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De Ligt lands in Turin ahead of proposed Juventus move

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s recruiting tactics with Matthijs de Ligt during the UEFA Nations League final appears to have worked.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Juventus posted a video on the club’s social media accounts that shows de Ligt arriving in Turin, Italy on a private jet, likely to sign his contract and get started with the club. It’s a huge precursor to an announcement for one of the top targets of this summer’s transfer market, and it represents a huge coup for Juventus.

Just a month ago or so, Juventus were on the outside looking in, with Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, and even Manchester United and Manchester City all mentioned in the race to sign the Netherlands and Ajax star centerback. And yet, PSG, which appeared in the lead at one point, lost ground to Juventus, and de Ligt now gets to compete alongside Ronaldo after facing him twice over the past season.

It’s the latest move in the incredible rise of de Ligt over the past three years. De Ligt was promoted to Ajax’s first team as a 17-year-old, and pretty quickly established himself as a huge talent for the Netherlands. Then Netherlands National Team coach Danny Blind called up de Ligt to start in a crunch World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria, with the Netherlands desperate for some defensive answers.

It’s didn’t exactly go well.

And yet, de Ligt has overcome those experiences and raised his game to new levels each of the last two years. Alongside Davinson Sanchez, Ajax made it to the Europa League final, and last year, de Ligt scored as Ajax defeated Juventus on the way to the UEFA Champions League semifinals. Ajax was just a few minutes away from the finals before Tottenham’s late winner.

At the same time, along with Virgil Van Dijk, they form one of the strongest centerback partnerships in Europe, and look set to lead the Netherlands to UEFA Euro 2020.

As mentioned before, it’s a massive get for de Ligt, assuming that the soon-to-be 20-year-old can settle in Turin. Juventus’ defensive corps continues to grow older, with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini both well into their 30s. De Ligt’s arrival can help give some stability at the back and allow Juventus to transition to the next generation of centerbacks.

Nations League: Netherlands comes back, beats England in extra time

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In a wild match decided by numerous defensive errors, it was the Netherlands that made the most of its opportunities.

Despite trailing early, the Netherlands came back from a goal down to defeat England, 3-1 after extra time on Thursday in Guimaraes, Portugal. With the win, the Netherlands advances to the UEFA Nation’s League Final, where it will face host nation Portugal. England, meanwhile, will face Switzerland in the third-place game back in Guimaraes.

With the match coming at the end of a long season for many of the players on the pitch, whether they played for Tottenham, Liverpool or Ajax, it seemed that there were moments of lost focus, which enabled both team’s attacking talent to flourish.

England and the Netherlands traded blows early, with Jadon Sancho taking on Netherland’s right back Denzel Dumfries and former Manchester United winger Memphis Depay taking strikes on Jordan Pickford in goal.

It was Matthijs de Ligt who made the game’s first crucial mistake, turning the ball over right on the edge of the box. Rashford pounced on the error and drove towards goal before de Ligt took Rashford down from behind with a slide tackle, leading to a penalty kick.

After a long wait, Rashford stepped to the spot and calmly sent Jasper Cillessen the wrong way to put England in front in the 32nd minute.

Although the Netherlands was creating chances, England seemed comfortably on its way to the Nation’s League final until a mistake on corner kick marking. In the 73rd minute, de Ligt made up for his earlier mistake by rising highest on a corner kick and scoring to tie the match.

The back and forth match came to life after de Ligt’s goal as England had a goal ruled out by VAR and the Netherlands thought they may have earned a penalty kick but it was waived off after a VAR check.

A beautiful move, started by Ben Chillwell down the left wing with a silky smooth Raheem Sterling backheel and a Jordan Henderson through ball saw Jesse Lingard look to have put England up 2-1. However, Lingard’s goal was called back for offside after a lengthy check.

Minutes later at the other end, Ben Chillwell had the ball ricochet off his hip and arm in the box, leading the Dutch players to call for a handball. However under the new IFAB rules, it was ruled unintentional and the appeals were waived off.

In extra time, it was yet another defensive error that effectively decided the match. John Stones got caught with his eye off the ball and Depay stole it before taking a shot on goal. Pickford made an incredible save but after Quincy Promes dashing run into the box, Promes shot deflected off Kyle Walker and in for an own goal to give the Netherlands a one goal lead in the 97th minute.

Promes made it 3-1 to the Orange in the 114th minute, firing into an empty net after another England miscue gave the Netherlands a great opportunity.

Premier League players headline international squads for World Cup qualifiers

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It’s that time of the year again, when international fixtures come into focus and Premier League players jet all around the world to represent their nations.

On Friday, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Wales were the latest national teams to release their squads for upcoming friendlies and World Cup qualifiers, and plenty of Premier League players will be taking part.

Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League hero from last week Emre Can joins Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil in Germany’s squad ahead of games with the Czech Republic and Norway. Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake, Manchester United’s Daley Blind and Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum headline the Premier League contingent in the Netherlands squad, and Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is one of 16 Belgian National Team players plying their trade in Great Britain.

Wales’ squad meanwhile is entirely British-based with the exception of Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale.

Here’s a look at some of the latest international squad announcements. The Premier League will pause from August 28 through September 5.

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