Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Netherlands 1-2 England: What Were The Key Talking Points As The Three Lions Punch Their EURO 24 Final Ticket?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 11 Jul 2024

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In what was another sensational comeback on Wednesday night, England booked their spot in the EURO 24 final as they secured a 2-1 victory the Netherlands.

However, things could not have got off to a worse start for Gareth Southgate’s side as PSG starlet Xavi Simons produced a thunderous effort with just seven minutes on the clock.

Although England might have once again struggled to find much fluidity in the final third, the Three Lions were handed a dubious penalty 11 minutes after Holland’s opener.

Watching skipper Harry Kane power home from the penalty spot, it appeared almost inevitable that England were heading to their third consecutive extra-time battle.

With England’s run to this summer’s European final underlined by individual pieces of brilliance, it was Ollie Watkins’ time to step up to the plate in Dortmund.

Producing a remarkable finish in the 90th-minute amidst emotional scenes, the Aston Villa ace produced a moment that will certainly live long in the memory.

The Three Lions will travel to Berlin on Sunday when they meet fellow European icons Spain for what promises to be another nail-biting showdown.

On a night when England moved within a game of writing themselves in the history books, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

England 90 minutes away from the history books

Opening up this summer’s European Championships pencilled in by many as a leading title contender, many believed that this was England’s chance to finally get their hands on a first piece of international silverware since 1966.

Although the Three Lions might have come under a huge amount of scrutiny this summer as they failed to lay down any kind of marker, they are now just 90 minutes away from writing their own piece of history.

With England’s golden generation now heading to Berlin for Sunday’s showpiece event, the European giants will contest their first final on foreign soil after the 1966 World Cup final and the Euro 2020 finals were played at Wembley.

Suffering major heartbreak in north London three years ago as they eventually fell to that heartbreaking penalties defeat at the hands of Italy, the Three Lions are desperate to go one-step further this time around.

Although Southgate’s camp might have largely limped their way to Berlin without making much of a statement, they have reached consecutive European finals for the first time in their history.

Dutch heartbreak in Dortmund

Although the Dutch might have only just about dragged themselves to a knockout stage ticket this summer after settling for a third-place finish in Group D, Ronald Koeman’s men had largely impressed over in Germany.

Opening their knockout stage adventure with a thumping 3-0 victory against Romania, the former Barcelona boss has somewhat found himself in a similar position to Southgate.

With some Dutch supporters unimpressed by Koeman’s in-game management, there is no doubt that Holland will feel that they missed out on a real opportunity in Dortmund.

Landing a 3-1 victory when they last met the Three Lions in the inaugural Nations League tournament back in 2019, they had lost just one of their previous nine historic meetings against England and opened up Wednesday’s semi-final battle smelling a golden chance.

However, suffering their own infamous last-gasp heartbreak and missing out on the chance to reach their first final since 1988, Koeman will have plenty of questions over his future.

Spain await in a heavyweight final test

Although England might have mounted another dramatic last-gasp comeback on Wednesday night, Southgate will be more than aware that they face what will be a monumental challenge this weekend.

While the Three Lions might have opened up this summer’s European Championships pencilled in as a standout title contender, there is no doubt that Spain have stolen plenty of the headlines over the past few weeks.

With La Roja getting their hands on a maiden Nations League crown last summer, Luis de la Fuente’s side have earned a fearsome reputation thanks to their exploits over in Germany.

Opening their EURO 24 adventure with a major statement of intent on June 15th as they stormed their way to a 3-0 romp against World Cup bronze medalists Croatia, Spain have won all of their six European showdown so far this summer.

Sending France packing on Tuesday night thanks to a sensational 2-1 victory and with the likes of 16-year-old record-breaker Lamine Yamal firing on all cylinders, Spain will certainly prove to be England’s toughest test in Berlin.

Match Report

Netherlands: Verbruggen, Ake, van Dijk, de Vrij, Dumfries, Reijnders, Schouten, Gakpo, Simons, Malen, Depay

Subs: Zirkzee, Brobbey, Weghorst, Veerman

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

Subs: Palmer, Watkins, Gallagher, Konsa, Shaw

Goals: Netherlands: Simons (7’) – England: Kane P (18’), Watkins (90’)

Yellow Cards: Netherlands: Dumfries, van Dijk, Simons – England: Trippier, Saka, Bellingham

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Felix Zwayer

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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