Monday, July 22, 2024

England hunting for maiden crown; Dutch hope to end drought


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Dortmund, July 9: England can reach back-to-back European Championship finals when it meets the Netherlands in Dortmund in the second semi-final. The winner plays Spain or France in final.
Both teams conceded the opening goal in their quarterfinals before coming back to win, with England beating Switzerland in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw and the Netherlands winning 2-1 against Turkey.
After a win on penalties in his 100th game in charge of England, manager Gareth Southgate defended his often-cautious tactics as the kind of “streetwise” style successful teams use.
The backlash from England fans, including some who threw plastic cups at him after a group-stage game, is “quite difficult” to deal with, he added.
The Netherlands will be by far the highest-ranked team England has faced after group games with Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia, followed by knockout games with Slovakia and Switzerland.
The referee for the game is Felix Zwayer, who once had ties to a match-fixing scandal in Germany.
England midfielder Jude Bellingham was fined 40,000 euros (USD 43,400) in 2021 while playing for Borussia Dortmund for criticizing Zwayer.
England has relied on the right-footed Kieran Trippier at left wing-back, but his tendency to cut inside has meant England has made little use of the left-wing all tournament.
Left-footed Luke Shaw came off the bench against Switzerland for his first minutes since February after injury. Shaw says he’s fit to start against the Netherlands if Southgate picks him.
Southgate has to choose whether to stick with Ezri Konsa in the centre of defence after he replaced the then-suspended Marc Guéhi against Switzerland. Guéhi is eligible again.
There’s scrutiny of Harry Kane’s fitness after the England captain went off with a cramp in extra time against Switzerland.
Ivan Toney came off the bench and scored one of England’s five successful penalties in the shootout.
Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman could keep his lineup unchanged for the third game in a row, with Memphis Depay starting alongside Cody Gakpo and Steven Bergwijn up front.
By the numbers
England has played a full hour more than the Netherlands in the last 10 days, after beating Slovakia in extra time and then Switzerland on penalties.
The Dutch wrapped up their wins over Romania and Turkey without needing extra time.
The Netherlands scored the opening goal in only one of its five games so far at Euro 2024, against Romania in the pre-quarterfinals. England last scored the opening goal against Denmark in the group stage.
The Netherlands hasn’t reached a European Championship final since it won the tournament in 1988 and was last a semi-finalist in 2004.
England’s first shot on target against Switzerland was Bukayo Saka’s goal to level the score in the 80th minute.
A round earlier, Bellingham’s spectacular overhead kick was England’s first shot on target. That came in the fifth minute of second-half added time.
Dutch forward Gakpo is the top-scoring player left at Euro 2024 with three goals.
What was initially thought to be a fourth against Turkey was instead ruled to be an own goal.
Kane and Bellingham are England’s top scorers in the ongoing Euro 2024 with two.
“I don’t really understand the criticism. What he’s done for the country, for us as players as well, he really took us to the next level … I’ve got a lot to thank him for because he showed a lot of faith and trust in picking me when he didn’t have to,” said England defender Luke Shaw on manager Gareth Southgate.
“Hopefully, it’s us that will have the ball more than England. So it’s more England that’s running. I expect a high-intensity game,” said Netherlands defender Micky van de Ven. Kickoff at 12:30 am IST. (AP)10


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