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With the inaugural UEFA Nations League campaign now over, with hosts Portugal coming out on top in the finals courtesy of victories over Switzerland and Netherlands, Fernando Santos’ side reasserted their status as the champions of Europe.
Their star players stood up to the task over the past week to claim the crown, and it’s little surprise that the victors dominate our top rated XI from the finals, excluding those that did not appear in both of their nation’s matches.
Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford (England) – 7.14 rating
Having made a string of saves to ensure England made it to extra time against the Dutch – producing ten in total across the 120 minutes of the semi-final – Pickford had a quieter afternoon against Switzerland but still emerged the hero. The Everton stopper only made two saves as The Three Lions went to penalties once more but produced a decisive stop in the penalty shoot out having emphatically fired home from the spot himself just moments earlier.
Right-back: Kevin Mbabu (Switzerland) – 7.13 rating
While it was a tough semi-final for Mbabu against Portugal the right-back still produced two tackles and created three chances in the 3-1 defeat. Another five tackles against England followed as the 24-year-old proved why he has earned a summer move to Wolfsburg, completing a further two interceptions and two dribbles, while converting from the spot in the penalty shootout defeat to the Three Lions.
Centre-back: Matthijs de Ligt (Netherlands) – 7.25 rating
While it was his error that handed England the lead in the semi-finals last week De Lift more than made amends after that with a bullet header to force the game to extra time and some crucial interventions to boot. The teenager won six aerial duels on the night and repeated the three tackles he made in the final against Portugal, completing 109 of 119 passes over his two appearances (91.6 per cent).
Centre-back: Fabian Schar (Switzerland) – 7.18 rating
With four tackles, five interceptions, and 13 clearances across his two appearances, Schar carried on his impressive form for Newcastle over the season gone by but couldn’t prevent the disappointment of a fourth placed finish. He also scored in the shootout against England, whilst also producing two chances on the day.
Left-back: Raphael Guerreiro (Portugal) – 7.06 rating
After a solid if unspectacular showing against Switzerland, completing two interceptions and 92.2 per cent of his passes, Guerreiro looked a much more attacking threat in the final. The versatile Dortmund star created two chances and completed two dribbles against the Dutch alongside another two interceptions and five clearances.
Holding midfield: Frenkie de Jong (Netherlands) – 7.06 rating
In a game that just seemed one too far for most of the Netherlands squad, coming through 120 minutes of action just three days prior to the final, De Jong failed to have his usual impact against Portugal. That said, he completed 94.6 per cent of his passes, along with four tackles having previously pulled the strings in the semi-final against England. The youngster completed six tackles on that night, making that ten over two appearances in which he misplaced just eight of 178 passes (95.5 per cent accuracy).
Central midfield: Bruno Fernandes (Portugal) – 7.32 rating
The highly sought after Sporting star started both matches en route to Nations League glory for the hosts, doing so in a deeper role than he is accustomed too at club level whilst still managing to pose a real threat in the final third. The 24-year-old had more shots than the entire Netherlands side in the final – hitting the target with three of six attempts – and created a further three chances having done the same in the semi-final against Switzerland.
Central midfield: Fabian Delph (England) – 7.24 rating
He may not have been a fixture at club level for much of the year but the Nations League finals proved that Delph is still very much a part of Gareth Southgate’s plans. While the fitness of those involved in the Champions League final played a part, the Manchester City midfielder started both games for England, completing six tackles, five interceptions along with two dribbles and 90.5 per cent of his passes.
Right wing: Bernardo Silva (Portugal) – 8.32 rating
Whether playing behind the front two as he did against Switzerland or from the right in the final against Netherlands, Silva was the creator in chief for a Portugal side well deserving of the title. The Manchester City star registered an assist in each of his appearances, creating nine chances in total whilst completing ten dribbles and six tackles to cap a sensational season from an individual perspective.
Left wing: Goncalo Guedes (Portugal) – 7.03 rating
Having made an impact from the bench in the semi-final against Switzerland, registering the assist for Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick goal, Guedes earned a starting spot in the final and more than justified his inclusion. The 22-year-old scored the match-winning goal with one of three attempts in total to ensure the hosts secured a deserved victory over Netherlands in the final.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – 8.40 rating
After a hat-trick and perfect ten rating in the semi-final against Switzerland it was always going to be difficult for any player to usurp Ronaldo’s score over the two games. The 34-year-old was relatively subdued in the final by comparison but still ended the finals as the top scorer courtesy of his treble last Wednesday, mustering eight shots, three key passes and five successful dribbles over his two appearances.
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