England Plays the Netherlands Aiming for back-to-back European Finals

Dortmund, England can reach back-to-back European Championship finals when it meets the Netherlands tomorrow (Wednesday) in Dortmund in the second semi-final. The winner plays Spain or France in Sunday’s final.

Both teams conceded the opening goal in their quarterfinals before coming back to win, with England beating Switzerland in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw and the Netherlands winning 2-1 against Turkey.

After a win on penalties in his 100th game in charge of England, manager Gareth Southgate defending his often-cautious tactics as the kind of ‘streetwise’ style successful teams use.

The Netherlands will be by far the highest-ranked team England has faced after group games with Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia, followed by knockout games with Slovakia and Switzerland.

England has relied on the right-footed Kieran Trippier at left wing back, but his tendency to cut inside has meant England has made little use of the left wing all tournament. Left-footed Luke Shaw came off the bench against Switzerlan
d for his first minutes since February after injury. Shaw said he’s fit to start against the Netherlands if Southgate picks him.

Southgate has to choose whether to stick with Ezri Konsa in the center of defense after he replaced the then-suspended Marc Guéhi against Switzerland. Guéhi is eligible again.

There’s scrutiny of Harry Kane’s fitness after the England captain went off with cramp in extra time against Switzerland. Ivan Toney came off the bench and scored one of England’s five successful penalties in the shootout.

Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman could keep his line-up unchanged for the third game in a row, with Memphis Depay starting alongside Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn up front.

England has played a full hour more than the Netherlands in the last 10 days, after beating Slovakia in extra time and then Switzerland on penalties. The Dutch wrapped up their wins over Romania and Turkey without needing extra time.

The Netherlands scored the opening goal in only one of its five games so far at Euro
2024, against Romania in the last 16. England last scored the opening goal against Denmark in the group stage.

The Netherlands hasn’t reached a European Championship final since it won the tournament in 1988 and was last a semi-finalist in 2004.

England’s first shot on target against Switzerland was Bukayo Saka’s goal to level the score in the 80th minute. One round earlier, Bellingham’s spectacular overhead kick was England’s first shot on target. That came in the fifth minute of second-half added time.

Source: Oman News Agency