After the stunning triumph at Wembley against Croatia sealed England’s place in the last four, our exciting, young England team take on the Netherlands for a place in the Nations’ League Final and the opportunity to win the first piece of major silverware since the World Cup triumph of 1966. Our Birmingham sporting dinner features the big match and analysis from two big-name ex-England players.
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk captains a typically strong Dutch side with numerous other Premier League stars in the ranks.We will be screening the match live on our giant screen and your guests will be able to enjoy a three-course pre-match meal, post-match snacks, with the lounge hosted by Adam Leventhal from Sky Sports. You will also hear from former England internationals Paul Merson and Emile Heskey, who will be providing match analysis and discussing their own glittering careers. Can Harry Kane lead the likes of Raheem Sterling, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli and Jordan Henderson to glory?
England vs The Netherlands: The Oranje enjoyed an excellent group campaign in the League of Nations, sealing a place in the last four with a 2-2 draw against Germany following a memorable 2-0 victory over World Cup winners France. The last time England faced the Dutch in a major tournament fixture was the famous European Championships group game of 1996, when an inspired England thrashed the men in orange 4-1 with two goals each from Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham. The overall record in internationals shows 6 victories apiece and 10 draws in the 22 fixtures between these two footballing nations. Liverpool superstar and Dutch captain Virgil van Dijk is a rock at the back, whilst Kevin Strootman and Liverpool’s Georginho Wijnaldum will provide a stern test in midfield, with former Man Utd forward Memphis Depay spearheading the attack. It should be a cracking match!
Paul Merson: After making his Arsenal debut in 1986, Paul soon established himself in the first team; he was a regular on the right wing in the unforgettable 1988-89 season, when Michael Thomas scored with almost the last kick of the season at Anfield to bring the title back to Highbury. During that legendary season, Paul scored 10 goals from the wing, broke into the England U21 side, and was named the PFA Young Player of the Season. He went on to have a long and glorious career with The Gunners, making 423 appearances and scoring 99 goals in all competitions; he won another League title in 1991, as well as the FA and League Cups in 1993, and the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. His first senior England cap came in 1991, and although he wasn’t always a regular, he went on to win 21 caps for his country, scoring 3 goals. On leaving Arsenal, he enjoyed further successful spells with Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, before finishing his 20 year League career off at Walsall, finally retiring in 2006. One of the game’s most colourful characters, with a wild streak off the pitch, Paul is now one of the most highly-rated speakers on the sporting lunch and dinner circuit.
Emile Heskey: After bursting onto the scene at 17 at Leicester City, Emile quickly cemented his place, enjoying a fruitful spell with the club including 2 League Cups, scoring 46 goals in 197 appearances, and breaking into the England squad. Long term admirers Liverpool snapped him up for a club record £11 million in March 2000, and he enjoyed immediate success as the Reds won an unprecedented FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup hat-trick in 2000/01. The most prolific season of Emile’s career, he bagged 22 goals in 56 games, forming a lethal partnership with Michael Owen, who he partnered to famously destroy Germany 1-5 away in Munich in September 2001. In over 4 years at Anfield he played 223 matches, scoring 60 goals, adding a second League cup in 2003! His England career flourished as despite not being prolific his all-round play and work ethic were crucial to the team. He played in two World Cups in 2002 and 2010 and Euro 2004, winning an impressive 62 caps with 7 goals. Later club spells with Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, Aston Villa, Newcastle Jets and Bolton Wanderers saw him extend his career to 22 seasons, with 164 career goals in 786 appearances.
Adam Leventhal: Our host for the evening is Sky Sports’ very own Adam Leventhal, who is a regular presenter on Sky Sports News coverage of all the big events, and a regular host of our sporting lunches and dinners across the UK. Starting at Sky as a reporter in 2003, Adam’s professionalism and obvious love of sport saw him become a presenter in 2010, and he is now one of the most recognisable faces at the broadcasting giant. A Watford fan, Adam’s knowledge of football will ensure that our guests are in for a great evening’s entertainment.
Edgbaston Stadium: We are delighted to be holding our event in the Banqueting Suite at Edgbaston Stadium, which is a fantastic large facility, perfectly suited to our event. This is the stadium’s premium pitch-facing facility, enjoying magnificent views over the middle, and plenty of natural light. Our guests will enjoy quality dining and service for which Edgbaston is rightly renowned, with ample complimentary parking for all attendees.