It is fair to say, that other than the players who are having to extend their season by a few weeks to play in the Nations League final stages in early June, many people have forget about the Nations League. 2019 should typically have been one of the years in which we lack any real competitive football, but we have 3 games set aside across a week in Portugal.
The problem with any “new” tournament is getting the credibility that goes with the likes of the World Cup and European Championships. Those tournaments have history, prestige and what international sides develop their plans around. That will never change. The nations League may be an entertaining addition to the calendar and to be fair the majority of teams have taken it seriously many see it as random as online pokies sites.. However, one cannot help but get the over riding impression that the way the tournament is structured, it is rather more aimed at helping the lower ranked teams get wins, qualify for the European Tournaments and build their national game. The elite sides did make the effort, but it was clear from team selection and the narrative coming from the major sides, that this was not quite the main priority as of yet….
The Nations League itself has came down to 4 teams that perhaps one would not expect in the Semi Finals of a major European tournament. The first Semi Final especially, without meaning any disrespect, matches Portugal against Switzerland. Portugal proved in the World Cup that although they have obvious talent in the ranks, the team is not solid enough to back up Ronaldo and the main players of the era are fading. Switzerland have rarely been a European force and this remains their best chance to get to a final of prestige.
In the other Semi Final, a Netherlands side who have had bad times in the international market lately against an revived England team under the Gareth Southgate revolution. England, who almost made it to the last World Cup Final, will look to get only their second international trophy…
There is an overwhelming feeling that this is merely the Intertoto Cup of the international game. By any measure the Nations League Final ranks down, way down, on a list of the biggest football matches of any given season. UEFA have a big task on their hand to make this a notable occasion and I am very sure they will go all of their best efforts to make this an occasions to remember. I am sure they would ideally prefer a Ronaldo led Portugal taking on England in the final and to be frank, if UEFA could select a winner, England would be a wise choice as they will make big deal of it. Just as if you won big on online casino us
The question over the importance of the Nations League indeed will only begin to be answered in a few decades time and if the tournament itself even still exists….