AMSTERDAM – The UEFA Nations League 2022/23 semi finals will be played this Wednesday and Thursday night.
Netherlands, the host team, will face Croatia tonight, while Spain and Italy will meet tomorrow.
The tournament’s semi finals, battle of third place and the final will all be competed in the Netherlands.
This gave the Dutch a bright opportunity to march into the final and grab the championship at their own stadium.
This is the third season of the European competition, which Portugal won the first season in 2019 and France became the champion in 2021.
Dutch seek to be champion
Netherlands, who were also the runner-up four years ago, seek to beat the Croatians at De Kuip Stadium.
Oranje have a slightly stronger squad compared to Kockasti, which have Virgil Van Dijk from Liverpool, Nathan Ake from Manchester City and Tyrell Malacia on their defence line.
Frenkie De Jong from Barcelona, Denzel Dumfries from Inter Milan, Steven Bergwijn from Ajax and Cody Gakpo from Liverpool are taking their roles in the attacking side.
Meanwhile, Croatia are reputed for their tough fighting spirit and sturdy playstyle.
Often recorded remarkable achievements in international major events, they finished the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 as third place last winter.
Led by Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric, the Blazers have Ivan Perisic from Tottenham and Mateo Kovacic from Chelsea as main players, but they missed favoured defender Josko Gvardiol in recent call-ups.
Clash of Spain and Italy
Tomorrow, the clash between Spain and Italy will send a former World Cup winner into the final on 18th June at De Kuip.
The Matadors, who were the runner-up in 2021, aim to qualify for the final for two consecutive seasons.
They lost 1-2 to France two years ago after two goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe.
The World Cup 2010 winner has Alvaro Morata as team captain, and several talented stars including Gavi and Pedri from Barca.
This young squad expects a tough challenge from Gli Azzurri who have plenty of experienced players especially their defence.
Besides the Nations League, the UEFA European Championship 2024 qualification will also be played starting this weekend.
England will visit Malta on Friday night, begging for three points and winning all the three matches to continue to lead Group C.
The runner-up of Euro 2020 has called Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka and other popular stars in the Premier League in their latest squad.
France will visit Gibraltar at the same time.
The finalist of World Cup 2022 featured Kylian Mbappe as their captain, along with Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele and others.
Norway will play against Scotland on Saturday.
The home team featured the fiery striker Erling Haaland from Man City, and skillful midfielder Martin Odegaard from Arsenal.
Portugal will face Bosnia and Herzegovina on the same day.
The 38-year-old legend Cristiano Ronaldo is still the Portuguese captain, along with Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix and Rafael Leao.