Rising Nations

The Netherlands

The Netherlands have missed out on the most recent European Championships and World Cup but an exciting new side, containing young stars Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie De Jong among others, topped a group including France and Germany. They narrowly missed out in this year’s final against Portugal.


Vladimir Petkovic’s men have built a reputation based on pragmatism and a steely defence rather than a flowing attack, but in their two Nations League home games — against Iceland and Belgium — they netted a remarkable 11 goals. They gave a fine showing of themselves in the inaugural finals despite finishing fourth.


Scotland have not qualified for a major tournament finals since 1998 and have suffered numerous heartaches in the years since. Three victories in a row ensured they were promoted to Group B and have a playoff spot for the 2020 European Championships.


Only two years after being recognised by UEFA, Kosovo are now on a remarkable 14-game unbeaten run and are into Group C of the Nations League. Vice-captain Valon Berisha plays for Lazio while they have players in the German and Dutch top flights as well as Belgium, Croatia and Switzerland. A nation who have momentum and are worth keeping an eye on.


Formerly part of the USSR, Georgia have not qualified for a major finals since the Soviet bloc split but they now have an exciting young squad — they have lost just six of their last 23 internationals, and dropped just two points in their Nations League group. Vladimir Weiss’ side may be under the radar but their future looks bright.

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