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UEFA Nations League winners Portugal will target a trophy hat trick at Euro 2020

PORTO, Portugal -- Cristiano Ronaldo has grown accustomed to lifting trophies, and the relish with which he hoisted aloft the silverware that comes with winning the UEFA Nations League, following Portugal's 1-0 win vs. Netherlands on Sunday, suggested that it meant every bit as much as all of the prizes he has won in the past for club and country.

It is not the World Cup or European Championship, but it is a hefty, glittering trophy, and the qualification process to reach the four-team finals means...

 By Simon Kuper

De Ligt, De Jong and Depay are the building blocks for a new, elite Dutch team. Next stop: Euro 2020

In 1977, Johan Cruijff's Dutch team came to Wembley and England fielded five players whose natural position was center-back. Oranje fooled them by playing without a center-forward: Cruijff dropped into midfield and set up both goals in a 0-2 victory. Times change, but England doesn't, at least not very much. Early in Thursday's Nations League semifinal, Memphis Depay retreated from center-forward to midfield. He and his teammates found space between the rigid lines of England's defense and midfield,...

Van Dijk a shoo-in for Ballon d'Or - if he stops Ronaldo in Nations League final

PORTO, Portugal -- Raheem Sterling looked to have cracked the Virgil van Dijk code during the closing stages of England's Nations League semifinal defeat against Netherlands in Guimaraes on Thursday.

For a split second, the England forward seemed to have broken clear of the Dutch centre-half having beaten him to the ball and gone past him near the halfway line. During the 2018-19 season, one in which Van Dijk played a pivotal role in Liverpool's Champions League triumph, no opponent was able...

Dutch defeat extinguishes goodwill England generated in World Cup run

GUIMARAES, Portugal -- For 120 minutes of this Nations League semifinal in Guimaraes, Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk was booed by England's vast army of travelling supporters every time he touched the ball.

It is difficult to come up with a credible explanation for that, especially considering the contribution Van Dijk made to Liverpool's Champions League-winning campaign, but perhaps it was down to plain old envy. After all, here was a defender who produced a master class in his art, while...

 By Simon Kuper

How Memphis Depay overcame a nightmare childhood and failure at Man United to become the Netherlands' star forward

Follow the journey of the UEFA Nations League semifinalists as they prepare battle it out to reach the final at the Estádio do Dragão.

"I have made mistakes in my life," says Memphis Depay at the start of his new autobiography, which veers from heartrending to uplifting and back. "I have taken and handed out many punches, and have fallen on my face countless times."

Now, at age 25, Olympique Lyon's Dutch forward tells us: "I'm not even halfway through what I want to achieve. It's quite a list. Playing for Real Madrid. Winning the Champions League. Getting the Golden Ball for world's best player. Having €100 million in my...

England hope Nations League success will lead to Euro 2020 and World Cup glory

PORTO -- When you haven't won a major trophy of any description since 1966, literally anything will do to end that barren run. So England will certainly celebrate success in the inaugural UEFA Nations League if Gareth Southgate's team emerge as winners in Portugal this week.

It may feel like international football's version of the Community Shield or UEFA Super Cup -- nobody would suggest the Nations League will become a rival to the World Cup or European Championship as a trophy that really matters...