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Netherlands 1-2 England: Watkins' added-time winner seals final spot

Substitute Ollie Watkins struck an added-time winner as England sealed a place in the UEFA EURO 2024 final in dramatic style.

Semi-final highlights: Netherlands 1-2 England

England will face Spain in Sunday's UEFA EURO 2024 final after substitute Ollie Watkins struck a dramatic late winner to see off the Netherlands in Dortmund.

Key moments

7' Simons' blistering strike beats Pickford
18' Kane fires spot kick into bottom corner
23' Dumfries clears Foden's effort off line
30' Dumfries heads corner against bar
32' Long-range Foden shot grazes post
65' Pickford beats away Van Dijk effort
90+1' Sub Watkins fires in dramatic winner

Match in brief: England at the last

Ollie Watkins (right) watches his shot hit the back of the net
Ollie Watkins (right) watches his shot hit the back of the netAFP via Getty Images

As has become customary in Germany, the game was preceded by pyrotechnics but that display was quickly eclipsed by the fireworks on the pitch. This semi-final was seven minutes old when Xavi Simons lit the touchpaper, dispossessing Declan Rice, advancing and, though stretching, still managing to unload a blistering shot past Jordan Pickford.

For the third knockout match running, England were behind. How they responded. Within 11 minutes it was all-square, Harry Kane continuing the Three Lions' spot-kick perfection with an effort that gave Bart Verbruggen no chance after Denzel Dumfries was adjudged to have infringed. So far, so frenetic. But why stop there?

As it happened, reaction

Dumfries was soon in the thick of it again with a goal-line clearance to deny Phil Foden; next the Dutch right-back was at the other end, heading against the bar. The excellent Foden responded in kind, grazing the upright with a fine curling strike. It was end-to-end stuff, but if the first half was action-packed blockbuster, the second gave way to a taut thriller.

The chances dried up but not the intensity and drama. The Netherlands slowly gained the upper hand, England wrestled it back. Bukayo Saka had a goal ruled out for offside. Extra time loomed when the stoppage-time twist came, as Watkins collected fellow substitute Cole Palmer's pass, worked just a sliver of space and drilled an unerring shot into the far corner. The Three Lions roared. Next stop: Berlin.

Vivo Player of the Match: Ollie Watkins (England)

Player of the Match: Ollie Watkins

"For his impact off the bench and his great individual goal."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Derek Brookman, Netherlands reporter

A much improved second-half showing from the Oranje ended in late heartbreak. They made The Three Lions' defence work hard, with Pickford called into action on several occasions. Wout Weghorst's presence made him an effective target man and helped bring the other forwards into the game. All that was missing was the finishing touch.

Xavi Simons celebrates his stunning opener
Xavi Simons celebrates his stunning openerGetty Images

Joe Terry, England reporter

Another resilient England performance turned on its head late on! The Three Lions were unable to build on the impetus they created in the first half, and the second period was probably shaded by the Oranje. However, England's defence held firm – as they have done for most of this tournament – and Watkins ensured they reached the EURO final in successive editions.


Watkins: 'It's the best feeling ever'

Ollie Watkins, England forward: "I've been waiting for that moment for weeks. I got the opportunity and took it with both hands. I said to [fellow substitute Cole Palmer]: 'We're going to come on and you're going to set me up.' I knew, as soon as he got the ball, he was going to play me in. When it went in the bottom corner, it was the best feeling ever."

Gareth Southgate, England manager: "We felt, energy-wise, that we were starting to lose a bit of pressure, and Harry [Kane] picked up a knock. Ollie [Watkins] can press well and get those runs in behind. We felt it was a good moment to try it. I'm so chuffed for Ollie to get his moment. To be able to take England to a first [major] final overseas, I'm immensely proud of that."

Southgate: 'We came here to make history'

Ronald Koeman, Netherland coach: "I'm disappointed. The match started really good for us and we scored. After that we had problems in midfield, allowing dangerous players like Bellingham and Foden into the game. We made changes, got control back, and in the last 20 minutes we felt we were going to go on. But then the goal – a really good goal – right at the end."

Jude Bellingham, England midfielder: "Ollie came on and won it. We're really grateful because I don't know if I had another half an hour in me. I'm so happy for him. He's the hero and he saved us. We've delivered again. These moments are great. They bring us together as a team and a family. It's about bringing that into the final."

Kane's three EURO 2024 goals

Key stats

  • England are through to their second EURO final, just three years after their first when they lost in a shoot-out to Italy.
  • England are the sixth side to reach back-to-back EURO finals after USSR (1960/1964), Germany (1972/1976, 1976/1980, 1992/1996) and Spain (2008/2012). The previous five all won at least one.
  • Kane has now scored a record six goals in EURO knockouts, surpassing Antoine Griezmann.
  • Kane is only the third man to score in successive semi-finals after USSR pair Viktor Ponedelnik and Valentin Ivanov (1960/1964).
  • England have lost just one of their last 20 competitive matches (W12 D7).
  • Simons, at 22 years and 125 days, is the second youngest Dutchman to score at a EURO after Patrick Kluivert (19y 353d).
  • The Netherlands have won only one of their six EURO semi-finals.


England's starting XI
England's starting XIGetty Images

Netherlands: Verbruggen; Dumfries (Zirkzee 90+3), De Vrij, Van Dijk, Aké; Schouten, Simons (Brobbey 90+3), Reijnders; Malen (Weghorst 46), Depay (Veerman 35), Gakpo

England: Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guéhi; Saka (Konsa 90+3), Mainoo (Gallagher 90+3), Rice, Trippier (Shaw 46); Foden (Palmer 80), Kane (Watkins 81), Bellingham

Next up

England will face Spain in the final in Berlin on Sunday at 21:00 CET.

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