Portugal 1-0 Holland: Goncalo Guedes fires hosts to UEFA Nations League glory


There was a moment, deep in the second half, when Cristiano Ronaldo surged back to his own penalty area and began to bark out orders.

Rui Patricio, the Wolves goalkeeper, was on the end of a lecture, as were a number of Portugal’s defenders, including the outstanding Ruben Dias. Given they had just made the breakthrough, the message Ronaldo was putting across was clear: this does not slip.

Ronaldo will never forget the pain he went through in 2004, when Portugal lost at home in the final of the European Championships to Greece, and he had no intention of going through a similar experience. This may be a new – often derided – tournament, but it how he wanted to win it. 

Cristiano Ronaldo hoisted the UEFA Nations League trophy aloft as the celebrations began for the hosts in Porto

Cristiano Ronaldo hoisted the UEFA Nations League trophy aloft as the celebrations began for the hosts in Porto

Ronaldo carried off another piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet after the narrow 1-0 victory in Porto

Ronaldo carried off another piece of silverware to the trophy cabinet after the narrow 1-0 victory in Porto 

There were euphoric celebrations from Ronaldo, Silva and Co to contrast with the Dutch despair at full time

There were euphoric celebrations from Ronaldo, Silva and Co to contrast with the Dutch despair at full time 

Goncalo Guedes celebrated breaking the deadlock as Portugal turned their early second-half pressure into a goal

Goncalo Guedes celebrated breaking the deadlock as Portugal turned their early second-half pressure into a goal

The midfielder rifled his effort on goal past the despairing dive of Daley Blind and the flimsy wrist of Jasper Cillessen

The midfielder rifled his effort on goal past the despairing dive of Daley Blind and the flimsy wrist of Jasper Cillessen

Virgil van Dijk led the inquiry after Holland fell behind and their stubborn defence was finally breached by the hosts

Virgil van Dijk led the inquiry after Holland fell behind and their stubborn defence was finally breached by the hosts

MATCH FACTS:  

Portugal: Patrício, Semedo, Fonte, Dias, Guerreiro, Fernandes (Moutinho), Danilo, Carvalho, Silva, Ronaldo, Guedes (Silva)

Unused substitutes: Cancelo, Sousa, Jota, Malheiro de Sá, Neves, Rui, Fernandes, Beto, Felix 

Goals: Guedes (60)

Holland: Cillessen, Dumfries, de Ligt, van Dijk, Blind, de Roon (de Jong), de Jong, Wijnaldum, Bergwijn (van der Beek), Depay, Babel (Promes)

Unused substitutes: Hateboer, Aké, Pröpper, van Aanholt, Vermeer, de Vrij, Strootman, Vilhena, Bizot 

And how he enjoyed it. Then again, they all did. Portugal – the reigning European Champions, remember – worked over time to grind out a victory that was secured thanks to Goncalo Guedes’s 60th minute drive. For all their huff and puff, Holland couldn’t get near them.

‘They are the masters of a defending a lead,’ Ronald Koeman, the beaten head coach, said ruefully.

Few could begrudge Portugal this triumph. They were the only team in the top tier of qualifying to go through the group stages unbeaten and the thrilling way they beat Switzerland 3-1 here in the semi-finals was the standout performance of the finals.

Hosting the tournament is a responsibility the Portuguese have taken seriously and the mood outside the stadium beforehand was in keeping with a final – with local fans were hanging off walls and lamp-posts to see the team bus arrive.

Once inside, though, it was impossible not to see the amount of empty seats dotted around the stadium. There was also a large section of England fans, who made themselves noticed with banners and boos for Virgil van Dijk every time he…



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