July 13, 2024

England Late Victory Over Netherland Sets Euro2024 Showdown With Spain

 

England Sets for Euro2024 Finals With Spain

Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins delivered a dramatic injury-time winner as England triumphed 2-1 over the Netherlands on Wednesday, securing a place in the Euro 2024 final against Spain in Berlin.

The evening began poorly for England, with Xavi Simons putting the Netherlands ahead early in the semi-final at Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion. However, England equalized soon after with a Harry Kane penalty, awarded following a contentious VAR decision by German referee Felix Zwayer. The match appeared to be heading towards extra time until Watkins’ decisive intervention.

Substituting for Kane, Watkins received a pass from fellow substitute Cole Palmer in the first minute of stoppage time. With his back to goal, Watkins turned and fired a low shot into the far corner, leaving the Dutch team stunned.

“I’m lost for words really. I don’t think I’ve hit a ball that sweet before, and obviously in such a special moment,” said Watkins, the Aston Villa striker.

Despite an unconvincing campaign, Gareth Southgate’s England side has reached their second consecutive European Championship final. They aim to win their first major trophy since 1966. To achieve this, they must deliver their best performance yet against a formidable Spain team, who will have had an extra 24 hours to prepare after defeating France 2-1 on Tuesday.

The Netherlands had hoped to replicate their 1988 Euros success in Germany but lacked the star quality of past legends like Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit. Their exit means they miss the chance for a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final.

England’s journey to the semi-final included not winning any of their last four matches in 90 minutes, with extra-time battles against Slovakia and Switzerland. This might have given the Dutch a physical edge after they overcame finishing third in their group to defeat Romania and Turkey.

England welcomed back Marc Guehi in defense after suspension, while Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman started Donyell Malen in attack, capitalizing on his familiarity with the Borussia Dortmund ground.

The Westfalenstadion holds special significance for the Dutch, being the venue of their 2-0 victory over Brazil in the 1974 World Cup, with goals from Johan Neeskens and Johan Cruyff, which took them to the final. However, this time, the scene ended in disappointment as they were sent home by a determined England side.

The stage is now set for an exciting final in Berlin, where England will face Spain with hopes of ending their long wait for international silverware.

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