THIS TIME they did it without him. For once the Crown Prince of Portuguese football, Cristiano Ronaldo, was overshadowed by the young guns.
Instead, it was Goncalo Guedes who scored the only goal of the night to enable Portugal to add the Nations League to the European Championships they won in 2026.
The £36 million Valencia striker, who survived a car crash last month when his Ferrari hit a motorbike, and who did not even make the team for the semi-final, fired in the only goal of the game on the hour.
it was Portugal’s younger generation who held the key and not the old guard last night- in the shape of 22 year old Guedes, his goal set up by the superb Bernardo Silva, 24, who simply ran the Dutch ragged.
Ronald Koeman’s side never got going – and the much-vaunted contest between Ronaldo and the best defender in the world, in Virgil van Dijk, never materialised.
Manchester City star Silva, who won the treble of Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup with his club, said: “It’s been an amazing season for me. I am proud to have won my first trophy with the national team. What a night for us and the country.”
Today is Portugal’s National Day, a Bank Holiday, and coach Fernando Santos said: “This joy is for the fans. Today the National Day will be even sunnier.
“This win is a huge mark in Portuguese football. The future is here. I dedicate this win to my mother and brother in law, who have not been well.”
Portugal dominated from start to finish, Bruno Fernandes going close several times – fizzing in a shot that Jasper Cillesen saved, then forcing the Dutch goalkeeper to turn his effort around the post, and after a fine run from Silva, cracking a shot an inch over.
The only real flash of danger from you know who came just five minutes before half time, with a typical shimmy, but he drove straight at Cillesen.
The Dutch had ousted both France and Germany in their group games before ending England’s hopes. Last night though, they were thoroughly outplayed.
Frenkie de Jong had their best chance, but Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio, a virtual spectator up until then, plunged to save.
Then the excellent Silva again ran at the heart of a retreating Dutch defence, and laid the ball square for Guedes, who cracked his shot into the corner despite Cillesen getting a fingertip to the ball.
Patricio saved Memphis Depay’s header, and Marten de Roon shot just over, but it was too little, too late for the Dutch.
Koeman said: “We were not good enough. We should have done better. Our players are not quite there yet for this level.”