Thursday, July 25, 2024

England 1-1 Switzerland (England win 5-3 on pens): What Were The Key Talking Points As The Three Lions Mount Another Great Escape And Punch Their Semi-Final Spot?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 7 Jul 2024

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With all eyes falling on Dusseldorf, England clawed their way to a EURO 24 semi-final spot as they secured a nail-biting penalties victory against Switzerland on Saturday evening.

Although Gareth Southgate might have elected to change up his tactics and start with a back three, the Three Lions once again struggled to find any real fluidity for large spells.

Mounting what was a sensational last-gasp comeback against Slovakia last weekend as they managed to avoid what would have been an infamous European collapse, England had to pull off another great escape here.

Watching Breel Embolo tap home from close range with just 15 minutes left, the European giants were once again facing another EURO 24 exit.

However, Bukayo Saka then produced a moment of individual brilliance of the sort England have relied on heavily throughout the tournament to equalise with a fierce low shot five minutes later.

With chances coming at a real premium throughout extra-time, Southgate’s squad had to do things the hard way as they dragged themselves to a famous penalties victory.

Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Saka and Ivan Toney were all successful before substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold hammered home the decisive penalty in front of England’s delirious supporters.

On an evening when England once again rode their luck in Dusseldorf, we have taken a look at the key talking points.

England & Southgate complete another great escape

Only just about edging their way past Slovakia last weekend as they managed to avoid what would have been an infamous European exit, the Three Lions were desperate to produce a far more polished performance in Dusseldorf.

However, while there might have once again been plenty of pressure on Southgate’s shoulders in what was the ex-Middlesbrough bosses 100th appearance in the dugout, England managed to complete another remarkable great escape.

Just about dragging themselves over the finishing line once again on Saturday evening, England are now just two games away from getting their hands on a first piece of international silverware since their iconic World Cup success way back in 1966.

However, still waiting to find their best and certainly riding their luck over in Germany this summer, Southgate’s side still have plenty of questions that need to be answered over the next week.

Despite showing plenty of mental grit in Dusseldorf this weekend, the Three Lions have now recorded just a pair of wins from any of their previous 10 appearances across all competitions within 90 minutes.

Heartbreak for the Swiss

Springing what was an almighty upset earlier in the week as they sent defending European champions Italy packing thanks to a famous 2-0 victory, Switzerland arrived in Dusseldorf confident of collecting another heavyweight scalp.

Unbeaten in all of their three Group A appearances last month as they followed host nation Germany to the knockout stage, Murat Yakin’s camp put in another rugged performance for large spells on Saturday evening.

While the Rossocrociati might have seen their European adventure come to an end in the most heartbreaking of fashion here, they should take plenty of positives away from what has been an impressive EURO 24 campaign.

Eventually leaving Germany without a single defeat from any of their five appearances this summer, the Swiss will know that on another day things could have gone in their way in Dusseldorf.

Despite failing to book a maiden semi-final spot here, Yakin’s camp have suffered just a single defeat within 90 minutes since their World Cup exit out in Qatar 18 months ago.

The Netherlands wait in the final four

Now completing a pair of knockout stage great escapes, all of Southgate’s attention will now be focused on what looks set to be a heavyweight semi-final showdown against the Netherlands on Wednesday night.

Watching the Holland mount their own stunning comeback later in the night as Ronald Koeman’s men snatched a 2-1 victory against Turkey in rural Germany, the Oranges should prove to be Southgate’s toughest examination on Wednesday.

Although England might be smelling the chance to book consecutive European finals in midweek, they should be concerned by a downbeat record against the Dutch.

Including a 3-1 defeat when they met Holland in the inaugural Nations League tournament back in the summer of 2019, Southgate’s side have recorded just a single victory from any of their previous nine historic meetings – a run that stems all the way back to 1996.

Match Report

England: Pickford, Konsa, Stones, Walker, Trippier, Rice, Mainoo, Bellingham, Saka, Foden, Kane

Subs: Palmer, Eze, Shaw, Alexander-Arnold, Toney

Switzerland: Sommer, Rodriguez, Akanji, Schar, Aebischer, Xhaka, Freuler, Ndoye, Vargas, Rieder, Embolo

Subs: Sierro, Amdouni, Zakaria, Widmer, Zuber, Shaqiri

Goals: England: Saka (80’) – Switzerland: (75’)

Yellow Cards: England: Kane – Switzerland: Schar

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Daniele Orsato

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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