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Portugal 1 Netherlands 0: Guedes delivers Nations League glory

By Opta
Goncalo Guedes (left) scored the only goal to help Portugal earn UEFA Nations League glory

Porto, June 10: Portugal secured Nations League glory on Sunday (June 9) as Goncalo Guedes' second-half strike earned a 1-0 victory over Netherlands at the Estadio do Dragao.

The host nation had been touted as favourites ahead of the inaugural Finals and they lived up to that billing in Porto, adding more major silverware to their European Championship triumph three years ago.

Cristiano Ronaldo had netted a hat-trick in the 3-1 semi-final win over Switzerland but he was kept relatively quiet on this occasion by Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt.

Instead it was left to Guedes to settle matters, exchanging passes with Bernardo Silva and smashing home from the edge of the box, although Jasper Cillessen may feel he could have done better.

Cillessen, winning his 50th cap, was the busier goalkeeper in the opening half-hour, although he was only called upon to make a trio of routine saves – twice from Bruno Fernandes long-range efforts either side of gathering Jose Fonte's header.

Fernandes remained a threat, curling narrowly over from the edge of the box as the hosts continued to look likeliest to score as the interval approached.

Netherlands were sharper after the break and Rui Patricio got down smartly to thwart Georginio Wijnaldum, but on the hour Portugal had the goal their play deserved.

Guedes found Silva, who returned the ball with a nicely disguised pass, and the Valencia man rifled into the bottom-right corner via the left hand of Cillessen.

Patricio saved impressively from Memphis Depay's header as Netherlands sought a swift response but the closest they came was Marten de Roon firing over from 20 yards as Portugal held on to lift another major international trophy.

What does it mean? More success for Santos

Portugal's Euro 2016 success was built upon the foundation of a solid defensive base, but their Nations League semi-final win over Switzerland was a thoroughly entertaining affair and Fernando Santos' side were a far superior attacking force against Netherlands.

Ronaldo picks his battles

Portugal's talisman started off in a central role but, as the game wore on, he could be seen drifting out to the left with greater frequency. Perhaps frustrated by being so well shackled by De Ligt and Van Dijk, the Juventus star left a hole that Silva and Guedes surged into for the winner.

Oranje lacking penetration

In Van Dijk and De Ligt, Netherlands have a centre-back pairing that is the envy of world football. But their starting front three of Ryan Babel, Steven Bergwijn and Depay were largely ineffective on this occasion. Ronald Koeman will be praying his forwards can match the standards set by his imperious backline.

What's next?

Portugal return to Euro 2020 qualifying with a trip to Serbia in September, when Netherlands will face a crunch clash against rivals Germany.

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Story first published: Monday, June 10, 2019, 2:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 10, 2019
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