England to play Netherlands in Nations League semifinals
DUBLIN (AP) — England will play the Netherlands and host Portugal will face Switzerland in the semifinals of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
The Portuguese will play the Swiss on June 5 at the 50,000-seat stadium in Porto. The English will face the Dutch the next night at the 30,000-capacity venue in Guimaraes.
The final of European soccer’s new national team competition and the third-place game are scheduled for June 9.
Of the four semifinalists, all group winners in the top-tier of the UEFA Nations League, only Switzerland has never won the World Cup or European Championship.
England is the only former World Cup champion and will be contesting its second tournament semifinal in a year after making the last four in Russia.
“We’ve seen the impact of a successful national team can have on the nation last summer and we’ve also seen the belief has also been bred into our young players from winning at youth level,” England coach Gareth Southgate said after Monday’s draw, highlighting England being Under-17 and Under-20 world champions.
“So for the senior team to now be knocking on the door of the latter stages of a major finals is crucial for us. We want to go beyond where we went last summer and we are in the mix for what is a really important staging post in our development.”
With one European title each, the Netherlands and Portugal are embracing a second shot at silverware.
“This competition is better than what we expected,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. “For the coach it is very important to see their players in official competitions.”