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Portugal defeat Netherlands to win first Nations League
[PORTO] Portugal added the inaugural Nations League title to their Euro 2016 triumph as Goncalo Guedes's strike on the hour won an underwhelming final 1-0 against the Netherlands in Porto on Sunday.
The Dutch defensive pairing of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt largely kept Cristiano Ronaldo quiet, but Valencia winger Guedes proved the match winner as his shot had too much power for Jasper Cillessen in the Netherlands goal.
"I am sure this tournament will become a classic because it is a tournament for the entire European family," said Portugal coach Fernando Santos.
"To be the first winner will go down in history. It is a joy to have won the first edition, now we must continue to work and pursue further goals."
Portugal had the advantage of an extra day's rest and not being forced to extra time against Switzerland in their semi-final as the Dutch were in seeing off England on Thursday.
And the hosts looked the fresher throughout with Ronald Koeman's men jaded at the end of a long season.
"If we were tired I don't know, but we were not good enough," admitted Koeman.
"They defended well and the were very compact in their game, but you have to be better with the ball and we were not."
The match had been billed as a showdown between Ronaldo and Van Dijk but with the Dutch captain again rock solid at the back, Portugal's main threat came from midfield with Bernardo Silva rightfully winning player of the tournament.
"I'm very happy, very proud. It's my first title with my country," said Silva, who also won an English domestic treble with Manchester City this season.
"Thank you to the Portuguese people, what a night for us, what a night for the country!"
Silva provided the one true moment of quality to decide the game.
He broke through the Dutch defence and then picked out Guedes, who bravely ignored playing in Ronaldo to drill a low shot past Cillessen himself.
"If you want to win you had to play well, and if Portugal won we had to play well whether it was handsome or not," said Santos.
The Netherlands had come from 2-0 down away to Germany in their final Nations League group game and a goal behind against England to make the final.
Rui Patricio was quickly called into action to stop Memphis Depay's downwards header to prevent another comeback.
However, unlike in midweek when Frenkie de Jong dominated the midfield against England, Holland's latest Barcelona-bound star was unable to seize control of the game.
And Portugal held on comfortably in the final stages to make amends for losing the Euro 2004 final to Greece on home soil that left a teenage Ronaldo in tears.
"We've made a lot of progress. We have to be very proud of ourselves; now disappointment is in our heads but we have to keep the heads up," said Van Dijk, after the Netherlands failed to even qualify for the last two major tournaments.
"It's been a good season but hopefully next season is going to be even better. That's the only thing I'm striving for."