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Euro 2024: England beats the Netherlands and is in the final

Euro 2024: England beats the Netherlands and is in the final
Euro 2024: England beats the Netherlands and is in the final

With their best performance of the tournament so far, England actually made it to the European Championship final and brought the Oranje party to an abrupt end. The keys to success were a penalty and a joker.

England captain Harry Kane jumped into the arms of match winner Ollie Watkins in celebration. Coach Gareth Southgate also performed a dance of joy in front of his bench, completely relaxed. Thanks to a late goal from Watkins in injury time, the English ended the big Oranje party at the European Football Championship on Wednesday evening and are now just one step away from their first major title in 58 years.

The star ensemble around Bayern striker Kane and Champions League winner Jude Bellingham defeated the Netherlands 2-1 (1-1) in the semi-finals and will face the favorites and Germany conquerors Spain in the final on Sunday (9 p.m./ARD and MagentaTV). The English were celebrated by their completely euphoric fans to the sounds of Sweet Caroline. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford bathed in the crowd directly in the English block.

“We made history. I’m so proud of all the players and staff,” said England captain Kane. “It’s been such a difficult tournament for us. It’s been so tough to get to this final. But we’re ready!”

“I swear on the lives of my children”

In front of 60,926 spectators in Dortmund, Kane (18th minute/penalty) and Ollie Watkins (90th+1), who came on as Kane’s substitute, turned the game around with their goals after an early deficit thanks to a dream goal by Xavi Simons (7th). Unlike in the previous games, the Three Lions showed their footballing class for at least one half and offered their best performance of the tournament.

And the much-criticized coach Southgate also had a lucky hand with his substitutions in the closing stages. “I swear on my children’s lives: I said to Cole Palmer: We’ll come in, I’ll score the goal and you’ll make the pass,” said Watkins. “It’s an incredible feeling.”

For the first time, England is now in a major final that is not taking place on home soil. In 1966, the self-proclaimed motherland of football won the World Cup against Germany at Wembley Stadium. Three years ago, they lost the European Championship final to Italy on penalties at the same venue. Now they are looking to win their long-awaited second major title.

Eviva España at the fan march

The big football festival in Dortmund was not limited to the evening game, but began at lunchtime. Around 100,000 Dutch fans transformed the city into a huge party zone. Oranje dominated completely. From the fan bus, which has now become a cult, ex-pro Wesley Sneijder, among others, delegated the party-loving crowd left and right.

The Oranje team joined in with what the police described as the largest fan march in the city’s history. The supporters happily sang “Eviva España”. The English, who were also well represented with 25,000 fans, were clearly outnumbered for the first time at this European Championship.

Fast pace in the European Championship semi-final

The Dutch made a dream start on the pitch. Simons won the ball from Declan Rice in the English half, ran a few meters and slammed the ball with full force into the top corner in a spectacular fashion.

The English tactics of the past games, focusing on control and defensive stability, were now obsolete. The Three Lions had to come – and they came. Led by captain Kane, England pushed for a quick equaliser.

Penalty against the Netherlands

First, the Bundesliga top scorer failed with a long-range shot against Dutch goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, then he was hit hard on the foot by Denzel Dumfries during an attempt in the penalty area.

Kane fell, the German referee Felix Zwayer watched the scene again on video and then awarded a penalty. The fouled player scored with a precise low shot and thus became the sole European Championship record goalscorer in knockout matches.

England offensively strong like never before

The appointment of Zwayer had already been viewed with great skepticism in England before the match. During his time at Borussia Dortmund, Bellingham had heavily criticised and verbally attacked the now 43-year-old after a defeat against FC Bayern. This time, the superstar was probably at least satisfied with the penalty decision.

In front of British music greats Adele and Ed Sheeran, England continued to press. Southgate’s team was barely recognizable and showed its best performance of the tournament so far in terms of creativity and attacking drive.

The very agile Phil Foden in particular caused alarm in front of the Dutch goal. First, Dumfries prevented the English from taking the lead on the line after a shot from the 24-year-old (23′), then a long-range shot from Foden hit the outside post (32′). For the Oranje, Dumfries was unlucky when a header from a corner hit the crossbar (30′).

Second half with less action

The half-time whistle not only brought a breather, but also a small break in the game. The singing spectators were no longer treated to any major attacking action. Instead, the action was dominated by long ball relays. A shot by Dutch captain Virgil Van Dijk following a free kick was deflected by Pickford for a corner (65′).

Overall, the Dutch now had significantly more control. Until the final phase: First, Bukayo Saka scored what appeared to be the 2:1 for England (79th minute) – but Koeman’s team were lucky that provider Kyle Walker was apparently offside. In injury time, substitute Watkins made the English fans go wild with joy.

Source: Stern

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