International football returns this week with Netherlands facing England in the Uefa Nations League semi-finals.
The pair are fighting for a place in Sunday’s final against Portugal or Switzerland, where one team will seal their place in history as the first ever Nations League winners.
Read on for Netherlands v England live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.
When is Netherlands vs England?
Competition: Uefa Nations League
Venue: Estadio D. Afonso Henriques
Date: Thursday, 6 June
Kick-off: 7:45 PM BST
Where can I watch live?
UK residents can watch Netherlands v England on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Football, channels 401 and 403 respectively on Sky, and channels 501 and 503 respectively for Virgin Media users.
Games between Netherlands and England have historically been equal, with both sides winning six of the 21 previous matches. England did win the most recent meeting, 1-0 in March 2018, but it ended a run of seven games without victory for the Three Lions. The last time the two sides faced off competitively, England won 4-1 in the Euro 96 group stages.
Netherlands wins: 6 Draws: 9 England wins: 6
A year ago, England were preparing for the 2018 World Cup with very little hope or optimism of going far. The Three Lions might have bowed out at the semi-final stages, but the tournament reinstalled belief around the England national team.
Fast forward to June 2019 and England are looking to become the first ever winners of the Uefa Nations League, adding a minor trophy to their sole World Cup success.
Gareth Southgate’s men navigated a tough Nations League group with World Cup finalists Croatia and 2010 world champions Spain, topping A4 by a point thanks to a 2-1 win over Croatia on the final day.
Meanwhile, Netherlands also topped their difficult group A1, finishing ahead of the past two World Cup winners France and Germany due to their better head-to-head with Les Bleus. It was the start of Netherlands’ recent revival under Ronald Koeman after missing out on two consecutive major tournaments, which has seen them rise back up to 16th in the FIFA world rankings, from as low as 36th.
But they are still a way behind their opponents, England, would currently sit fourth in the world.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Will England be rocked by Champions League opposition in the camp?
In the past, England’s lack of success – despite boasting plenty of individual talent – has been blamed on club rivalries carrying over to international duty. Former defender Rio Ferdinand has previously spoken of his commitment to Manchester United hurting England, saying: “It overshadowed things. It killed that England team, that generation.
“One year we would have been fighting Liverpool to win the league, another year it would be Chelsea.
“So I was never going to walk into the England dressing room and open up to Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry or Joe Cole at Chelsea, or Steven Gerrard or Jamie Carragher at Liverpool because of the fear they would take something back to their club and use it against us.
“I didn’t realise that what I was doing was hurting England at the time. I was so engrossed, so obsessed with winning with Man United – nothing else mattered.”
The same fears may be surfacing ahead of the Nations League with the two all-English European finals, but Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane – whose side were beaten in the Champions League final by Liverpool – believes Southgate’s there will be no such problems.
“We’ve got such a great bond and, although we’re at different clubs, when we come here everyone’s fully focused on here,” he said.
“You don’t have to talk to people about switching off from club football. Everyone just naturally does it and I think the fact we’ve played with each other in club sides and younger England sides (means) we’re all good friends.”
How good a job has Koeman done?
When Koeman took charge of the Netherlands national team in February 2018, there was some scepticism over what he could do. He had not long been sacked by Everton after failing to live up to the expectations of the board, giving his reputation a serious hit.
But the 18 months that have followed prove any fears were short-sighted, as Koeman has revitalised Dutch football. Though it will not be considered a major tournament, Netherlands’ place in the Uefa Nations League finals saw them get out of a horrible group stage against the past two World Cup winners.
This is already an improvement on the Dutch sides of recent past, with the Netherlands failing to qualify for either Euro 2016 or the 2018 World Cup, performances which saw them drop as low as 36th in the world rankings.
As well as dragging Netherlands back up the world rankings, Koeman has helped the Oranje deal with the international retirements of Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, trusting young stars such as Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong and Donny van de Beek. At 19, De Ligt already has 15 caps for Netherlands, 12 of which have come under Koeman.
Koeman’s squad will be boosted by the work done at Ajax, who reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in the season just finished, but the Dutchman must now to ensure that carries over for the Nations League.
Netherlands boss Koeman will be hoping Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum will be fit to play some part against England after their Champions League final exploits.
Meanwhile, England will be sweating on the fitness of eight players who joined up late to training due to their involvements in the two all-English European finals over the past week.
1. Kane to start for England
The biggest debate ahead of the Champions League final was whether Harry Kane would start for Tottenham. He did, and played poorly, but this may not prevent Southgate from playing the Spurs man.
When the service is right, which it wasn’t in Madrid, even a half-fit Kane can provide a vital goal, which England will need to get past a tough opponent.
Elsewhere, Eric Dier is likely to be the only other Champions League final participant, after his cameo in Madrid, as part of a midfield alongside Declan Rice and Ross Barkley.
Predicted England XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Maguire, Stones, Chilwell; Rice, Dier, Barkley; Rashford, Kane, Sterling.
2. No rest for Van Dijk
Like England, Netherlands will have to deal with some fall out from the Champions League final. Van Dijk was instrumental in keeping a clean sheet for Liverpool, and his importance may see him risked from the start against England, with a place in the Nations League final on the line.
But further forward, Wijnaldum may drop down to the bench, potentially replaced by Ajax star van de Beek, joining Barcelona-bound de Jong and Atalanta’s Maarten de Roon in midfield.
Predicted Netherlands XI (4-3-3): Cillessen; Dumfries, Van Dijk, De Ligt; Blind; Van de Beek, De Jong, De Roon; Babel, Depay, Promes.
3. A start for Sancho
While our own predicted XI expects a risk with Kane starting, the Daily Express believe there will only be one starter from two Champions League finalists – Dier.
Instead, they have backed Marcus Rashford to spearhead England’s attacking trio alongside Raheem Sterling and Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, the youngest player in England’s squad.
Express‘ predicted England XI (4-3-3): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Maguire, Chilwell; Dier, Rice, Barkley; Sancho, Sterling, Rashford.
Despite potentially having key players missing, England are on a high right now and that could see them ease past Netherlands. But it will be close. 2-1 England.