Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Netherlands 1-2 England – Ollie Watkins scores last-second winner to send England into Euro 2024 final – Eurosport

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A fantastic finish from substitute Ollie Watkins, in the last of the 90 minutes, saw England beat Netherlands in barely believable fashion. They will play Spain in the final of Euro 2024 on Sunday – their second in straight in the competition and first ever outside their own country.

Both sides began positively, but it was the Netherlands who took the lead early, Declan Rice losing the ball and Xavi Simons drilling home a beauty, as he fell, from the edge of the box to get the Dutch off to the perfect start.

England, though, forced their way back into the game with Kobbie Mainoo and Phil Foden to the fore. Then, on 16 minutes, Harry Kane got off a decent shot, only to be caught by Denzel Dumfries, making an attempt to block, in his follow-through. He stayed down and eventually VAR took an interest, the referee coming over and deciding the award a penalty; Kane drilled home into the bottom-left corner.

Though England dominated the remainder of the half, Dumfries headed against the bar with the Pickford beaten before Foden unfurled a curler reminiscent of Lamine Yamal’s goal for Spain last evening, but his effort almost as brilliant, crashed against the angle.

The second half was an altogether duller affair, Netherlands suffocating England in midfield. But Gareth Southgate was positive and decisive with his changes, and received his reward when Cole Palmer found Watkins, who did exactly what he was brought on to do and sent England to Berlin.

Talking point – It pays to be bold

Gareth Southgate is, by nature, a conservative, understated individual and as a player, he played in teams frequently set up not to lose. So it is no surprise that he manages in similar vein, especially given the pressure of the England job and limited time to hone a style.

The problem with this is that he has a frankly ridiculous battery of attackers who bring different qualities for different moments, and tonight, he got his deployment of them bang on – Ollie Watkins to run in behind and Cole Palmer to find him. And more than that, he was bold in who he took off, removing an aggravated Harry Kane and also Phil Foden, outstanding in the first half – and he received his reward.

Against Spain, he will again need to use his squad to meet a different challenge and a far better team. It will be tempting to be circumspect. But if tonight teaches us anything, it is that looking to win the game when blessed with attacking riches it not a risky option, it is a pragmatic option.

Player of the match – Ollie Watkins (England)

A ridiculous, reactive call, but no one else played well enough over 89 to take it away from the bloke who won it on 90.

Player ratings

Netherlands: Verbruggen 6, Dumfries 7, De Vrij 7, Van Dijk 6, Ake 6, Schouten 6, Reijnders 6, Simons 7, Malen 5, Depay 6, Gakpo 6. Subs: Veerman 6, Weghorst 6, Brobbey 6, Zirkzee 6.

England: Pickford 6, Walker 6, Stones 6, Guehi 7, Trippier 6, Rice 5, Mainoo 7, Bellingham 6, Saka 6, Kane 6, Foden 7. Subs: Shaw 7, Palmer 9, Watkins 9, Konsa 6, Gallgher 6.

Key stat

Key moments

7′ – GOAL! NETHERLANDS 1-0 ENGLAND (Xavi Simons) The first shot of the game produces the first goal, AND WHAT A GOAL! Xavi Simons dispossesses Rice and breaks from midfield and unleashes a piledriver from 20-yards that ARROWS in to the far top corner. Jordan Pickford doesn’t have a chance. England have it all to do.

15′ – OVER THE BAR FROM KANE Good play by England as Saka cuts inside again. He’s desperately trying to engineer the space for a shot. It’s not quite there and his eventual effort deflects to Kane, who smacks it narrowly over the bar with the outside of his boot

16′ – PENALTY CHECK Oh, hello! Kane was caught by Denzel Dumfries as he took that shot. There did not seem to be much in it, but VAR have recommended a penalty check!

16′ – AND IT’S GIVEN Penalty England! The referee takes a look at the replay and points to the spot. That is incredibly harsh, but the Three Lions don’t care!

18′ – GOAL! NETHERLANDS 1-1 ENGLAND (Harry Kane) Captain Kane is on penalty duties, as you would expect. Two or three steps back from the ball, a steady run up and striking the ball into the bottom corner! Bart Verbruggen dives the right way, but cannot lay a glove on it! England are level!

76′ – GAKPO WORKS A CROSSING OPPORTUNITY FOR AKE But his ball in is hopeful and Rice head clear. England are letting Holland play here; they look tired and need fresh legs and ideas. And they almost fall behind before they can act, Weghorst winning a ball pumped into the box which then falls kindly for Siuons, unmarked on the edge … but he can’t introduce laces to ball, scuffing into the ground for Pickford to save.

90’ – GOAL! NETHERLANDS 1-2 ENGLAND (WATKINS) OLIVER WATKINS HAS WON IT FOR ENGLAND! Palmer feeds into the box, Watkins darting towards him, back to goal. But De Vrij is slow so he takes a fine first touch, turns, and in an instant, leathers an expert’s finish through the defender’s legs into the far corner! In a second, his life has changed, and England are going to play Spain in the final of Euro 2024! The Dutch are devastated Football is brutal! Football is brilliant!

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