England nearly brought football home in the summer when they reached the World Cup semi final for the first time since 1990. Next summer they get the chance to bring home the inaugural UEFA Nations League trophy when they play in the final four in Portugal.
The Three Lions topped their group in UEFA’s latest competition after a famous away victory in Spain and a dramatic comeback win over Croatia at Wembley, to get revenge for the heartbreak of the World Cup and Euro 2008 qualification.
That meant that Croatia were relegated from the top tier, joining Germany, whilst Spain remained in the top tier but didn’t go through to the finals.
England have their first chance to win silverware since winning the Tournoi de France in 1997, or the World Cup in 1966 if you don’t count the tournament in France for some reason.
Netherlands, who didn’t qualify for the World Cup in Russia, overturned their fortunes to top a group that had the relegated Germans and world champions France but they Oranje topped it.
Hosts of the finals Portugal went undefeated in a group with Italy and Poland, with the Poles getting relegated from the group.
Switzerland surprised World Cup semi finalists Belgium in their final, winning 5-2 from 2-0 down after 17 minutes, to top their group on goal difference, with Iceland dropping into League B.
At least three of the teams would not have been favourites going into the groups, making the semi finals very interesting.
The final four teams are also guaranteed a play-off to qualify for Euro 2020, as well as the teams that topped their groups in the other ‘Leagues,’ should they not qualify using the traditional method.
Ukraine, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Denmark will all join the final four sides. and the four nations who finished second in their League A groups, the next time the tournament is played.
For now though the focus will be on whether England can bring it home or not.