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UEFA Nations League roll of honour

There have been three final tournaments in the competition – we look back at how they panned out.

Spain celebrates with the trophy in 2023
Spain celebrates with the trophy in 2023 UEFA via Getty Images

Spain became the third winners of the UEFA Nations League in 2023, joining Portugal and France in having their name engraved on the trophy. We look back over the three editions of the competition so far.

Previous Nations League winners

2023: Spain 0-0aet Croatia, Spain won 5-4 on penalties (Rotterdam)
2021: France 2-1 Spain (Milan)
2019: Portugal 1-0 Netherlands (Porto)


Eventual finalists Croatia and Spain both stumbled on their route to the last four. For Zlatko Dalić's Croatia, that came in the form of a slow start in Group 1, with just one point from their opening two games before a run of four consecutive victories. As for La Roja, a loss at home to Switzerland left them needing to beat Portugal to progress – which they did thanks to a late Álvaro Morata goal in Braga.

Another late winner then edged them past Italy in Enschede, Joselu clinching a 2-1 victory and a place in the final. Croatia required extra time against the Netherlands, meanwhile, Noa Lang's 96th-minute leveller for the hosts preceding a goal from Bruno Petković and a Luka Modrić penalty in a 4-2 success.

Highlights: Netherlands 2-4 Croatia

Modrić and Co were then taken to extra time again in the showpiece, with neither side able to find a breakthrough inside 90 minutes in Rotterdam – or during the additional half-hour that followed. Ultimately, it took penalties to separate the teams, Spain goalkeeper Unai Simón denying both Lovro Majer and Bruno Petković before Dani Carvajal sealed his nation's first international title in 11 years.

Third-place play-off: Netherlands 2-3 Italy (Enschede)

Player of the Finals: Rodri (Spain)


Spain had thumped Germany 6-0 in their last group game to leapfrog their opponents at the top of a four-team qualifying section that included Switzerland and Ukraine. They then defeated new European champions Italy 2-1 in the semi-finals thanks to a Ferran Torres double.

France, meanwhile, had dropped just two points in League A as they ended Portugal's title defence, with Croatia and Sweden well adrift. Les Bleus then came from two down to overcome Belgium 3-2 in another pulsating last-four encounter.

Highlights: Belgium 2-3 France

Didier Deschamps' charges repeated the trick in the final. Trailing to Mikel Oyarzabal's 64th-minute opener, Karim Benzema immediately curled in a sensational equaliser before Kylian Mbappé burst through to fire in the winner with ten minutes to play.

Third-place play-off: Italy 2-1 Belgium (Turin)

Player of the Finals: Sergio Busquets (Spain)


Watch Ronaldo's semi-final hat-trick against Switzerland

The four League A groups contained only three teams each in the first edition of the competition, but Portugal were the sole side to emerge unbeaten from a section as they saw off Italy and Poland. Cristiano Ronaldo's hat-trick then ensured they beat Switzerland 3-1 in the semi-finals.

The Netherlands hurdled England by the same scoreline in their last-four assignment, albeit after extra time, having also needed a stoppage-time Virgil van Dijk equaliser in Germany to overhaul France on head-to-head record in their qualifying pool.

2019 final highlights: Portugal 1-0 Netherlands

UEFA EURO 2016 winners Portugal then added the inaugural Nations League trophy to their haul in front of their own fans at the Estádio do Dragão in Porto. Gonçalo Guedes proved to be the match winner, scoring his first competitive international goal on the hour after a driving run and cutback from Bernardo Silva.

Third-place play-off: Switzerland 0-0aet England, England won 6-5 on penalties (Guimarães)

Player of the Finals: Bernardo Silva, Portugal