The first-ever UEFA Nations League Final will take place this weekend, but first we must find out which two countries will face off in the final. Portugal and Switzerland will meet in the first semifinal on Wednesday. The Portuguese are favored as they have a higher FIFA ranking and they are the hosts of the tournament, but the Swiss have pulled off a number of surprises over the last decade. They will look to pull off one more in their hopes for a major international trophy.
Don’t miss the UEFA Nations League semifinal from the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal at 2:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. Catch every moment of the match live on ESPN2 and Univision.
UEFA Nations League Semifinals Betting Odds at BookMaker.eu
Switzerland was expected to come in second place in Group 2. The Swiss were placed into a group with Belgium and Iceland, and Belgium was the odds-on favorite to finish atop the group. The Red Devils won each of their first three games, putting them in great shape entering the finale against Switzerland. Things looked academic after Thorgan Hazard netted a brace in 17 minutes for the Belgians, but the Swiss rallied from there. They scored five goals in the next 40 minutes of gameplay to shock Belgium 5-2 and advance on goal differential.
It wasn’t easy for Portugal to get to the final either. The Portuguese defeated Italy 1-0 in their first match, and they rallied to pick up a 3-2 road win in Poland in their second match. That meant they only needed a result to advance, but they would have to pick win up at the San Siro. Portugal responded well and held Italy to a 0-0 draw and finished up with a 1-1 draw against Poland.
Matchup to Watch
The Swiss must find a way to stop Andre Silva. Silva has been fantastic this tournament. He has netted in three of four games for Portugal, and now he will have the luxury of playing off of the best player in Portuguese history in Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo did not take part in any of the four group stage games, but he is ready to play now that Portugal have international glory on the line. Silva could be even more explosive with Ronaldo sucking up defenders.
Switzerland will be going with a rather young back line, so the pressure will be on the midfield to break a lot of plays up before things get too dangerous. That’s where Granit Xhaka excels. Arsenal fans aren’t too fond of Xhaka because of his tendency to end up in the referee’s book, but he plays on the knife’s edge the national team needs in order to succeed.
Prop Bet – Will Both Teams Score? No -126
This isn’t the Portugal we have seen in the past. The team that won the 2016 Euros did so on the strength of its defense, and that defense will be asked to lead the way once again. Manager Fernando Santos has a lot of faith in goalkeeper Rui Patricio and a talented back line, and I think the Portuguese can post a clean sheet.
Free Soccer Betting Pick
I don’t think this game will feature a lot of goals. The Portuguese are much more defensive-minded than in the past, and the Swiss succeed on the counter. Switzerland has only one real goal scoring talent in Xherdan Shaqiri, and good back lines can bottle him up. I think the first half will end knotted 0-0, but Silva will score the game winner in the second half to send Portugal into the final.
UEFA Nations League Prediction: Portugal 1, Switzerland 0
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