Our event of the day is the UEFA Nations League semi-final between the Netherlands and England at the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques in Guimarães, Portugal. Both teams, eager to prove themselves once more on the world stage, came through tough groups in the round-robin stage to appear in tonight’s match. The game sees the Dutch rebuilding effort of Ronald Koeman take on the Gareth Southgate’s young and revitalised England squad. This is a match you won’t want to miss. The Netherlands have more than made up for failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. They were drawn into a Nations League group with Germany and World Cup champions France. After losing their opening game to France, they bounced back with a 3-0 win over Germany and a 2-0 win in the reverse fixture with France. They ended the round-robin by salvaging a 2-2 draw with Germany, scoring twice in the final ten minutes to take a point from the game. They were able to hold their own against the world champions as well as take advantage of a German team in disarray following a disastrous World Cup campaign.
Meanwhile, England found themselves in a group with Spain and Croatia, the team that beat them in the semifinals of the World Cup. England had a mediocre start, losing 2-1 to Spain and tying 0-0 with Croatia. However, they turned themselves around and made one of the biggest comebacks of the competition, winning 3-2 against Spain before securing the group in a 2-1 win over Croatia in front of a home crowd at Wembley. Gareth Southgate has built a young, speedy squad that has already proven that they can compete on the world stage and that speed may give them an advantage tonight. The Dutch defence is headlined by young superstar Matthijs de Ligt. One of Europe’s hottest prospects in the summer transfer market, de Ligt seemed at a disadvantage when he played against the fast-paced offense of Tottenham Hotspur during the Champions League semifinals as part of Ajax’s losing side. One of the core pieces of the fast-paced offense, Raheem Sterling, might get the opportunity to captain the side as he makes his 50th appearance for the national team. For their part, the Netherlands present a strong side that seems to have overcome the performance crisis the national side has gone through over the last few years. The team has been rebuilt with fresh faces, with the current squad’s most-capped player being Ryan Babel at 56. Youth and energy has become the priority, all under the leadership of the energetic and pragmatic Ronald Koeman. Tonight is a chance for the Netherlands to show that they are truly a contender once more while England have the opportunity to prove the worth of their young squad. This is a match you won’t want to miss.
Honourable mentions around the globe go to the Cricket World Cup, where the West Indies face Australia at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. The West Indies are 1-0 so far after prevailing in a dominant performance over Pakistan. Australia are also 1-0 after holding off a strong effort from an eager Afghanistan side. With both teams expected to make deep tournament runs, this will be an unmissable match. In the NHL, the Boston Bruins host the St Louis Blues at TD Garden for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The series is tied at 2-2 with neither team able to find dominance in the series so far. Make sure you catch the latest match in this thrilling series. The quarterfinals of the French Open continue today after rain postponed play yesterday. In the men’s draw, Dominic Thiem plays Karen Khachanov while Novak Djokovic faces Alexander Zverev to determine who will play in the second men’s semi-final. In the women’s draw, Madison Keys goes up against Ashleigh Barty while defending champion Simona Halep faces Amanda Anisimova to determine who will play against one another in the semi-final. With places in the final four on the line, this is tennis you won’t want to miss. The World Cup of Darts begins at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg. On the PGA Tour, the RBC Canadian Open begins at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club in Hamilton, Ontario. In the WNBA, the Connecticut Sun host the Los Angeles Sparks at Mohegan Sun Arena in Montville, Connecticut.
Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!
Photos by UEFA Nations League
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