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England to play Netherlands in UEFA Nations League semifinals, Portugal face Switzerland

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk says he will take the assist for the side's last-minute winner over Everton, and he sympathizes with Jordan Pickford.
Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk says he will take the assist for the side's last-minute winner over Everton, and he sympathises with Jordan Pickford.

England will play Netherlands in the semifinals of the UEFA Nations League, while Portugal, who host the tournament, take on Switzerland.

World Cup semifinalists England will face Netherlands in Guimaraes on June 6, a day after the other tie is played in Porto.

The final and third-place playoff will take place on June 9.

England qualified for the finals of the inaugural tournament after topping Group 4 of League A, ousting Spain and Croatia to secure qualification.

Netherlands progressed from Group 1, which saw them finish above the last two world champions in Germany and France.

European champions Portugal held off competition in Group 3 from Italy and Poland to secure their spot at the finals, and Switzerland produced a remarkable 5-2 win over Belgium to top Group 2, which also featured Iceland.

England boss Gareth Southgate told UEFA that the Nations League has raised the level of fixtures outside major tournaments.

"The quality of the matches is extremely high -- for the past couple of matchdays it was like the quarterfinals of a major tournament," he said. "It's been a really good initiative by UEFA.

"We play a team in Holland [Netherlands] who are at a similar stage to us, developing, lots of exciting young players in both sides and you can see the impact Ronald [Koeman] has had.

"It's a very exciting game to look forward to and for us a second semifinal. We have a bit longer to prepare for this one, so we are looking forward to the summer."

Koeman was complimentary of England's rise under Southgate, and is expecting a tough game at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques.

"We have a lot of respect for the English team," he said. "The way Gareth [Southgate] is managing the England side -- he is giving opportunities to young players -- is the same as we like to do. It's a great opportunity."

Portugal coach Fernando Santos said that he dreams of winning the trophy on home soil, but they must focus on beating Siwtzerland in the semifinals first.

"We have that dream of reaching the final and winning the trophy in our country, but we will have to work hard for it as we are going to face a great opponent in the semfinals," he said. "Switzerland are a good team, we know them well, having played them in the [World Cup] qualifiers.

"It's important to recognise their qualities. We dream of getting to the final and winning the trophy, but we will have to work hard."


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