There is another international prize to win in Europe this weekend, and players from Manchester City and Inter Milan will be available for the four-team Nations League finals in the Netherlands.

Dutch defenders Nathan Ake and Denzel Dumfries were once again teammates after they faced each other in Manchester City’s 1-0 win over Inter on Saturday in the Champions League final.

The Nations League host team plays in the first semi-final match on Wednesday in Rotterdam against the Croatia national team with Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.

Spain could call up midfielder Rodri, whose goal made Manchester City European champions for the first time, for their second semi-final against Italy on Thursday. That match will be played in Enschede.

The final will be held on Sunday in Rotterdam, with the third-place match being played in Enschede on the same day.

Italy coach Roberto Mancini called up five Inter players, including the entire central defensive line – Francesco Acerbi, Alessandro Bastoni and Matteo Darmian – which kept striker Erling Haaland in check last weekend.

This year’s long European season has been split into two parts because of the World Cup in Qatar. Croatia finished third in that tournament, four years after reaching the final and losing to France.

“At the end of the season, there is a problem of fatigue, but we have a historic chance to win the first title,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic. The lure of a first international title seemed to convince Luka Modric to stay with the national team. Now 37, Modric has played 164 times for his country and said after leading Croatia to victory over Morocco in the third-place match in Qatar, he said he wanted to “continue until at least the Nations League and after that we’ll see”. It is the Nations League final Four Nations tournament, which teams reach by winning their first-class group. The promise of a €10.5m ($11.3m) prize from UEFA adds to the allure.


The Dutch are lacking key players in their bid to win the country’s first international title since the 1988 European Championship.

Memphis Depay’s latest injury – a calf problem she suffered in May – keeps the Netherlands’ most important striker out of the squad. Depay has averaged a goal every two matches in his 88 caps.

Matthijs de Ligt suffered a similar injury in training against Croatia. Daley Blind, his Bayern teammate, came on as a substitute.

The Netherlands finished second in the Final Four, losing to Portugal in the 2019 final after defeating England in the semifinals.


The Nations League is giving Modric and his teammates another, if not last, chance to win the title. 34-year-old Ivan Perisic and 30-year-old Brozovic still play in a consistently star-studded midfield.

Croatia qualified from a tough Nations League group that included France and World Cup finalists Denmark. Modric’s penalty at the Stade de France last June lifted Croatia to their first victory over France at the 10th attempt.

Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol will not be available this week due to a stomach muscle injury. Augsburg striker Dion Drina Belgo was added to the squad.


Inter players can quickly shake off their Champions League disappointment as the backbone of European champions Italy. Niccolo Barella and Federico DiMarco also joined the squad on Monday.

This will be Italy’s third semi-final against Spain in two years. The Azzurri won on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the Euro 2020 semi-finals in London. Spain then won 2-1 in Milan in the 2021 Nations League Final.


Spain coach Luis de la Fuente will be tested after a poor start. He replaced Luis Enrique after the national team’s poor World Cup campaign, showing some of the same problems from the past – too much possession and few scoring chances.

In March, Spain needed two late goals in a narrow 3-0 win over a Norway side who missed out on Haaland to open their qualification campaign for Euro 2024, then fell 2-0 to Scotland. And the coach is left under pressure to show significant improvement in the Final Four, as Spain reached the final in 2021 but lost to France.

“We must learn from the past, and correct what was not done well,” said Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon on Monday. “But we shouldn’t be held back by what happened next.” Spain has injury problems with Neco Williams, David Garcia and Juan Bernat unable to travel to the Netherlands. Ansu Fati, Nacho Fernandez and Fran Garcia are their substitutes.


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