Nations League Semi-Finals: Sterling Could Shoot England Into The Final4 min read
The UEFA Nations League Finals begin in Portugal on Wednesday evening and once again Brand Ambassador Michael Owen previewed the semi-finals.
Portugal v Switzerland
Hosts Portugal have only lost one of their last 15 games in all competitions, but I feel they may need extra-time or penalties against the Swiss in Porto on Wednesday if they are to make Sunday’s Final.
Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t scored in his last four internationals for Portugal and you must go back to 2012 for the last time the Juventus striker failed to score in five internationals. The hosts are no one-man team of course with Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva – one of the stars of the Premier League last season – and an integral part of the national side.
Switzerland qualified for the Finals when they came from 2-0 down to beat Belgium 5-2 in “The Miracle in Lucerne” when Roberto Martinez’s side only needed a draw to make the Finals. The Swiss threw caution to the wind with, arguably nothing to lose on that occasion, but I expect to see a tighter, more cautious affair midweek and I am finding it difficult to split two evenly matched sides.
Tip: Game to finish in a draw at
Netherlands v England
England captain Harry Kane must put behind the disappointment of losing the Champions League Final with Spurs at the weekend. One the other hand the Netherlands skipper Virgil van Dijk was given the accolade of FIFA Man of the Match after another imperious display at the heart of the Liverpool defence. It would be fair to say he gave Kane few opportunities in Madrid.
That said the Three Lions have won their last five games in all competitions and scored five against both the Czech Republic and Montenegro in the EURO 2020 qualifiers back in March. I feel England have the stronger side and deeper squad and did beat Thursday’s opposition 1-0 in Amsterdam in Ronald Koeman’s first game in charge back in Match 2018.
The Oranje have improved since that friendly, however, and they did qualify past world champions France and a talented Germany side, so nobody can say they do not deserve to be in the Finals.
Raheem Sterling has scored six times in his last four internationals and the City attacker should be fit and fresh for Thursday’s semi in Guimaraes. I have a feeling he will have a big say in the Finals.
It is well documented that England have not won a major men’s senior football competition since 1966, but with the England cricket side going well, at the time of writing, in the ICC Cricket World Cup perhaps this will be a huge and successful summer for England with both bat and ball.
England to win and both teams to score at
Raheem Sterling to score at anytime at