Portugal will host the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals this week, while the winners on Sunday night will automatically qualify for the 2020 UEFA Euro.
Portugal are facing Switzerland in the first UEFA Nations League semi-final at Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday night.
The European champions won the Group A3 without their best player Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Italy and Poland, noting two wins and two draws in the group stage of the competition.
Switzerland, on the other hand, are the shock participants in the finals after finishing ahead of Belgium in Group A2 on goal difference in games between the two sides.
They managed to overturn a two-goal deficit in the final round of the Group stage against the Red Devils, as a hat trick from Haris Seferovic and a goal from each Ricardo Rodriguez and Nico Elvedi, saw the Swiss side win the game 5-2 and progress into the final four of the competition.
The winner of the tie will face either England or the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League Final on Sunday night in Porto.
Cristiano Ronaldo is back in the Portugal squad and will have his debut in the competition, captaining his country on Wednesday night.
Sevilla striker Andre Silva will miss the competition for the host side, while Danilo Pereira will also be unavailable for the game against Switzerland, as he serves a one-match suspension.
Vem aí a meia-final da Liga das Nações e precisamos de ti na bancada! #TodosPortugal
🎟️ À venda no Estádio do Dragão
📅 05/06 às 19h45
🏟️ Estádio do Dragão pic.twitter.com/n50DCb7tzK
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) June 1, 2019
Switzerland head coach Vladimir Petkovic has made the decision to exclude captain Stephan Lichtsteiner from his 23-man squad for the UEFA Nations League finals.
He doesn’t have any injury concerns though, with Champions League winner Xherdan Shaquiri expected to be the leader of the Swiss national team.
What did the managers say
Fernando Santos wants to become the first coach who has guided his country to a UEFA Nations League glory.
“We want to be the first to win this competition. Playing in Portugal always motivates us. Our audience plays a very important role,” he said via the national team’s Twitter account.
“Switzerland is an opponent we know well. This is a knockout game and we want to be in the final. We are not better than anyone, but hardly anyone is better than us”
Swiss boss Petkovic said it is going to be a tough but very nice game to play right after the semi-finals draw.
“It’s always going to be a tough game, but very intriguing – a nice game to play,” he said via UEFA.
– 2011: Granit Xhaka (90') und Admir Mehmedi (15') debütieren im A-Team im Spiel in England (2:2). Bis heute kommen sie gemeinsam auf 135 Einsätze und 19 Tore.
— nationalteams_SFVASF (@SFV_ASF) June 4, 2019
“In front of their home crowd, it will definitely be special. We have also seen this in the last game against them when we lost 2-0. It won’t be easy, but, in the time since we have grown.”
Portugal have won only one major international trophy in history – the 2016 UEFA Euro in France.
They are unbeaten since the 2-1 defeat to Uruguay in the World Cup, noting three wins and five draws in the process.
The Switzerland national team are chasing their first ever international crown. Their biggest success at an international scene is reaching the World Cup quarter-finals more than 60 years ago.
Portugal and Switzerland have met each other 12 times in history, each of them winning four games and noting four draws as well.