Sun, 14th Jul 2024 22:03 (GMT +7)

Euro round-up: England progress on penalties, Netherlands complete comeback in six minutes

Sunday, 07/07/2024 | 17:24:53 [GMT +7] A  A

England was behind against Switzerland, but Bukayo Saka's screamer saved the Three Lions and sent them to penalties, where they uncharacteristically progress. Netherlands, another big dog of the tournament, completed a comeback in six minutes to crush Turkey's semifinal hopes.

England players dancing to celebrate their progression into the semifinals. XINHUA/VNA Photo

Despite hosts Germany crashing out early on Friday, Euro 2024 still provided drama for the remaining teams.

England fell behind against Switzerland, but Bukayo Saka's screamer saved the Three Lions and sent them to penalties, where they uncharacteristically progress. Netherlands, another big dog of the tournament, completed a comeback in six minutes to crush Turkey's semifinal hopes.

England 1-1 (5-3 pens.) Switzerland: Boring England staying alive

EnglandBukayo Saka 80'1 (5)SwitzerlandBreel Embolo 75'1 (3)England penalty shootout scorers: C. Palmer; J. Bellingham; B. Saka; I. Toney; T. Alexander-ArnoldSwitzerland penalty shootout scorers: F. Schar; X. Shaqiri; Z. Amdouni

There are two 'hows' some people are trying to answer: One, how many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man and two, how did England, despite playing so badly, still advanced to the semifinals of the European Championship?

The answer for the second one, is not blowing in the wind, but rather, in Gareth Southgate's mind.

Southgate, who faced immense criticism after recent performances, had to perform a overhaul of his tactics, and fielded a 3-4-2-1 formation to face Switzerland.

The changes seemed to have worked in the first half as England played much better and more active than their previous match against Slovakia, with a considerably fluent passing game, albeit the finishing was still bad.

Southgate's plan to mitigate Switzerland's advantages did work, but it also created a first half where none of the teams found a shot on target.

This dull state of the game continued in the second half for ten minutes, when Murat Yakin's Switzerland made changes in the attacking front, putting Jordan Pickford on his toes. The Swiss' efforts proved fruitful in the 75th minute, as Breel Embolo tapped in Pickford's net after a deflected cross from Dan Ndoye.

Southgate immediately subbed on Cole Palmer, Eberechi Eze and Luke Shaw, and the change revitalised the Three Lions' attack. Just five minutes after Embolo's opener, another England star came to the rescue and equalised: Bukayo Saka. The Arsenal winger has been one of England's best performer this tournament, and he solidified that with a great solo effort and left foot strike from just outside the box, which stunned Yann Sommer.

The cautious and boring mood returned for the remainder of the match and extra time, and the match had to be decided on penalties, a shadow that haunted England in Euros since 1996.

England's Football Association once did a study on penalties produced for the England youth and senior teams, after their dreaded penalties record in the early 2000s. Perhaps this was why England was more confident in the shootout, despite losing the most previous and famous one three years ago in the final.

All English penalty takers in Palmer, Bellingham, Saka, Toney and Alexander-Arnold successfully dispatched their spot kicks, while Jordan Pickford saved Switzerland's first attempt from Manuel Akanji, securing England's spot in the semifinals in the joy of England fans and the disbelief of the Swiss as well as many neutral supporters.

Dutch players at the bench celebrating their 2-1 goal. AFP/VNA Photo

Netherlands 2-1 Turkey: Orange fury shatters Turks' dreams

NetherlandsStefan De Vrij 70'; Mert Muldur 76' (OG)2TurkeySamet Akaydin 35'1

The Olympic Stadium in Berlin was filled with red and orange on Saturday, as fans of Euro 2024's two football crazy nations flocked to the stadium to see their teams fighting for a place in the semifinals.

After 35 minutes of cautious play from both sides, Turkey surprisingly went ahead. One of Euro 2024's rising stars, Arda Guler pulled of a great cross for Samet Akaydin, who was free and hit a powerful header at the second post into Bart Verbruggen's net.

Vincenzo Montella's Turkey held on bravely until the 70th minute, when the Dutch equalised with a header of their own. A cross from the right side found Stefan de Vrij, who rose above everyone else and headed the ball into the back of Turkey's net, with no chance for Mert Gunok to save.

Die Oranje completed their comeback just six minutes later, as the current Euro top scorer Mr. Own Goal strike again. From Xavi Simons' through ball, Denzel Dumfries crossed in low for Cody Gakpo. Turkish defender Mert Muldur, in his effort to clear the ball, brought down Gakpo but freakishly touched the ball into the bottom corner of Gunok's net.

The Turks had a golden chance to equalise in the first minute of added time, but Bart Verbruggen pulled off a point-blank save and punched Netherlands' spot in Europe's top four.

With this results, the semifinals of the Euro 2024 will see four football giants facing off against one another. France will face an on-form Spain in the first semifinal on Tuesday (local time); whilst England face the Netherlands on Wednesday (local time).

Source: VNS