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Watkins the hero to send England into EURO 2024 final

10 Jul 2024
Watkins

Aston Villa striker scores in last minute to give Three Lions a 2-1 win over Netherlands and set up meeting with Spain

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Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins scored a last-gasp winner to send England into the final of UEFA EURO 2024.

Substitute Watkins smashed in a fantastic finish from a tight angle to give the Three Lions a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in Dortmund, Germany, and send them into their second consecutive European Championship final, having lost to Italy in the last tournament. 

It completed a turnaround for England, who fell behind to Xavi Simons' early goal before equalising through former Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane, who is now tied as the tournament's top scorer. 

It means England will face Spain in the final on Sunday, after Spain beat France 2-1 on Tuesday in the other semi-final.

There will be 27 players contracted to 2024/25 Premier League clubs in the final, with at least three of them guaranteed to win the tournament.

See: The 29 PL players to win past EUROs

EURO 2024 final

Sunday 14 July, 20:00 BST
Spain/France v Netherlands/England (Berlin).

Spain (PL players: 3)
David Raya (Arsenal), Marc Cucurella (Chelsea), Rodri (Man City). 

England (PL players: 24)
Dean Henderson (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Ezri Konsa (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Man City), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Kobbie Mainoo (Man Utd), Declan Rice (Arsenal), Adam Wharton (Crystal Palace), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Man City), Anthony Gordon (Newcastle), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), Cole Palmer (Chelsea), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa).

Netherlands 1-2 England: What happened

Of the 22 starting players across both nations, 13 were from the Premier League. The Netherlands had four, including the tournament's joint-top scorer, Liverpool midfielder Cody Gakpo. England had nine, with Jude Bellingham and Kane the only non-Premier League stars in the Three Lions' first XI. 

The Netherlands went ahead in the seventh minute through Simons. It was the earliest goal scored in a UEFA EURO semi-final since Alan Shearer scored in the third minute for England v Germany in 1996. 

Kane was then denied an equaliser from long range by Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen before he was awarded and converted a penalty after being fouled by Denzel Dumfries.

Kane, a Spurs academy graduate who joined the club aged 11, is now the all-time top scorer in knockout matches in the UEFA European Championship, with six goals, while he also has more knockout-stage goals in major international tournaments (EUROs and FIFA World Cups) than any other European player, with nine, overtaking Gerd Muller, Miroslav Klose, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe's eight.

The tournament's joint-highest scorer, with three goals, Kane won the European Golden Shoe in 2023/24, given to the player with the most goals in the top division of a European league, while he is a three-time PL Golden Boot winner, and won the World Cup Golden Boot in 2018. 

Phil Foden, the 2023/24 EA SPORTS Premier League Player of the Season, produced his best performance of the tournament, striking a post from long range and having an effort cleared off the goalline after some magical footwork. 

Another player who impressed on the world stage was Manchester United starlet Kobbie Mainoo. No player in the first half made more interceptions or key passes than Mainoo, who also won 100 per cent of his duels and tackles. He became the youngest player to play in a semi-final at a major tournament for England, at 19 years and 82 days. 

England and Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved a close-range shot from Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk in a few seconds that had a Merseyside derby feel, while Arsenal's Bukayo Saka had a goal ruled out for offside against Manchester City's Kyle Walker, who set him up but was offside in the build-up. 

But England did score a winning goal right at the death, when two substitutes combined as 2023/24 Hublot Young Player of the Season Cole Palmer passed to Watkins to become the hero.

Watkins' goal in photos
Watkins
Watkins
Watkins

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