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Netherlands 1-2 England: Watkins sends Three Lions to Euro 2024 final

England booked their place in the Euro 2024 final after beating the Netherlands in Dortmund.

England's Ollie Watkins

England booked their place in the Euro 2024 final after beating the Netherlands 1-2 in Dortmund.

Ronald Koeman’s side started quickly, Xavi Simons catching Declan Rice out before driving a strike past Jordan Pickford to send the orange wall behind him wild.

But England had a penalty a few minutes later.

Denzel Dumfries was judged to have caught Harry Kane as he went for a volley in the box, and the Bayern Munich man buried his spot kick from 12 yards.

The second half was a much less exciting affair, but there was a moment of magic in the dying seconds.

Ollie Watkins, who had been brought on for Kane, fired an inch-perfect volley home, sending the bench, fans and players on the pitch into a momentous round of celebrations.

How it happened

Eyebrows were raised when Kieran Trippier was named at left-wing back again, despite Luke Shaw’s return from the bench in the quarter-final.

But the Netherlands must have been expecting him to start, and they were targeting the Newcastle man from the very first second.

Donyell Malen was looking to use his pace to get in behind the seasoned defender and very nearly did early on, only for the Three Lions to be rescued by the offside flag.

It wasn’t Malen who scored the opener though.

England were undone by Paris Saint-Germain’s Simons, who struck a truly wonderful strike past Jordan Pickford.

The chance came from Rice being dispossessed in a dangerous position, with Simons driving forward towards goal and was free to strike with no defender closing him down.

It was a familiar situation for Gareth Southgate’s men, who also went 1-0 down against Switzerland and Slovakia.

But it did not take long for them to respond, as has been the case throughout the tournament.

Captain Kane looked to fire a snap volley home after Bukayo Saka was tackled in the box, but as his effort flew over the bar, he was caught but a high foot from Dumfries.

Not many thought it was a penalty upon first viewing, but the referee was instructed to head to the monitor and he then pointed to the spot.

There was never any doubt that Kane would bury his effort, despite Bart Verbruggen diving the right way.

England came so close to a second goal through Phil Foden, who danced through a wall of orange and poked past the goalkeeper, only for Dumfries to stop the ball when it was inches away from crossing the line.

Inter Milan’s Dumfries was involved again, this time at the other end.

He met a Dutch corner and headed off the crossbar, leaving Pickford scrambling.

Foden was the next to hit the woodwork. The Manchester City star was given plenty of time and space on the edge of the box and he curled a left-footed strike, that smashed off the far post.

England continued to dominate the ball heading into the break, but were struggling to break down a more defensive Netherlands, who had replaced an injured Memphis Depay with Joey Veerman.

Changes were made for both sides at the break, with Wout Weghorst and Luke Shaw both entering the pitch.

The Dutch were content to sit in and absorb the pressure for much of the second half.

England were struggling to break them down and in the odd moments the Netherlands did get the ball, they looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

Pickford was forced into a good save by Virgil van Dijk, who latched on to a deep free-kick. The resulting corner was headed over by Dumfries, but the Dutch were certainly looking dangerous at set pieces.

England had the ball in the back of the net through Saka, but it was ruled out very quickly for offside.

Walker delivered a good ball into the Arsenal man who turned it home, but the former went slightly early in his run.

It looked certain that the game was heading to extra-time, but up stepped Watkins.

The Aston Villa man took the ball with his back to goal in the box and fired perfectly on the turn, leaving Verbruggen with no chance.

There was an explosion of noise from the Three Lions fans as players spilt onto the pitch at the same time.

For the second time in as many tournaments, England had set up a European final.

What next for England at Euro 2024?

Following their semi-final win against the Dutch in Dortmund, England will head to Berlin for the final.

They will take on Spain, who have arguably been the team of the tournament and overcame France in the semi-finals.

It will be the toughest test of them all as both sides look to lift the famous trophy in the German capital.

The game will take place on Sunday, 14 July at 8pm.

Picture of Mitch Fretton

Mitch Fretton

Mitch is a freelance sports journalist with experience working for LiveScore, GOAL and Colchester United. He has experience working from both his desk at home and in the press box at games covering the Champions League and international football.