THIS TIME they did it without him. For once the Crown Prince of Portuguese football, Cristiano Ronaldo, was not the star of the show.
Instead, it was Goncalo Guedes who scored the only goal of the night in Porto to enable Portugal to add the Nations League to the European Championships they won in 2026.
The Valencia striker, on the bench for the semi-final, fired in the only goal of the game on the hour in Porto for his fourth goal for his country.
On the night it was Portugal’s younger generation who held the key and not the old guard – in the shape of 22-year-old Guedes, his goal set up by the excellent Bernardo Silva, 24, who simply ran the Dutch ragged.
Ronald Koeman’s side simply never got going – and the much-vaunted contest between Ronaldo and the best defender in the world in Virgil van Dijk never materialized.
The first flash of anger from you know who came just five minutes before half time, with a typical shimmy and step inside, and then a drive straight down Cillesen’s throat.
The Dutch, revived by Ronald Koeman, had ousted both France and Germany in their group games before ending England’s hopes here in Portugal on Thursday. Here though, they were thoroughly outplayed.
They had a rare moment, as Frankie de Jong muscled past Nelson Semedo, and Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio, a virtual spectator up until then, had to plunge to save.
It was a brief moment of relief. The excellent Silva once again ran at the heart of a retreating Dutch defense and laid the ball square for Guedes, who made no mistake as he cracked his shot into the corner despite Cillesen getting a fingertip to the ball.
It was no more than Portugal deserved.
At last the Dutch roused themselves, as Memphis Depay powered in a header, but again Patricio was equal to it, after a fumble. Then Marten de Roon cracked a shot just over. It was way too little, too late.
Portugal (4-3-3): Patricio 7; Semedo 7, Dias 7, Fonte 7, Guerreiro 6; Danilo 6, Carvalho 7, Fernandes 7 (Moutinho 82 6); Ronaldo 7, Guedes 7 (R Siva 75 6), B Silva 8.
Subs: Sa, Beto, Cancelo, Moutinho, Sousa, Jota, R Silva, Neves, Rui, Pizzi, Felix.
Holland (4-3-3): Cillesen 7; Dumfries 6, De Ligt 6, Van Dijk 7, Blind 6; De Roon 6 (L de Jong 83 6), F De Jong 7, Wijnaldum 7; Bergwijn 6 (Van De Beek 59 6), Depay 7, Babel 6 (Promes 46 6).
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