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Southgate expecting tough battle against Netherlands

Gareth Southgate
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England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed he’s expecting a tough matchup when his team faces the Netherlands next summer.

The Three Lions will face Netherlands in the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League and Southgate expects a tough game against a Dutch team that overcame France and Germany to make it to the final four.

“I watched a lot of Portugal at the last European Championship. I was a technical analyst for UEFA during that, so I was really impressed by their adaptability,” he said, according to FourFourTwo.

“A very smart coach [Fernando Santos] who had good players to work with, but tactically was excellent throughout the tournament. They’re now hosting, and they’ll be very, very strong on the back of winning the European Championship.

“Holland, I’ve got to know Ronald [Koeman] a little bit from his time at Everton and again I really like what he’s done with the team – some very exciting young players coming through.”

“We played them in his first match where he hadn’t had time really to work with the players, but we knew already – with [Georginio] Wijnaldum, [Virgil] Van Dijk, [Patrick] Van Aanholt, people like that who are playing in England – that they’ve got some very good players, and the way that he will want to play and he’ll coach them. You can see that starting to come together already.”

Southgate added: “And Switzerland, we played in September in a friendly and they played us off the park for 45 minutes. I thought they were very good in the World Cup, they had one bad day against Sweden. So, I think it’s a very open draw, an exciting draw because it’s four teams who haven’t had huge success over the years.”

“Portugal have had more recent success than any of us [winning Euro 2016], Holland have been a while [without success], we’ve been ages! So, I think all of the supporters will be excited by it, and I think it’s going to be a really enjoyable summer.”