England in the European Championship final after 2-1 victory over the Netherlands

England in the European Championship final after 2-1 victory over the Netherlands
England in the European Championship final after 2-1 victory over the Netherlands

England followed Spain into the final.

The final of the European Football Championship in Germany is England against Spain. The 2021 European runners-up beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Dortmund on Wednesday. The Spaniards had already won the first semi-final against France 2-1 on Tuesday. For the English, it is now their first ever EURO triumph on Sunday in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, while the Iberians are aiming for their fourth title at continental finals.

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Xavi Simons put the Dutch in the lead (7th minute), the English equalized with a penalty converted by Harry Kane (18th minute). “Joker” Ollie Watkins made the decision in the 91st minute.

Up to 100,000 Oranje fans in Dortmund

In the hours before the match, Dortmund’s city center was ablaze with orange. According to media reports, between 80,000 and 100,000 “Elftal” fans were in the host city of the semi-final, and they had reason to celebrate soon after kick-off. Simon stole the ball from Declan Rice and scored from the edge of the box. England’s goalkeeper Jordan Pickford flew spectacularly, but was unable to catch the ball, which seemed to be unstoppable.

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The English were not at all put off by the early setback, quite the opposite: in the next 20 to 30 minutes they delivered what was probably their best performance of the finals to date. Kane first tested the Dutch goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen (14th minute) and shot over the goal a short time later. During this action, Kane’s instep crashed into the raised sole of Denzel Dumfries. After examining the TV images, the German referee Felix Zwayer awarded a penalty, which Kane safely converted.

Kane now record goalscorer

With his sixth goal in a European Championship knockout phase, the Bayern professional overtook the Frenchman Antoine Griezmann and became the sole record scorer in this part of the tournament. He is also the fifth player to have scored in two European Championship semi-finals. Kane has scored three goals at this EURO, and in the all-time European Championship scorers’ list he has improved to joint third place with seven goals, tied with fellow countryman Alan Shearer, Spain’s captain Alvaro Morata and Griezmann. Only the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo (14) and France’s Michel Platini (9) are better in this statistic.

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Kane was an improvement compared to the previous games – as was Phil Foden, who played more centrally against the Dutch and therefore made a much better impression. The Manchester City star cheated the ball past Verbruggen, but Dumfries saved it on the line (23′). Less than ten minutes later, a shot from Foden hit the crossbar, and in the 39th minute, the 24-year-old was stopped by Verbruggen from a similar position.

Game lost pace in second half

The Dutch also posed a threat before half-time. After a Simons corner, a header from Dumfries hit the crossbar (30′). In the second half, the game lost pace, mainly because the English retreated. The increased possession of the ball by the “Oranje” had no consequences, and the only danger came from a chance by Virgil van Dijk after a free kick cross from Joey Veerman, but Pickford saved (65′). England had nothing to offer at first, with the exception of a goal by Bukayo Saka (79′) that was rightly disallowed for offside.

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When Foden and Kane had already been replaced by Cole Palmer and Watkins and extra time seemed imminent, the English struck decisively. Palmer served Watkins and the Aston Villa professional sent the 1966 World Cup winner into the final with a low shot into the far corner.

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