The inaugural season of the UEFA Nations League has reached its semi-finals. And England look to many like the team to beat following an excellent showing, not only at the World Cup, but consistently since then. Just consider how they battled through a tough group stage featuring Spain and Croatia – the very team that took them out of the World Cup – for evidence of their credentials.
However, the Netherlands didn’t arrive here by accident. They had to fight just as hard to do so, besting Germany and World Cup champions France. To put it simply, here we have two teams at the top of their game who are just itching to prove they can win a tournament. It may not be a case of who is the weakest, but rather who is the strongest out of two incredibly skilled sides.
Netherlands vs England Prediction: Netherlands 1-2 England
Depending on the day, either could easily come out on top here. However, when you take a broader look at the form of both of these two sides over recent months, we do think that England come out with a slim advantage based on consistency. While England haven’t been perfect, they’ve certainly had a lot more positives than negatives. And although that’s also true for the Netherlands, it’s not quite as heavily weighted on the positive side, with a lot of ups and downs throughout 2018 and carrying on into this year. Still, a tough match no doubt awaits. For that reason, we are predicting a 2-1 scoreline in England’s favour.
Our recommended tip: England win
Both teams finished the group stages with seven points and have impressed thus far in the tournament. The bookmakers are, therefore, expecting this to be a close one. However, England have won their last five matches – by a considerable margin in some instances – while Netherlands have only won three and drawn two. This consistency has given the away side the edge, with low-risk 7/5 odds on a win at William Hill. Therefore, we recommend you back the slight favourites to victory here for your best chance of winning your wager.
England will no doubt take confidence in the fact that they won their last encounter with the Netherlands. And it’s a good thing that they did, as you have to go all the way back to 1996 for another England victory in this fixture. However, that’s not quite as one-sided as it sounds. The Netherlands actually only won twice in that entire period, both in 2016 and 2012. Every other match went to a draw. On that note, considering England have the last recent victory but Netherlands have a single additional win in the modern timeframe, we’re going to call it a stalemate here too.
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Players to watch: Memphis Depay & Harry Kane
Netherlands: Memphis Depay
One player who could be a serious game changer is Memphis Depay. He’s scored five times over his last five matches, and is especially dangerous in the second half. Neither France nor Germany could keep him at bay. In games like this, you need someone who can turn things around in an instant and not buckle under late game pressure. Memphis Depay is that player.
England: Harry Kane
Despite being an obvious choice, it is so with good reason. England’s attack has been led by Harry Kane in recent times. In fact, in all the goals scored during Southgate’s management of the team – which comes out at 59 – Kane has been directly involved in over a third of them. That gives us pretty good odds that he is going to be one to watch if you want to see how the momentum of this game shifts over those tense 90 minutes.