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England secure place in Euro 2024 final with dramatic Ollie Watkins winner

Source The Ghana Report

England will face Spain in Sunday’s Euro 2024 final following a dramatic 2-1 semi-final win over Netherlands in Dortmund on Wednesday night.

It marks a second successive European Championship final for the Three Lions, having gone 55 years without making any between the 1966 World Cup and Euro 2020. But, having lost on penalties to Italy at Wembley three years ago, Gareth Southgate’s side will be looking to go one better.

Ollie Watkins emerged as the unexpected hero with his clinical 90th minute winner, squeezing the ball into the bottom far corner of the goal despite the close attention of Stefan de Vrij. Overall, it once more highlighted an admirable resilience from England not seen before the Southgate era.

Netherlands had taken the lead in a matter of minutes when Xavi Simons picked the pocket of Declan Rice in England’s half and drove towards goal. Without being closed down quickly enough, he took an ambitious shot on that flew past Jordan Pickford.

England were handed an absolute VAR gift when follow through from Harry Kane’s shot connected with Denzel Dumfries. It didn’t look like a penalty in real time or on slow-motion replays, but referee Felix Zwayer was told to consult the pitchside monitor and then pointed to the spot. Kane converted with power into the bottom corner – his record-breaking sixth goal in Euro knockout games.

Harry Kane
Harry Kane equalised for England / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Those dressed in white and blue sparked into life after that and Phil Foden’s poke goalward after impossibly dancing through orange-clad defenders was stopped on the line by Dumfries. Up the other end, the Dutch right-back struck the bar from a header at a corner, while Foden then took on a curling Lamine Yamal-esque effort that clipped the outside of the post.

A Netherlands resurgence into the second half saw Pickford make a reaction save from Virgil van Dijk and X users turn on Southgate once more. As time ticked by, Bukayo Saka had the ball in the net but was denied by an offside flag, and the tie looked certain for an additional 30 minutes until Watkins, a late substitute in place of Kane, critically intervened.

Spain booked their place in the final on Tuesday night with a 2-1 victory over France in the first semi-final. Yamal, arguably now the best 16-year-old to ever play the game, scored an absolute stunner to help La Roja into their first final since winning Euro 2012 more than a decade ago.

Luis de la Fuente’s side have consistently shown themselves as the team to beat throughout.

The final at Berlin’s Olympiastadion will kick-off at 8pm (BST) on Sunday 14 July.

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