Trent superb & Shaqiri injured as England finish third in UEFA Nations League

9 June 2019

Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a crossing masterclass as England finished third in the Nations League, beating an injured Xherdan Shaqiri‘s Switzerland.


The two countries lost in the semi-finals in midweek, falling short of the final against Netherlands and Portugal respectively.

They met in Guimaraes on Sunday, where three Liverpool players started proceedings on a baking-hot afternoon.

Alexander-Arnold was preferred to Kyle Walker at right-back, while Joe Gomez came in for John Stones, who suffered a night to forget against the Netherlands.

On the other side, Shaqiri was again deployed in a No. 10 role for the Swiss, with third place up for grabs in the Nations League.

In truth, a pitiful game saw both sets of players seemingly longing for their summer holidays, as a dire 120 minutes and penalties unfolded.

There was no doubting who the star man was in Portugal: Alexander-Arnold.

He produced a crossing masterclass and ran the show throughout, with former Liverpool man Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli both failing to convert easy chances after profiting from his accuracy.

The 20-year-old sent in the most crosses by an England player in a single game since David Beckham a decade ago, the majority of which were pinpoint.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Tuesday, July 3, 2018: England's substitute Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench before the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Round of 16 match between Colombia and England at the Spartak Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

On this form, there is surely no debate over who England’s first-choice right-back is, with Walker a step down from Liverpool’s newly crowned European champion.

Gomez also impressed at the heart of Gareth Southgate’s defence, although he wasn’t particularly tested in a one-sided contest.

It was a disappointing afternoon for Shaqiri, though, who struggled to get into the match and hobbled off with a calf injury in the second half.

We could be cynical and say he fancied starting his holiday early, but that may be unfair!

As was the case in Thursday’s defeat to the Netherlands, a VAR check saw a late England winner ruled out, with Callum Wilson’s goal disallowed after a foul by the Bournemouth striker.

It didn’t matter, however, and they eventually prevailed in the shootout, but Alexander-Arnold and Gomez didn’t step up and take a penalty.

Virgil van Dijk of Holland during the UEFA Nations League A group 1 qualifying match between The Netherlands and Germany at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 13, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Tom Bode/VI Images/PA Images)

The Nations League final takes place later on Sunday evening, and Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum will be aiming to get the better of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal.

Victory for Ronald Koeman’s side should only enhance Van Dijk’s Ballon d’Or chances come the end of the year.

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