Portugal vs Netherlands result: Goncalo Guedes goal seals home soil glory in Nations League final
Portugal 1-0 Netherlands: The hosts defeated a flat Dutch side to win the inaugural edition of the Nations League
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Having already been the kings of Europe, Portugal now become the princes too. Fernando Santos’ young squad proclaimed themselves the continent’s most exciting by winning the new secondary trophy, beating a flat Netherlands side 1-0 to win the inaugural Nations League on home turf.
They will now be among the favourites for next year’s European Championship to retain the trophy they already hold.
That is what felt most instructive about this new competition. It was also indicative that the winning goal was not be a veteran or legend likeCristiano Ronaldo but one of their young stars in 22-year-old Goncalo Guedes. It was naturally set up by the exquisite Bernardo Silva, whose growing importance in the side seems to be heralding the rise of this new generation of Portuguese players.
This new generation of Dutch players looked like they still have some developing, too. They are hugely impressive but not as far along as this Portuguese side.
For a side with a reputation for keeping the ball, and a perfect player to do so in Frenkie de Jong, the Netherlands ceded an awful lot of it – and space – to Santos’ team.
Portugal did not just look like the home team, but the more developed team, as they really went at the Dutch. Bruno Fernandes – seemingly wanted by half of Europe’s major clubs right now – meanwhile really went for goal. He had five of their 12 shots in the first half, each one getting closer but never actually clinical enough.