Tribal Football

England reach Euros final as Watkins strikes late in victory over Holland

England reach Euros final as Watkins strikes late in victory over Holland
Late Watkins goal sends England to Euros final with Spain
Late Watkins goal sends England to Euros final with SpainAction Plus
England will get the chance to exorcise their UEFA European Championship final demons after a dramatic 2-1 semi-final victory over the Netherlands – courtesy of Ollie Watkins’ sensational stoppage-time strike – set up a date with Spain in Berlin.

Bidding to become just the sixth team to make successive Euro finals after their penalty fiasco at Wembley three summers ago, England took more risks early on, but that policy ultimately granted their opponents a stunning opener.

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Xavi Simons pickpocketed a labouring Declan Rice and fired into the far top corner from distance, sending the Westfalenstadion’s ‘Oranje Muur’ into ecstasy.

An undeterred Harry Kane tested Bart Verbruggen with his own long-range effort before presenting his side a way back into the game when referee Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot following Denzel Dumfries’ high challenge on the Three Lions skipper.

Match stats
Match statsStatsperform

England’s all-time top scorer duly buried the spot-kick into the bottom left from 12 yards, sending him ahead of Antoine Griezmann as the top knockout marksman in Euros history and injecting belief into his side.

Phil Foden certainly felt that as he latched onto Kobbie Mainoo’s through ball and dazzled the Netherlands defence, but Dumfries agonisingly toed his effort off the line.

Unable to keep out of the thick of the action, Dumfries went up the other end to head onto the bar before Foden channelled his inner Lamine Yamal to shift inside and whip an effort towards the far corner, only for the woodwork to once again keep the scores equal.

Memphis Depay’s withdrawal through injury before the break supplied more concern for the Netherlands, who had struggled to deal with an effervescent England throughout the first period.

Ronald Koeman tightened up his midfield for the restart, suffocating England’s control in the centre of the park, and Virgil van Dijk’s testing of Jordan Pickford just beyond the hour mark was evidence that the tide was beginning to turn.

England were backed up in their own half for the next 20 minutes, but a foray forward had the ball in the net via Bukayo Saka – although Kyle Walker was marginally offside in the build-up.

Consequently, the best of the final moments of normal time went the way of the Three Lions, and Gareth Southgate’s substitutions proved a masterstroke as England snatched victory once again.

Watkins received the ball from Cole Palmer with it all to do, but he spun away from Stefan de Vrij and fired into the bottom corner to send his side through.

Watkins goal sequence
Watkins goal sequenceStatsPerform, AFP

Southgate’s England looked a different side from the tournament’s previous rounds and were ultimately thoroughly deserving of a place in the final on Sunday.

The Netherlands, meanwhile, were unable to replicate their performance from the 1988 Euros where they lifted the trophy here in Germany – the Oranje’s only major honour to date.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Kobbie Mainoo (England)

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