With things gearing up towards England’s UEFA semi-final match against the Netherlands on Thursday, all eyes are turning to Porto, and the preparations going on. Both teams are quite young – the coaches on either side believe firmly in allowing young blood to rise through the ranks. With all of the other major matches that have happened recently, it promises to be interesting viewing.
This will be the second of the semi-finals, with the victors set to meet either Portugal or Switzerland in the final on June 9th. The previous 21 times these nations have met show that they’re evenly matched – with 6 wins each and 9 draws. This doesn’t make it any easier for anyone looking to bet on the outcome. England’s success in the 2018 World Cup – reaching the semi-finals for the first time since 1990, means that fans are confident that Southgate can pull it out of the bag. However, nothing is quite set in stone just yet.
In fact, even the line-up for England is still up in the air, particularly for forward Harry Kane. Only recently back from injury, it’s still unclear as to whether Gareth Southgate will risk putting him up front – not so good for anyone who has odds on him to score the first goal of the match. Unsurprisingly, many of the other Tottenham and Liverpool players are expected to be rested by Southgate in the wake of the Champions League final in Madrid. Kane played then as well, but his performance was sub-par, leaving many questioning if he was fit to come back at all. Things aren’t looking as good as they could for the England side, although they have been playing well recently.
The Netherland’s side isn’t to be dismissed either. They may have faced dramatic setbacks – the biggest being their utter failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup – but the side has come back with a vengeance. Once they managed to get their management issues straightened out they’ve gone on to prove that while they were down, they’re certainly not out. Their performances so far in the Nations League show just how far they’ve come. The Dutch hold the dubious accolade of being the team to reach the most World Cup finals without ever actually winning, giving England fans some hope that they’ll crash and burn now that the pressure is well and truly on.
The coaches on both sides have previous experience in England vs Netherlands matches. Ronald Koeman was one of the main reasons England failed in securing a place in the 1994 World Cup. Southgate, on the other hand, has very fond memories of the Euro ’96 win against the Dutch, describing the 4-1 result as one of his “best days in football”.
With all of this uncertainty, it’s hard to know whether it’s worthwhile placing a bet on the outcome of the match or the goal scorers at all. It helps if you can find a good comparison of bookies, so you can choose the best odds. Find all top bookmaker reviews at freebets.co.uk. Many betting sites are still offering reasonable odds on the match, if you know where to look. As it seems that both teams are quite evenly matched, there’s no way of telling which way this semi-final will go. There seems to be a high likelihood that it will go to extra-time or even penalties, which hasn’t always worked in England’s favour in the past.