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2022–23 Nations League finals

Even though the domestic season has ended, you still have a ton of football to look forward to this summer, beginning with this month’s Nations League finals.

The final four teams will meet in the Netherlands to determine the champion of the twice-yearly international competition between European nations.

The four teams competing are the hosts the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, and Spain. The matches will take place between June 14 and June 18.

The four teams competing in the finals are all ranked among the top 10 teams in the world according to Fifa.

The Netherlands, who are leading the quartet, are in sixth place, followed by Croatia, Italy, and Spain (10th).

Only Croatia enters the competition without having appeared in a previous Nations League final.

In the first tournament, which Portugal won in 2019, the Dutch finished second. In the tournament’s second year, in 2021, Spain overcame Italy in the semifinals but lost to France in the championship game.

Virgil van Dijk, a defender for Liverpool and the Netherlands, said: “It can be difficult finding the energy at the end of the season but in our case, almost 10 of our squad have already experienced a Nations League final and want to win it.

“After losing the final against Portugal, we realised that we should have handled it better. It was the first edition, we didn’t really know how or what. Now the feeling is definitely there. We’d like to win the prize although Croatia is a tough team to beat.”

Croatia may be making its finals debut, but the team has experience in the Nations League after finishing first in Group A1 owing in part to a victory in France in June of last year.

The Croats also had a successful World Cup in Qatar, eliminating Brazil on their way to the last four. They lost to the eventual champions Argentina there, but their victory over Morocco earned them third place.

The Netherlands are also in a strong position, and their six-game unbeaten run in qualifying for the Nation League finals was part of a 20-game winning streak under manager Louis van Gaal that was only snapped by France in March of this year.

In Qatar, they advanced to the round of eight before falling to Argentina in a shootout.

Spain performed worse than expected at the World Cup, losing to Morocco in a shocking shootout in the round of 16. Luis de la Fuente immediately took over as coach after Luis Enrique left.

The former Under-21s coach had a shaky start, defeating Scotland 2-0 in a Euro 2024 qualifying match after upsetting Norway.

Champions of Europe in reign Italy was completely disqualified from the World Cup after falling to North Macedonia in the qualifying play-offs.

In a tough Nations League group that also included England, Germany, and Hungary, Roberto Mancini’s team came out on top. But since then, they’ve been uneven, dropping two of four games, including a 2-1 defeat to the Three Lions at home in the Euro 2024 qualifying round.

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