Home Europe Euro 2024 semifinal: England 2-1 Netherlands. Watkins fires England into Berlin final against Spain

Euro 2024 semifinal: England 2-1 Netherlands. Watkins fires England into Berlin final against Spain

by editor

England will be playing against Spain in the Berlin final on Sunday.


England beat the Netherlands 2-1 to reach their second consecutive Euro final after coming back in a spectacular game decided by stoppage time goal.

It will be the third major tournament final for the Three Lions, the first they will play away from home.

The match got off to one of the best – if not the best – starts of Euro 2024 when the Netherlands opened the scoring in Dortmund early on in the 7th minute.

Xavi Simons snatched the ball from the English defence as they failed to clear it away and pointed directly towards the goal to fire a banger outside the box into the far post.

England’s team furiously team threw themselves forward in retaliation, playing one of their best games in the tournament so far.

Harry Kane nearly found the equaliser with a skipping shot from the distance, and then tried again with a powerful attempt from inside the box.

The shot went over the bar, but the referee spotted a fault on the England n9 by Dumfries and awarded a penalty.

It was Kane’s turn to have a shot again. After an interminable pause on the penalty spot, he slammed the ball into the low left corner to make it level 1-1 in the 18th minute.

England kept pushing and Dumfries turned into a hero just a few minutes later, when he literally stopped England’s potential 2-1 on the line – after a dazzling slalom-run into the box by Phil Foden.

The Inter Milan defender nearly put the Netherlands back on top in the 30th, when he overjumped the whole English defence to whack a corner-kick header onto the crossbar.

Phil Foden responded only two minutes later with a great shot that hit the far left post, making a similar attempt immediately afterwards, with Dutch goalie Verbruggen promptly palming the ball away. The Man City midfielder was England’s best player in the first half.

The teams slowed down the pace towards the break after pulling off a breathless first 35 minutes.

Compared to previous games, England played quickly, cleverly and aggressively.

The Netherlands had the first great chance of the second half.

England’s Pickford made an incredible save as Virgil van Dijk hit the ball with his knee from close range after a low-cut cross into the box.

The second half offered far fewer chances with both teams seemingly quite tired with Kane and Foden called back to the bench completely exhausted.

In the first minute of stoppage time Watkins received a ball into the penalty area to smash a powerful ground shot past Verbruggen into the bottom corner and book England the ticket to the Berlin final.

“Unbelievable — I’ve been waiting for that moment for weeks,” said Watkins, the Aston Villa striker who was the fourth top scorer in the Premier League last season.


“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am today. I got the opportunity and took it with both hands.”

That the goal was set up by Cole Palmer, another substitute, will have pleased Southgate, too.

“I said to (Palmer), ‘We’re going to come on and you’re going to set me up,'” Watkins said. “I knew, as soon as he got the ball, he was going to play me in. When it went in the bottom corner, it was the best feeling ever.”

The sea of orange in the giant South Stand at Westfalenstadion fell silent. It housed the most vocal of the Dutch supporters who dominated the city centre before marching in their thousands to the stadium ahead of the game.

Police reported three separate clashes between fans from both countries in the city.


England’s captain spoke after the game about the upcoming clash against Spain.

“It’s going to be unbelievably tough – a really difficult game,” said the captain. “One more game to make history.”

England will play Lamine Yamal and Spain in Sunday’s final in Berlin. It will be the nation’s first title match on foreign soil, having won the World Cup in 1966 and lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final – both times at Wembley Stadium.

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