-1 victory over World Cup semifinalists England. Netherlands deserved to win this game in regulation, but it took an extra 30 minutes to get the job done. Netherlands are now unbeaten in eight of 10 games and have wins over England, France and Germany over that span.
I like the Netherlands to lift the first ever UEFA Nations League title.
Portugal leads the all-time series 7-4-2, but have not won in the last two meetings between these two. Portugal last one during Euro 2012 when they came away with a 2-1 win.
YTD Soccer Results: 86-80