Netherlands vs EnglandNations League, KO: 19:45 Jun 6, 2019, Estadio D. Afonso Henriques
LAST summer England went all the way to the semi-finals of the World Cup before having their dreams crushed by Croatia.
Twelve months on from that torment Gareth Southgate will lead his young side to Portugal to participate in the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals.
First up for the Three Lions is a semi-final showdown against Ronald Koeman's rejuvenated Netherlands.
After being absent from last year's World Cup as well as Euro 2016 the Dutch have emerged from obscurity with yet another golden generation of gifted young footballers.
Consequently, the Netherlands are now just two wins away from becoming the first Nations League champions, however they are not the front-runners with most bookmakers to win the competition and as such the Dutch are an unfancied 2/1 (William Hill) to defeat England in 90 minutes.
When UEFA introduced the Nations League to the international calendar it didn't generate much interest and that is perhaps due the competitions intricate format, however since it's introduction both of these sides have prospered in reaching the finals in Portugal.
During the Nations League group stages England faced their World Cup 2018 conquerors Croatia and star-studded Spain and after only taking one point from their first two matches Gareth Southgate's side had a slender chance of emerging from the group.
However, England went on to stun Spain in Seville with a 3-2 victory and followed that up with a last gasp 2-1 win at Wembley against Croatia to clinch top spot in their section.
Furthermore, England have flown out of the traps in their Euro 2020 qualifying group having fired five goals past both the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Yet such form will not deter this resurgent Netherlands side who impressively seen off France and Germany to reach the final four of the Nations League.
After several years of decline the Dutch are back on the big stage and it's hardly surprising with Ajax's Matthijs de Ligt and Liverpool stalwart Virgil van Dijk as their centre half pairing.
At the top end of the park the Dutch's main danger-man will be former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay.
Depay hit double figures for Lyon this season and has scored 11 goals in his last 15 appearances for his country and such brilliant form has seen his odds plummet to 7/4 (Ladbrokes) to make a summer switch to European champions Liverpool.
The Dutchman can be deadly from set-pieces and with Depay being the designated penalty taker for the Dutch he looks attractively priced at 23/10 (PaddyPower) to score anytime.
Alternatively, if you're looking for an English goalscorer then Raheem Sterling at 11/5 (PaddyPower) could be worth backing after his marvellous season for Man City, not to mention Sterling has scored six goals in his last four outings for England.
Whether or not Sterling or Depay find the net remains to be seen, but recent results for both of these vibrant sides would suggest that there will be goals in this game.
Both countries are blessed with an abundance of attacking talent and that coupled with the fact that both of these defences have been regularly breached in the last 12 months points towards profit in backing Both Teams to Score at 3/4 (PaddyPower)
In considering who will progress to the final – this is a tough to one to call and I wouldn't be surprised if this semi-final is settled via a penalty shoot-out.
However England's exciting young team could be running on empty, with many of the Lions entering the Nations League off the back of a gruelling season – seven members of Southgate's squad played a part in last weekends Champions League final, meanwhile only two Dutch players were involved.
Therefore, I'm leaning towards backing the Netherlands to qualify at 11/10 (William Hill) and in doing so Ronald Koeman's men can continue their recovery by reaching the first ever Nations League final on Sunday.
This Nations League match between Netherlands and England will be played on Jun 6, 2019 and kick off at 19:45