Be There! The Inaugural UEFA Nations League Finals in Portugal
 

Staff writer – May 28, 2019

Don’t you wish you could have attended the very first World Cup or UEFA European Championship? The UEFA Nations League is a brand-new European football (soccer) tournament that will probably become just as important as the other two.

If you are a travel agent, make sure you add this event to your portfolio now! The finals are just a few short months away and will take place in beautiful Portugal, an ideal spot for your clients’ summer vacations.

 

What is the UEFA Nations League?
 

In 2014, the UEFA decided to add a third tournament for national teams. The main reasons behind it were to give all the UEFA teams more opportunities to play against each other, and allow for more diverse match-ups. Some of the “weaker” teams, for example, will now have a chance to develop their skills by playing against more highly ranked teams.

 

The UEFA Nations League now consists of 55 men’s national and member teams, including a few not in Europe, such as Israel, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. Because the tournament was scheduled for the time usually reserved for international “friendlies,” the matches will not conflict with the World Cup or the European Championship.

 

The Season Thus Far…
 

The league phase of the tournament took place from September to November 2018 and consisted of 138 matches and 333 goals.

Teams are divided into four leagues, A–D, determined by their UEFA national team coefficients. However, only the top four winners of League A compete in the finals. The winners in Leagues B–D can be promoted to higher leagues.

The top scorer in the league phase was Aleksandar Mitrović of Serbia, with six goals. His efforts promoted Serbia from League C to League B. The top scorer in League A was Swiss striker Haris Seferović, with five goals, and his team is headed for the finals.

 

When and Where
 

The UEFA Nations League Finals will take place on 5–9 June in two Portuguese cities: Porto and Guimarães. The Porto matches will be held in Estádio do Dragão, and Estádio D. Afonso Henriques will host the Guimarães games. Portugal will face off against the Netherlands, Switzerland, and England.

What to Expect
 

The event will consist of four matches: semi-finals on 5 June (Portugal vs. Switzerland) and 6 (Netherlands vs. England), a third-place match in the afternoon of the 9th, and the final in the evening of the 9th.

If a match ends in a draw, 30 minutes will be added. If the draw remains, a penalty shoot-out will decide the match.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Juventus in Italy, did not join his national team for the league phase. Portugal is hoping to secure him for the finals.

Getting Around
 

Porto and Guimarães, both located in northern Portugal, are not far apart, so you can easily attend both semi-final matches. It is also technically possible to attend both matches on the 9th, but you may be cutting it close, especially if the third-place match runs long.

If you are driving, you can get from one city to the other in about 40 minutes. A train or bus will take about an hour and 20 minutes.

Porto is Portugal’s second-largest city and an up-and-coming tourism destination. Located right on the coast, it’s an ideal spot for your June vacation! The AC Hotel by Marriott is the closest hotel to the stadium. If you’d rather stay closer to the river, there’s the Hotel Vila Galé Porto Ribeira and the Hotel Boa-vista.

Between the football and the beach, check out Livraria Lello (the bookstore that inspired Hogwarts!), the Casa da Música, the Clérigos Tower, and the Soares dos Reis Museum.

But act fast! Tickets will be gone soon, especially if you want group tickets and great seats. Contact StubHub today to reserve your spot.