Portugal vs NetherlandsNations League, KO: 19:45 Jun 9, 2019, Estadio do Dragao
PORTUGAL and the Netherlands will contest the first ever Nations League final at the Estadio do Dragao on Sunday night.
There was no shortage of drama in the semi-finals and both of these sides will be high in confidence for what should be a closely fought and competitive final.
The Netherlands needed extra time to see off England but if you fancy the Dutch to get the job done in normal time then they are 5/2 (Bet 365) to do so.
After scoring an astronomical 53rd career hatrick against Switzerland Cristiano Ronaldo will be aiming to take advantage of an Oranje side who had to endure an extra 30 minutes to make the final, not to mention Ronaldo and Portugal have had an extra day to prepare for this showdown in Porto.
At 34 Ronaldo is showing no signs of slowing down and his midweek masterclass has set up an intriguing battle between two of the best players on the planet when he comes up against the colossal Virgil van Dijk.
Ronaldo was ruthless against the Swiss on Wednesday night – he scored with all three of his shots on target and after netting the opener he is 3/1 (PaddyPower) to score first in the final.
However, one of the few things that the Portuguese superstar has never done is score for his country in an international final but Ronaldo looks overpriced at Evens (PaddyPower) to put that right on Sunday night.
Furthermore, having scored eight headers for Juventus this season I like the look of the 9/1 price boost that Sky Bet are offering on Ronaldo to score a header.
Ronaldo's finishing was the difference on Wednesday night and the 3-1 scoreline flattered the hosts as there were periods during that semi-final where Switzerland had Portugal rattled.
What's more Fernando Santos's side will go into this final without experienced centre half Pepe who fractured his shoulder against the Swiss.
Switzerland passed up a number of gilt-edged chances against Portugal, but the Dutch will be more deadly having failed to score in only one of their last 18 international outings.
That said, at the other end of the park the Netherlands have only kept three clean sheets in their last 11 fixtures despite having a sumptuous centre half pairing in Matthijs de Ligt and Virgil van Dijk.
Meanwhile, the host nation have only manged four shut-outs in the same stretch of matches and that coupled with the fact that both countries are blessed with an abundance of attacking talent points towards profit in backing Both Teams to Score at 5/6 (Marathonbet)
In considering who will become the first ever Nations League Champions I'm struggling to separate these sides and there is a high possibility that this final could go the distance.
However, having backed the Netherlands to win the inaugural Nations League I'm going to go against the bookies and back Ronald Koeman's men to continue their recovery by lifting the trophy at 13/10 (PaddyPower)
The Dutch have emerged from obscurity with another golden generation and having failed to qualify for the last two major international tournaments I fancy the Netherlands to make a statement of intent ahead of next Summer's European Championships.
This Nations League match between Portugal and Netherlands will be played on Jun 9, 2019 and kick off at 19:45