Netherlands vs England: Picking the Best Combined XI Ahead of Thursdays Nations League Semi-Final

​Netherlands and England meet in Guimaraes on Thursday night in the semi-final of the inaugural UEFA Nations League.

The midweek meeting will provide both teams with the opportunity to progress to the final where they will play either Portugal or Switzerland, and potentially achieve some long overdue international success.

England will be looking to build on an exciting, yet ultimately unsuccessful 2018 World Cup campaign, which saw their journey come to an end at the semi-final stage. Victory in the Nations League would give Gareth Southgate and his team a huge confidence boost ahead of next year's European Championships.

Harry Kane,Virgil van Dijk

The Netherlands, on the other hand, are looking to re-establish themselves as one of the world's football superpowers after failing to qualify for the previous two major tournaments. 

With the recent emergence of Ajax's young stars, the Dutch national side are one of the most exciting teams in international football.

Ahead of this hotly anticipated Nations League semi-final, let's take a look at the best possible combined XI from both teams.


GK: Jordan Pickford

Jordan Pickford

2018/19 has been far from his best domestic season, but ​Pickford gets the nod for his excellent international performances. Since earning the number one shirt under Southgate, the former Sunderland man has barely put a foot wrong in a Three Lions shirt.

If England want to succeed on the international stage, they will need the Everton goalkeeper to maintain his current levels for his country. Netherlands' Jasper Cillessen is a quality keeper but his lack of playing time at Barcelona means he misses out in this lineup.


RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent Alexander-Arnold

​The Liverpool youth product has been immense this season and is arguably the best right-back in world football right now. ​Alexander-Arnold played a huge role in winning the Reds their sixth European Cup this season, and it was his ingenuity against Barcelona that got them to the final.

This season the Liverpudlian has sharpened his game both offensively and defensively, as he has been part of the ​Premier League's tightest defence, as well as coming third in the assists table for 2018/19.


CB: Virgil van Dijk

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One more Liverpool player and ​Champions League winner to add to this team is none other than Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman has cemented himself as one of the best, if not the best centre back in the world this season.

Winning the PFA Player of the Year award, the defender is respected among his peers and it's easy to see why. In his 64 games this season, not one player has managed to successfully complete a dribble past Van Dijk and if England are to beat Netherlands on Thursday, they will need to somehow find a way past this man.


CB: Matthijs de Ligt

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​De Ligt has made a name for himself as one of the best centre-backs in European football this season with his performances for Ajax, particularly those in the Champions League.

The partnership he is forming with Van Dijk at international level means Netherlands have one of the best defensive pairings in world football. 


LB: Ben Chilwell

Ben Chilwell

Speaking of defenders who are the subject of big money transfer rumours...Chilwell has been fantastic for the Foxes this year and he has even earned himself a regular spot in England's starting lineup.

His ability to get up and down the left of the pitch and deliver with real quality is what has made him such a standout player this season.


CM: Frenkie de Jong

Frenkie de Jong

The soon-to-be Barcelona midfielder is another of the Ajax youngsters who have shone this season. The 22-year-old doesn't seem to have any obvious weaknesses to his game and it is no surprise that Ajax earned around £70m for the Dutchman.

England may struggle in the midfield on Thursday with this man pulling the strings for the Netherlands. If the Three Lions stand any chance of success, they will need to stop him.


CM: Declan Rice

Declan Rice

The West Ham man is far from the biggest name taking part in Thursday's encounter, but his performances for the Hammers this season have been excellent and it is no surprise that he has forced his way into Southgate's team.

Central midfield was possibly England's weakest area at last summer's World Cup, but Rice has come into the side in 2019 and shored things up. His ability to win the ball and recycle possession will become an essential part of his country's game for the next few years.


CM: Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum

​Yet another Liverpool player gets the nod in this combined XI. ​Wijnaldum has excelled this season and has transformed himself from a hard-working, functional midfielder into an effective, box-to-box match-winner.

His performances in both the league and the Champions League have made him one of Europe's most reliable midfielders. 


FW: Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling

​Sterling has continued to improve his game this season and played an integral part of Manchester City's domestic treble. The influence of Pep Guardiola is clear to see and the winger is now one of the brightest talents in European football.

Having now broken a barren spell in front of goal for England in October 2018, Sterling hasn't stopped finding the back of the net for his country. He will be looking to cap off a remarkable season this week and win a rare piece of silverware with his country.


FW: Harry Kane

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​​Kane will be hoping to overcome Champions League disappointment with Tottenham Hotspur with a more successful European escapade in the Nations League. The second half of the striker's campaign has been hampered by injury, and despite coming back for the European Cup final in Madrid, he didn't seem to be fully match fit.

Kane will be looking to put that right on Thursday, and he will have the perfect opportunity to do so when he comes face to face once again with Van Dijk.


FW: Memphis Depay

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​Since his departure from Manchester United in 2017, Memphis has had somewhat of a rebirth in football. An outcast at Old Trafford, he has become the main man for Olympique Lyonnais and the Netherlands.

With ten goals and ten assists in the league this season, the 25-year-old is one to watch on Thursday.


Source : 90min

Source: 90min