Portugal v Netherlands preview & predictions: Van Dijk vs Ronaldo won’t be decided on the pitch (technically)
The inaugural Uefa Nations League final will see Portugal take on Netherlands on Sunday.
Tournament hosts Portugal beat Switzerland 3-1 in their semi-final, while Netherlands got past England by the same score after extra-time.
Read on for Portugal v Netherlands live stream options, team news, predicted XIs, stats and TV channel info.
When is Portugal vs Netherlands?
Competition: Uefa Nations League
Venue: Estadio do Dragao
Date: Sunday, 9 June
Kick-off: 7:45 PM BST
Where can I watch live?
UK residents will be able to watch the Uefa Nations League final between Portugal and Netherlands on Sky Sports Football, channel 403 on Sky, and channel 503 for Virgin Media users.
Sunday’s Uefa Nations League final will be the 15th game between Portugal and Netherlands, with the most famous being the so-called ‘Battle of Nuremberg’ from the 2006 World Cup. Portugal have dominated the previous meetings, winning seven to Netherlands two – although the Oranje did emerge victorious from the most recent match – 3-0 in March 2018.
Portugal wins: 7 Draws: 5 Netherlands wins: 2
It may not be counted as a major trophy, but both Portugal and Netherlands will be looking to win the Uefa Nations League final on Sunday to show their standing ahead of next year’s European Championships.
For defending European champions Portugal, Sunday represents the chance to show they are capable of going with the best Europe has to offer, after a disappointing round-of-16 exit at last year’s World Cup. It also gives A Seleção das Quinas another opportunity to win a trophy in front of their own fans, after falling in the Euro 2004 final to Greece – a defeat which shocked a nation ready to celebrate.
Meanwhile, a Netherlands win would cap an impressive turnaround under Ronald Koeman. When the Dutchman took charge last year, Netherlands were about to miss out on their second consecutive major tournament, and everyone expected the Oranje to be relegated from Nations League group A4 when the draw was officially made. But Koeman has done a fine job since taking the role, with six wins from 13 games including a previous victory over Portugal.
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Ronaldo vs Van Dijk: Who will win?
It was a meeting many had hoped to see in the Champions League, but the Uefa Nations League final will pit two aerial giants up against each other.
Though he is capable of scoring any type of goal, as shown in Portugal’s win over Switzerland, one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s biggest strengths is his aerial ability.
Not even Lionel Messi could beat Virgil van Dijk on the floor…
Time for that Champions League knockout tie we never got to see this season. 🗻 pic.twitter.com/dxW7Qvud9M
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) June 6, 2019
The Portuguese forward has scored 24 headed goals in the Champions League across his career, more than any other player. In fact, four of his six goals in the competition this season came with his head – including two against Dutch side Ajax in the quarter-finals.
But on the other side on Sunday will be Virgil van Dijk, with the Dutch centre-back being dominant in the air for Liverpool this season. In the Premier League and Champions League combined, Van Dijk won 223 of his 305 aerial duels with a success rate of 73.11% and added another four in the Uefa Nations League semi-final against England.
Though both Ronaldo and Van Dijk are fine players with the ball on the ground, we’re hoping Sunday will bring a good aerial battle between the pair.
What does the winner get?
Although the teams to top their groups in the earlier stage of the Uefa Nations League have guaranteed a spot in the play-offs for Euro 2020, winning the competition as a whole brings no extra benefits for qualification to next year’s championship.
But either Portugal or Netherlands will lift the new Uefa Nations League trophy, as well as €10.5m in prize money. The runners-up will have to make do with €9m.
Portugal will welcome back midfielder Danilo for their final against Netherlands, after the Porto man missed the semi-final through suspension. However, they will be without Pepe who picked up a shoulder injury against Switzerland
Netherlands have no injury doubts after getting through their semi-final against England unscathed.
1. Felix to continue up front
Highly sought-after teenager Joao Felix won his first senior cap for Portugal in their win over Switzerland though failed to make much of an impact. Despite this, Fernando Santos is likely to keep his faith in the teenager, with few alternatives.
In defence, Jose Fonte looks set to replace in the injured Pepe for Sunday’s final, having come in for him against Switzerland, while Danilo could return to partner William Carvalho for a midfield battle against Frenkie de Jong.
Predicted Portugal XI (4-2-2-2): Patricio; Semedo, Fonte, Dias, Guerreiro; Danilo, Carvalho; Bernardo, Fernandes; Felix, Ronaldo.
2. Netherlands to make changes in midfield
After playing 120 minutes on Thursday, Ronald Koeman is set to make minor changes to keep his side fresh. Although the back five will likely stay the same, the midfield is where the biggest changes could come.
The arrival of Donny van de Beek to the game against England helped wrestle back control for Netherlands and he could start ahead of Georginio Wijnaldum – who played the full 90 minutes on the back of a Champions League final with Liverpool just last weekend.
Predicted Netherlands XI (4-3-3): Cillessen; Dumfries, Van Dijk, De Ligt, Blind; Van de Beek, De Jong, De Roon; Bergwijn, Depay, Babel.
This will be a close game, but Portugal’s freshness – and Cristiano Ronaldo – could see them take the win, and the trophy. 2-1 Portugal.