On Thursday night, the Netherlands recorded a 3-1 victory over England to progress to the first ever Nations League final. The match was characterised by mistakes from the Three Lions.
England blunders prove costly
England took the lead on 32 minutes, as highly-rated Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt brought down England striker Marcus Rashford in the penalty area. The youngster was booked and the Manchester United stepped-up to score with the spot-kick.
De Ligt made up for his error with just 17 minutes left on the clock, as the youngster headed home from a Memphis Depay corner kick. England looked to have won the game with eight minutes remaining through a Jesse Lingard strike. However, after a VAR review, the effort was ruled out due to an offside.
As neither side could find a winner, the game then went into extra-time. A terrible mistake in the 97th minute from John Stones gifted the Oranje the lead.
The Manchester City attempted to twist away from Depay near the edge of the area, only for the Lyon star to steal the ball off him and fire a low shot towards goal. England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford produced a good low save, but Netherlands forward Quincy Promes reacted quickest and his effort found its way into the goal off Kyle Walker.
Ronald Koeman’s side sealed victory on 114 minutes and it was from another costly mistake by England. Midfielder Ross Barkley attempted to pass the ball back to Pickford, only for the ball to go straight to Depay, who squared it to Promes and the former Arsenal player finished from close-range.
In the end, there was very little between the two teams. However, the Three Lions shot themselves in the foot with those horrendous errors.
The cost of poor decisions
The Netherlands second goal looked like it was coming for a good while, as Stones had been playing out from the back in dangerous areas all game. Playing out from the back is obviously popular and many of the best teams play a similar sort of style.
However, there is playing out from the back and there is being overconfident and complacent. The strongest part of Stones game is that he can play out from the back.
His decisions in key areas are not always the best. He made some crucial mistakes at Everton overplaying. At City, he seemed to become more disciplined. Hopefully, Thursday night’s mistake will prove to be a valuable lesson for the centre-back.
The less said about Barkley’s error the better. The midfielder does have talent, but his decision making has always been poor and judging by that mistake it is not improving.
The Netherlands to play Portugal
The victory means that the Netherlands will now face Portugal in the Nations League final on Sunday night. The European champions are the favourites to record a victory. England meanwhile will play Switzerland on Sunday afternoon in the third-place play-off.
The final will be an intriguing contest with Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo coming up against the much-vaunted Dutch central defensive partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt.
The Nations League seems to have been a reasonable success in its debut campaign. It seems that the new tournament is here to stay.
Will the Netherlands go on to win the Nations League?