England is racing to the last minute to meet Spain

England beat the Netherlands 1-2 on Wednesday in the second semi-final of Euro 2024 in Germany, reaching Sunday’s final in Berlin against Spain thanks to a goal from Ollie Watkins in the 90th minute.

The Aston Villa striker, who had just come on to play at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund, scored just after the 90th minute and gave England a ticket to the final, who will once again be competing for their first continental crown after losing the last final three years ago. The much-criticised Gareth Southgate put the inventors of football back in the fight for a title they have longed for since the 1966 World Cup.

The ‘Oranje’, European champions in 1988, had taken the lead in the seventh minute with a superb goal from Xavi Simons but England were quick to equalise through Harry Kane, a penalty reviewed by VAR. In the second half the match lost pace and the English, the protagonist of the semi-final, but at the last minute they met a Spain that has been on a winning streak against ‘giants’ such as Croatia, Italy, Germany and, the last in the semi-finals, France.

The second ticket to the final was disputed from an entertaining first half. A back-and-forth where England gave a little more in what was asked of them, football that corresponds to all their quality, and the Netherlands retreated too much a priori. However, after seven minutes, the ‘Oranje’ went ahead with a right-footed shot from Xavi Simons.

The midfielder stole the ball from his English partner Rice and crossed the ball, perhaps with a bit of a poor diving effort from Pickford in the goal. All in all, England maintained a fairly attacking script, with a lot of movement and freedom well exploited by Foden. Saka was always available and Harry Kane also appeared far from a position of number nine.

The Bayern striker tried a couple of times from outside the area, claiming a penalty on the second. The referee received the warning from the VAR and accepted England’s complaint to award a penalty which the striker himself converted into 1-1. Despite the option to start again, England maintained their offensive momentum that was greater than that of a Netherlands with hardly any ball or the option to counterattack.

Foden came close to scoring on three occasions. The first time, Dumfries, who scored the penalty, made up for it by clearing the ball off the line; the second time, he went straight to the corner of the posts and the third time, he tried low and Verbruggen stopped it. For the ‘Oranje’, Simons became desperate with no ball coming to him and Memphis asked to be substituted due to injury, but the 1-1 scoreline left a lot to be done.


Gakpo also had to be more defensively focused, with Saka on his wing, and the ‘Three Lions’ continued to bite when it came to pushing forward to press. However, the pace dropped as the second half resumed and the Netherlands, although staying within their own half, largely defused their opponents’ threats. Southgate’s men lost possession depth and, from set pieces, the ‘Oranje’ had the best chance of the second half after the hour mark.

Van Dijk pounced on one in the middle of the area but Pickford was alert to the clearance, although the move changed the game by giving Koeman’s men some presence in the opposition half. From a set piece, with some runs from Gakpo and even more control of the ball, the Netherlands had their moment in the final stretch, with a dangerous header from Weghorst and the rebound that Simons did not connect with as in his goal.

Changes were not long in coming in England and Southgate took a gamble by taking off Kane and Foden, but it paid off dearly, as Watkins ended up being the hero in the last minute. A great goal that sent England to its second consecutive final, determined to end its title drought after the dramatic defeat three years ago at Wembley, and with the 2018 World Cup semi-final as another lost bullet.


–RESULT: NETHERLANDS, 1 – ENGLAND, 2. (1-1, at half-time).


BACK GUNS: Verbruggen; Xavi Simons (Brobbey, min.93), Gakpo (Zirkzee, min.93) and Memphis (Veerman, min.35).

ENGLAND: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guéhi, Trippier (Shaw, rest); Saka (Gallagher, min.93), Rice, Mainoo (Gallagher, min.93); Foden (Palmer, min.81), Bellingham and Kane (Watkins, min.81).


1 – 0, min.7, Simons.

1 – 1, min.18, Kane (penalty).

1 – 2, min.91, Watkins.

–REFEREE: Felix Zwayer (GER). He cautioned Dumfries (min.17), Van Dijk (min.87), Van Dijk (min.87) and Simons (min.91) for the Netherlands. And Bellingham (min.72), Saka (min.86) and Trippier (min.94) for England.

–STADIUM: Signal Iduna Park (Dortmund).

By Editor

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