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Can England Overcome Past Demons? Netherlands Aim for First Euro Final Since 1988

Last Updated on July 8, 2024

A spot in the Euro 2024 final is at stake when the Netherlands and England, both with a history of falling short in major tournaments, face off for the final spot. The Netherlands has had a radical journey in the current tournament. They started it with a comeback 1-2 victory over Poland, followed it with a goalless draw against France but lost to Austria in a narrow 3-2. 

Fortunately, they were still able to advance as one of the best third-placed teams and demonstrate their true value by defeating Romania 3-0 and overpowering Turkey. Thus, they reached the semi-finals for the first time since 2004.

On the other hand, In Group C, England didn’t play their best, but they still managed to finish in first place without losing a game. There were moments of brilliance from players like Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane, and Phil Foden. Bellingham’s amazing overhead kick helped take their Round of 16 match against Slovakia into extra time, where Kane eventually scored the winning goal. 

In their game against Switzerland, England came from behind thanks to Bukayo Saka, who scored to bring the game to a draw, and they went on to win the match in a penalty shootout by scoring all five of their shots. Now, they are just one win away from reaching their second straight European Championship final.  The match is set for 8 pm on Wednesday, 10th July, at the BVB Stadion in Dortmund.

Ronald Koeman has kept the same players starting for the Netherlands in their two knockout games, but there are still some doubts. Steven Bergwijn hasn’t done much on the right wing, and Jeremie Frimpong and Donyell Malen are both pushing to take his spot. It would be surprising to see Wout Weghorst start, as he has been effective coming off the bench, especially after his strong performance against Turkey in the quarter-finals. 

The Netherlands is using a flexible 4-2-3-1 formation, with Xavi Simons supporting Memphis Depay, and Cody Gakpo being very effective on the left side. Nathan Aké is likely to keep his place at left-back instead of Micky van de Ven, and Joey Veerman might replace either Tijjani Reijnders or Jerdy Schouten in the midfield.

There are still questions about Southgate’s tactics, even though he’s led England this far. The switch to a three-man defense against Switzerland wasn’t a huge change from their usual setup, but Luke Shaw’s return from injury hints that he might start and improve the balance on the left side. Harry Kane is set to recover from the cramp that made him leave the game early, but some people still think he should be benched due to some lackluster performances. 

Marc Guehi will be available after serving a one-game ban and should start, even though Ezri Konsa played well in his place. 

Historically, England has only beaten the Netherlands once in nine meetings since their 4-1 victory at Euro 96, which was also their only win in a major tournament. They had a goalless draw at Italia 90, and the Netherlands won 3-1 at the 1988 Euros.

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