HomeLatest NewsEngland ready to understand 'history' in the Euro semi-final against the Dutch

England ready to understand ‘history’ in the Euro semi-final against the Dutch


England manager Gareth Southgate says the Three Lions feel they have a shot at history in tonight’s Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands in Dortmund.

Southgate’s men are aiming to reach the final of a major tournament on foreign soil for the first time and move closer to ending a 58-year wait to win a major tournament.

After beating France 2-1 on Tuesday, the winners will face Spain in Berlin on Sunday.

England crashed out of the Euro 2020 final in heartbreaking fashion, losing to Italy on penalties at Wembley.

Captain Harry Kane said reaching back-to-back finals would be an “amazing achievement” as he aims to win the first major trophy of his career.

But Kane has been singled out for criticism back home for his lackluster performances in Germany, where he now plays his club football for Bayern Munich.

The 30-year-old has scored two of England’s five goals in the tournament but looks physically limited after missing the end of the club season with a back injury.

Kane’s lackluster performances have been symptomatic of England’s struggles as a team.

Twice they have only seen humiliating early exits against Slovakia and Switzerland thanks to individual moments of magic from Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka.

England arrived in Germany as favourites, thanks to an incredibly talented squad under Southgate and an improvement in their fortunes.

And he believes his players struggled to cope with that expectation early in the tournament.

“One of our strengths over the last eight years has been less fear, less inhibition but at the start, the weight of expectation was very high,” Southgate said in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.

“Now we’re at that moment in the tournament where it’s possible? What is achievable? Instead, what could go wrong?

“It’s different for a player. This is now a chance to make history, to make it to the finals for the first time not in England.

The selection of referee Felix Zwier has raised eyebrows after Bellingham was fined during his time at Borussia Dortmund for bringing up a historic match-fixing allegation against the German.

Zwire was banned for six months in 2006 after being investigated for accepting a bribe from another official.

Bellingham was fined 40,000 euros ($43,000) for his outburst after Bayern Munich beat Dortmund in December 2021.

Dutch face travel chaos

The Netherlands also struggled in the group stage with a 3–2 loss to Austria as they finished third as one of the best teams.

Ronald Koeman’s men have bounced back after beating Romania 3-0 in the last 16 before beating Turkey 2-1 in the last eight.

The Dutch boast one of the attacking players at the tournament in Cody Gakpo, who will be looking to add to his tally of three goals so far to go ahead in the race for the Golden Boot.

They had to wait 36 ​​years since their only major tournament victory – the last time the Euros were held in Germany.

But their preparations for the game were disrupted by issues with the German rail system, causing chaos for fans throughout the tournament.

The Netherlands planned to go to Dortmund by rail from their base in Wolfsburg.

However, the disruption at the line meant a last-minute change of plans as they had to fly out instead and missed their pre-match media duties as a result.

“We don’t play until 9pm tomorrow. I’m sure they’ll still get dinner when they arrive,” Southgate added.

“They have plenty of time. I don’t see any effect on the game. “

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