England will play Netherlands in the semifinals of the Euro 2024

England takes against the Netherlands in Wednesday's second Euro 2024 semi-final in an attempt to advance to consecutive European Championship finals after clumsily making it through the previous two elimination rounds
England

(Football news) The winner of the high-stakes match in Dortmund will advance to Sunday’s championship game, where new favorites Spain will be waiting.

Only medals will do for Gareth Southgate’s team this summer as England has advanced to its third major tournament semi-final in four attempts, but only by the narrowest of margins. England has established itself as a regular presence at the sharp end of both the Euros and World Cups without taking home the trophy.

Despite falling behind to a late goal by Breel Embolo just before the final whistle in Dusseldorf, the Three Lions defeated Switzerland in the quarterfinals of the European Championship to advance to their fourth consecutive semi-final overall.

Bukayo Saka sensationally equalised to force extra time, and spot kicks were ultimately required to decide the outcome of a finely-balanced battle. England went on to clinically dispatch all five of their penalties and Jordan Pickford saved from Manuel Akanji, so for the second round running, Southgate’s side squeezed through.

Having previously limped through the group phase, then required Jude Bellingham’s stunning strike to spark a fightback against Slovakia, it has been a far from convincing journey to this point – but results are all that matter in knockout football.

Southgate’s 101st game in charge will see England try to become just the sixth team to make consecutive European Championship finals, and a familiar foe stands between them and a place in Sunday’s showpiece in Berlin.

The Three Lions now face a fourth major-tournament meeting with the Netherlands: the Oranje won 3-1 en route to glory at Euro ’88, thanks to a Marco van Basten hat-trick, then a forgettable goalless draw at the 1990 World Cup was followed by a famous 4-1 England win in 1996.

However, having won just one of the nations’ last nine meetings in all competitions, precedent is not on the side of an English team packed with attacking talent but yet to find rhythm or inspire confidence among their fans.

The most recent of those nine encounters also came in a semi-final, with the Netherlands winning 3-1 after extra time in the UEFA Nations League – both Southgate and Ronald Koeman were in the dugouts on that occasion too.

Last weekend, the latter guided his country to a first Euro semi since 2004 by beating a spirited Turkey side at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, and – like England – the Dutch required a comeback to seal their place in the final four.

A goal down and apparently heading for the exit, an unlikely saviour stepped forth, as Stefan de Vrij pulled his team level on 70 minutes, before the lurking threat of tournament specialist Cody Gakpo forced an own goal from Mert Muldur soon after.

Seeking their second European title, after lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy in Germany 36 summers ago, Koeman’s men are making their way through the so-called ‘weaker’ half of the draw, having only emerged from Group D in third place.

Following victory over Poland, a draw with France, and an eventful defeat to Austria, the Oranje were handed a relatively kind last-16 tie against Romania, in which they ultimately ran out 3-0 winners.

However, a squad led by captain Virgil van Dijk will attempt to win just a second European Championship semi-final tie for the Netherlands; and with a dismal record of four losses from the previous five, the burden of history weighs heavily on their shoulders.

Also read: Argentina will play Canada in the semifinals of the Copa America

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