Swiss test for hosts Portugal, England meet Dutch in Nations League

swiss test for hosts portugal england meet dutch in nations league

Hosts Portugal will meet Switzerland in the 2019 Nations League finals last four with England taking on the Netherlands.

European champions Portugal were first out of the hat in Monday's Dublin draw and will not be unhappy to meet the Swiss in the first semi-final on June 5 next year.

Two improving sides meet on June 6 when Gareth Southgate's World Cup semi-finalists England face the Dutch, who knocked out world champions France and Germany in the group stage.

The final and third-place games both take place on June 9. Porto will host Portugal's semi and the final while Guimaeres has the England v Netherlands semi and third-place tie.

"It's a great opportunity, I think that we have a chance to create great moments, great emotions," Fernando Gomes, the Portuguese Football Federation president said.

A senior finals is returning to Portugal for the first time since 2004 when Portugal reached the European Championship final only to lose to underdogs Greece.

"A fantastic environment, as we saw in 2004, and I'm quite sure that it will be a fantastic tournament, with a fantastic atmosphere," Gomes added.

Coach Fernando Santos led the team to the historic Euro 2016 triumph in France and is now hoping to replicate that success in front of their own fans.

"We have that dream of reaching the final and winning the trophy in our country, but we will have to work hard for it as we are going to face a great opponent in the semi-finals," Santos said.

They start with a rematch against Switzerland, whom they faced in 2018 World Cup qualifying. Both sides won their home games.

"Switzerland are a good team, we know them well, having played them in the qualifiers," Santos said. "It's important to recognise their qualities."

The Swiss are ranked eighth in the world to Portugal's sixth but are hopeful of causing an upset.

"It's an interesting competition with some interesting matches," Swiss coach Vladimir Petkovic said. "We have to go to win.

"We will have to prepare well and be ready in June – and be ready to create a surprise."

England survived an incredibly tough group by beating Croatia, who knocked them out of the World Cup semi-finals, and Spain.

"We've really enjoyed the competition already – the Nations League has been a great success," manager Gareth Southgate said.

"We're now looking forward to the semi-finals. We play a team similar to us, developing with lots of young players. It's a very exciting game to look forward to."

The Netherlands, who missed the 2016 Euros and last World Cup, are on the up under coach Ronaldo Koeman having enjoyed famous victories over France and arch-rivals Germany.

"We have a lot of respect for the English team," Koeman said. "The way Gareth is managing the England side – he is giving opportunities to young players – is the same as we like to do. It's a great opportunity."

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