Portugal backs up its UEFA EURO 2016 title by winning the inaugural UEFA Nations League crown.
A goal by Gonçalo Guedes at the hour mark was the difference as Portugal, the host country, defeated the Netherlands 1-0 in Porto.
Guedes’ goal was his fourth in 17 appearances for Portugal, but his first in a competitive match.
Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a hat trick to defeat Switzerland in the semifinal, says he has no plans to retire from the national team.
“As long as I have the strength and motivation, I will continue to represent the colors of Portugal. When I am with the national team I feel like at home,” he told Portuguese TV station RTP.
Portugal is on a 10-match unbeaten run (five wins, five draws) and has not lost a competitive home match since September 2014, covering 14 games.
Earlier on Sunday in Guimaraes, England won third place by beating Switzerland 6-5 on penalties after neither team could score through the additional 30 minutes of extra time. England dominated the game, having a goal disallowed by VAR and hitting the woodwork four times.
England’s third place finish was one better than last year’s World Cup, where they failed to win the third place match.
Besides the trophy, Portugal took home $11.9 million in prize money. The Dutch made $10.2 million for finishing second, England $9.1 million for third and Switzerland $7.9 million for fourth.
UEFA earmarked a total of $86.25 million in solidarity and bonus fees for the 55 national associations competing in the Nations League.
UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying now takes center stage, with Portugal beginning defense of its title in Serbia on Sept. 7.
Summer of Soccer Just Beginning
The Nations League may have run its course, but there are three other major tournaments that have either in the early stage or are about to begin.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicked off on June 7 and is currently in the group stage. The defending champion United States and the host country France are considered the favorites.
This Friday, the Copa America begins in Brazil. Japan and Qatar have been invited to join the 10 national teams that make up CONMEBOL for the 46th edition of the tournament. Chile has won the last two editions of the Copa America. The hosts Brazil will be without Neymar, who suffered an ankle injury last week in a friendly against Qatar.
On Saturday, the 15th Concacaf Gold Cup gets underway. The tournament is expanding from 12 to 16 teams and will be held mostly in the United States, with Costa Rica and Jamaica each hosting a pair of first round matches. The United States is the defending champion, but comes into the event with two poor performances in warm-up matches.
The Women’s World Cup, Copa America and Gold Cup are all holding their final on July 7.
Photo: Getty Images