Image Courtesy: UEFA

Portugal, Champions of Europe in 2016 will host this years Nations League finals. Portugal face Switzerland in first semi-final in Porto.

Bernardo Silva: “We want to win in front of our fans”

Granit Xhaka: Swiss could “make history”

Portugal will welcome back Talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who’ll be playing his first match in competition, after missing out in league phase.

In 2004, Portugal lost out to Greece in the final of Euro 2004 by a goal to nil. Portugal will be aiming to go one further in front of their fans. However, the hosts haven’t lost a competitive game on home soil since 2014.

In a group alongside 2006 World Cup winner Italy and Poland, Portugal finished the group on top with 8 points.

On the other hand, Switzerland have lost 4 from their last 9 games. Die Nati were in a group alongside Belgium and Iceland.

Portugal are 12 competitive games unbeaten on home turf, since September 2014 and a 1-0 defeat by Albania.

These two sides were in the same group for World Cup Qualifications, but Portugal finished on top because of superior goal difference.

Switzerland defeated a Cristiano-less Portuguese side 2-0 at Basel in July 2016. However, the Portugal also defeated them 2-0 at Lisbon in October 2017.

What the Coaches had to say?

Fernando Santos, Portugal
It will be a very hard match, with two teams that like to hold onto the ball, that like possession. Switzerland also like to play long balls, utilising the characteristics of players like [Haris] Seferović; then there’s [Xherdan] Shaqiri, who likes to hold the ball up.

They are full of quality players. Our job is to think about ourselves … and to impose our game. The Portuguese national team, playing at home, want to bring joy to their fans.

Vladimir Petković, Switzerland
Portugal are certainly favourites, not just in this game, but for the tournament as a whole – they’re at home and are European champions.

They have the pedigree but so many times we’ve shown, and football has shown, that nothing is impossible. Maybe now Switzerland just need that final stamp, which we can fight for and earn against the top sides, by winning a tournament like this one.

Probale line-ups:

Portugal: Rui Patricio (GK); Joao Cancelo, Pepe, Ruben Dias, Rafeal Guerrero; William Carvalho, Ruben Neves, Bruno Fernandes; Bernardo Silva, Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo (Captain).

Switzerland players celebrating during the 6-0 thumping of Iceland

Switzerland: Yan Sommer; Kevin Mbabu, Akanji, Fabian Schaer, Ricardo Rodrguez; Granit Xhaka (Captain), Gelson Fernandes, Denis Zakaria; Xherdan Shaqiri, Stefan Zuber, Haris Seferovic.

 

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