Watkins' late stunner fires England into Euro 2024 final

Ollie Watkins’ late stunner fired England to a 2-1 win over Netherlands, sending the Three Lions into the Euro 2024 final against Spain in Berlin on Sunday.

England have now reached the final of back-to-back European Championships, with Sunday’s showpiece the first time England have progressed to a Euros final on foreign soil.

Substitute Watkins was the goalscoring hero, collecting a pass from Cole Palmer in added-on time before shooting into the far corner and sparking wild scenes across the country.

“It’s another landmark,” enthused Gareth Southgate. “The ending is so special

England’s performance was much improved. The Three Lions were dazzling in the first half, powered by Phil Foden and Kobbie Mainoo.

They had to come from behind for the third time in the knockout stages too. A brilliant strike from Xavi Simons (7) put the Dutch ahead, although it came after Declan Rice had his pocket picked in his own half.

England’s equaliser 11 minutes later came in controversial circumstances. Harry Kane took a whack to his right ankle from Denzel Dumfries as he shot at goal, with the referee eventually being sent to the pitchside monitor by VAR.

The official then pointed for a penalty – despite many onlookers disagreeing – which Kane himself took, expertly dispatching past Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen.

England dominated the remainder of the half. Foden twice went close – Dumfries clearing off the line before another effort hit the woodwork. Dumfries also hit the woodwork himself, although Netherlands’ chances were few and far between.

However, the second half saw an unwanted move back to a slower, more laborious England that had been prevalent for much of Euro 2024.

Denzel Dumfries fouls Harry Kane to concede a penalty
Denzel Dumfries fouls Harry Kane to concede a penalty

Jordan Pickford was needed to keep out a Virgil van Dijk effort, while half-time substitute Wout Weghorst made himself a nuisance for a tiring England defence.

Gareth Southgate’s side thought they had gone ahead as Bukayo Saka slotted home from Kyle Walker’s cross – but the latter was marginally offside and the goal was ruled out.

Bukayo Saka reacts as his effort is disallowed for offside by VAR
Bukayo Saka reacts as his effort is disallowed for offside by VAR

But there was time for one more chance and it was a sensational finish from Watkins. He was found in the area by fellow substitute Palmer, turning away from Stefan de Vrij before firing home through the defender’s legs and into the far corner, sending the England fans around the world into raptures.

Drink it in: England’s victory in pictures

Gareth Southgate celebrates England's victory at the final whistle
Ollie Watkins and Jude Bellingham celebrate the Aston Villa striker's late winner against the Netherlands
Ollie Watkins celebrates after scoring a late winner for England against the Netherlands

England reach the final of Euro 2024: What they said

Goalscorer Ollie Watkins to ITV: “I said to Cole Palmer: ‘We’re coming on today and you’re going to set me up.’ I knew, as soon as he got the ball, he was going to play me in and you’ve got to be greedy. Touch, finish and when I’ve seen it go in the bottom corner, it was the best feeling ever.”

Gary Neville to ITV: “Spain they have been the best team and played the best football. So we’ve got our work cut but it feels like something is happening. Things are stacking up in England’s favour and that builds confidence.”

Roy Keane to ITV: “I’d have Spain as favourites, but sometimes, things are written in the stars for this England team.They should have been out of it a week or so ago, they’ve now got momentum.”

Stats: Story of the match

How Euro 2024 finalists were decided

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top