• England secured a 2-1 victory against the Netherlands thanks to a late goal from substitute Ollie Watkins.
  • Xavi Simons opened the scoring for the Dutch, but Harry Kane equalised from the penalty spot, making for an exciting second half.
  • England will face Spain in the EURO 2024 final at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on 14 July.

England qualified for the final of EURO 2024 with another dramatic 2-1 win against the Netherlands at the Westfalenstadion on Wednesday evening. Substitutes Cole Palmer and Ollie Watkins combined to score the winning goal in injury time.

Unlike other English games where the drama is saved until the end, the first half of the semi-final was a mixture of entertainment. Xavi Simons opened the scoring after six minutes, stealing the ball from Declan Rice and firing a wonderful shot past Jordan Pickford from long range. The Three Lions were used to such scenarios and were quick to react when Denzel Dumfries missed a controversial penalty which Harry Kane converted.

England were fortunate at times at the start of the second half as the Netherlands piled on the pressure. The game seemed to be choking somewhat as extra time approached. Virgil van Dijk and Wout Weghorst both came close to scoring, while Bukayo Saka had a goal disallowed for offside just 10 minutes from the end of normal time. But it was substitutes Cole Palmer and Ollie Watkins who combined to make the difference, with the latter hammering the ball across the face of goal into the net. The Three Lions will play Spain in the final at Berlin's Olympiastadion on Sunday 14 July.

Game highlights

Full video highlights will be posted as soon as they are available…

England player ratings

Goalkeeper: Jordan Pickford – 7/10

The only player of Southgate's generation to face a chorus of doubts, he has been through no more and, although he could have had a stronger hand on the first goal, he made a superb save from van Dijk just after the hour mark.

RWB – Bukayo Saka – 6.5/10

Those inside-balls have been one of England's main opportunities this summer; it's just a shame that no one ever seems to take advantage of them. Despite this, contrary to popular belief, he was the 'real' bright spot in his team and his mad runs were a key asset. His impact waned considerably in the second half, but that also shed light on his defensive qualities.

Centre-back – Kyle Walker – 7/10

His pace in defence was much needed against the Dutch side, as he intercepted a run from Malen in the first defensive action of the game. His attacking power was a real sign of intent and earned the Manchester City captain some points for his versatility. He looked much more like himself in this free role.

CB – John Stones – 6/10

Wasn't really tested much, but was decent when he had to step in.

Centre-back – Marc Guehi – 6.5/10

Like Stones, he wasn't involved, but he was also decent. He did so well to prevent a Weghorst goal at the end and stood firm when he was outnumbered.

LWB – Kieran Trippier – 5/10

A small improvement on the last few games, but Trippier is still one of the weak links in the team. He loses the ball far too often! He was substituted for Shaw at half-time.

CM – Kobbie Mainoo – 7/10

The Manchester United star does his job away from the spotlight, making it extremely difficult to see his impact, but he did a great job again on Wednesday and earned his place in the starting line-up.

CM – Declan Rice – 5.5/10

Cut inside after six minutes to give Xavi Simons an easy path to goal, which the Dutch took advantage of to break the deadlock. Aside from that, Rice was solid, although his passes were often rushed when not under pressure and then too slow when more urgent.

CAM – Jude Bellingham – 7/10

In typical Jude fashion, he said he wrote the script after the last win and sped up the move that led to the penalty to prove he wasn't serious. His positivity on the ball was refreshing and he carried that aura on Wednesday night, which was the main reason the Dutch failed to gain a foothold in midfield.

ZOM – Phil Foden – 7.5/10

His first two appearances resulted in a loss of possession. But Phil Foden's absence from England was finally brought to an end against the Netherlands. He created a great chance, his dancing feet beating all but one goal-line defence. His quick feet and sharp turns were a delight for the crowd, as the post stopped him for a second time in the first 45 minutes – this time from a distance. He was very calm in the second half and went about his game before being substituted for Palmer.

ST – Harry Kane – 6/10

Kane was a symbol of England's attacking successes during the Gareth Southgate era and equalised with his 18th-minute penalty. Once again he was toothless from the game. He was taken off with ten minutes to go but the penalty flattered his performance.

Substitute – Luke Shaw – 6/10

Didn't have as much of an impact on the game as last time, but was still OK. Not good, not bad, just OK. Came into action when his first touch to set up Cole Palmer left the crowd in expectant silence.

Substitute – Cole Palmer – 7/10

His assist gave England the win. What a pass to Watkins!

Substitute – Ollie Watkins – 8/10

He scored the goal that took England to the final, showing that his Premier League form would translate to the world stage.

Player ratings Netherlands


TW – Bart Verbruggen – 6/10

Had to step in often and made many good saves. He only missed one penalty in the first half. Perhaps he should have saved Watkins' shot.

RB – Denzel Dumfries – 6/10

Controversially, he conceded a penalty early on after his team had taken the lead. He made up for it by clearing on the goal line. He continued to redeem himself by being strong in the air in both attack and defence.

CB – Stefan de Vrij – 6/10

Didn't make a single bad pass in the first half. This was also reflected in a solid defensive line.

Centre-back – Virgil van Dijk – 7/10

He remained calm and composed with the ball, but also had a commanding presence without it, ensuring that England did not get too close to the goal until the final whistle. He almost gave his team the lead when he converted a Veerman set piece from close range.

LB – Nathan Ake – 5.5/10

Tried to impose the game on his opponent towards the end of the first half after being a spectator for most of the time. Didn't do much after the break.

CM – Jerdy Schouten – 6/10

Somehow, he only managed to touch the ball 13 times in the first half – and that was a perfect example of how difficult it was for the Dutch to get a grip on the game. He improved drastically in the second half and showed a new version of himself as he regained control for the Dutch.

ZOM – Xavi Simons – 7/10

He scored an absolute gem to open the game and his energy was inexhaustible. This waned as England got better at the game but he still managed to maintain control when he got the ball on the rare occasions he did get it.

CM – Tijjani Reijnders – 6/10

He often chased shadows in the first half as the Dutch midfield was outnumbered in the middle of the pitch. He seemed to lack good communication, which further hampered his performance. He improved in the second half, but was still not his team's best midfielder.

RW – Donyell Painting – 6/10

His pressure and quick transitions delighted the Dutch in the first half. Malen left Trippier alone and was devastating early on. His tackle resulted in the first goal. Despite this, he was substituted at half-time.

ST – Memphis Depay – 5/10

He combined the play well and gave Malen a chance, but was substituted in the 35th minute due to injury.

LW – Cody Gakpo – 6.5/10

Uncharacteristically quiet in the first half. Improved after the break, the defence stormed forward and caused Pickford a lot of problems with his tempting crosses to Weghorst. After the break he was clearly the most dangerous man.

Substitute – Joey Veerman – 6/10

Didn't change much in the midfield formation, but his sweeping free kick from long range almost gave the Netherlands the lead again when it hit van Dijk.

Substitute – Wout Weghorst – 6/10

It's a real surprise that Wout Weghorst isn't in the starting line-up for his country. Whenever he comes on, he makes a difference. Dropping back to help his teammates get in was a notable change from the first half. Again, his heading ability and getting other players involved was the key difference.

Player of the Match – Ollie Watkins

Ollie Watkins during England training

The Dutch defence had it easy for most of the evening, but then Ollie Watkins came in, took control of the game and set himself the task of sending England to the final of the European Championships for the second year in a row.

His turn, his shot, his emotions afterwards, everything was perfect. It showed that Watkins could be the one to lead the Three Lions to their next peak if Southgate trusts him more often.

All statistics were collected via Fotmob (as of 10.07.2024)

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