UEFA Nations League Final Preview – Portugal vs. Switzerland

Monday, June 3rd, 2019

By Jonathan Willis
UEFA Nations League Final Portugal vs. Switzerland

The inaugural UEFA Nations League Final will be held this weekend, and four countries are out to claim the first title. Portugal and Switzerland are set to square off in the first semifinal on Wednesday, while England and the Netherlands will face off in the second semifinal on Thursday. The Portuguese are the hosts of the final, and they are the favorites to win it all. The Swiss will be looking to pull off the upset and win their first-ever major international competition.

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Portugal vs. Switzerland

  • Date and Time: June 5, 2019, 2:45 p.m. ET
  • Location: Estadio de Dragao, Porto, Portugal
  • US Television Coverage: ESPN2, Univision
  • Betting Line: Portugal -0.5 and -1, O/U 2.5
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Of the four teams to make it to the UEFA Nations League Final, Switzerland are the most surprising. The Swiss were large underdogs to make it ahead of Belgium after the Belgians went 3-0 in their first three group stage games, and Switzerland needed a big win to advance in their stead. That looked dodgy after Thorgan Hazard netted twice in 17 minutes to put Belgium up 2-0 on Switzerland, but the Swiss responded in a tremendous way. Haris Seferovic registered a hat trick, and two others scored to lead Switzerland to a 5-2 win. That margin of victory gave the Swiss what they needed to finish first and make it to Portugal. The Portuguese path to the semifinal was not as difficult. Portugal knocked off Italy 1-0 and Poland 3-2 in their first two matches, and they needed just a result against the Italians in their penultimate group stage match to advance. They managed to hold Italy to a 0-0 draw, clinching a spot in the final four with the win.

Portugal Player to Watch

This is typically the spot where you wax poetic about Cristiano Ronaldo, but Ronaldo has yet to play in the UEFA Nations League this campaign. He is on the roster now, but the player that got Portugal to this point is Andre Silva. Silva got off to a strong start this campaign. He netted seven goals in Sevilla’s first seven league matches, yet his play tailed off dramatically from there. Silva scored just twice in 2019, and he hasn’t netted a goal for club or country since January. He did score in three of Portugal’s four group stage games though, and the hope is that he can rekindle that form.

Switzerland Player to Watch

For the Swiss to pull off the upset, Granit Xhaka must have a great game. Switzerland has a young, inexperienced back line and Xhaka will be tasked with taking the pressure off of them as much as possible. He can be a very good defensive midfielder and do a good job of breaking up opponents’ attacks, but he also has a tendency to pick up cards and he must avoid that here.

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Portugal will not have Danilo Pereira available for this match. Pereira picked up a red card against Poland in Portugal’s final match of the group stage, so he will be suspended against Switzerland as a result.

This is going to be a low scoring game. Portugal are a much more defensive-minded team than they were in the past, and they rode Rui Patricio and a young, talented defense to the 2016 Euro Championship. Meanwhile, Switzerland are best on the counter, and Portugal playing cautiously will stymie Xherdan Shaqiri’s efforts to have an impact on the game. I think the under is the best bet, with Portugal eventually netting a goal and holding on from there.

UEFA Nations League Prediction: Portugal 1, Switzerland 0

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