FIVE NATIONS RESURRECTED BY THE NATIONS LEAGUE
The Dutch have missed out on the most recent European Championships and World Cup but an exciting new side, containing Ajax young stars Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong among others, topped a group including France and Germany. They will be in the finals in Portugal this summer.
Vladimir Petkovic’s men have built a reputation based on pragmatism and a steely defence rather than a flowing attack, but in their two Nations League home games – against Iceland and Belgium – they netted a remarkable 11 goals. Their comeback from two goals down to defeat the Red Devils was particularly remarkable.
Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament finals since 1998 and have suffered numerous heartaches in the years since. However, they have now been presented with a glorious opportunity to end that run. Three victories in a row ensured they were promoted to Group B and have a playoff spot for the 2020 European Championships.
Only two years after being recognised by UEFA, Kosovo are now on a ninegame unbeaten run and into Group C of the Nations League. Vice-captain Valon Berisha plays for Lazio while they have players in the German and Dutch top flights alongside Belgium, Croatia and Switzerland. A nation who have momentum and are worth keeping an eye on.
Formerly part of the USSR, the nation have never qualified for a major finals since the Soviet bloc split but they now have an exciting young squad. They have lost just three of their last 19 internationals and dropped just two points in their Nations League group. Vladimir Weiss’ side may be under the radar but their future looks bright.