England beat Switzerland on penalties to advance to Euro 2024 semifinals, will face the Netherlands (2024)

It's England vs. the Netherlands on Wednesday

By James Benge

1 min read

England beat Switzerland on penalties to advance to Euro 2024 semifinals, will face the Netherlands (2)

The Euro Semifinals are set as an own goal proved to be the difference as the Netherlands bested Turkiye 2-1 in the quarterfinals. The Dutch will join England, Spain and Germany as the last four standing in Euros as every team has a chance to win this tournament in a wide-open field. The Dutch face England on Wednesday while Spain and France meet Tuesday.

Netherlands 2, Turkiye 1

Yet again, Turkiye opened the scoring via another defender in Samet Akaydin but the Netherlands were able to hit back in the second half. Ronald Koeman changed the system slightly bringing on Wout Weghorst for Steven Bergwijn and the attack came quickly after. Stefan de Vrij scored a towering header to bring things level and yet another own goal in the tournament was scored, this time by Mert Muldur.

This was the 10th own goal so far during this tournament which threatens the record of 11 own goals scored in the 2020 edition. Turkiye did have chances to level the match with defenders like Mikey Van De Ven making critical blocks and Bary Vebruggen standing on his head. A young side, Turkiye will be back in the future but the Netherlands march on to within potentially 90 minutes of the final.

England 1, Switzerland 1 (England advances 5-3 on penalties)

Perhaps all England need to do is take that mindset of devastating efficiency they showed in their penalty shootout and apply it at any stage when the scores were level.

For the second knockout game in a row, the Three Lions diced with danger, Bukayo Saka's brilliant long range strike saving Gareth Southgate's blushes moments after Switzerland had claimed the lead in their Euro 2024 quarterfinal through Breel Embolo.

England were better. Not as good as they ought to be given the talent they have available to them, but good enough in the most decisive of moments. Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold showed cool heads and immaculate technique to win the game from the penalty shootout. England have earned the chance to improve further.

After all the pre-match talk of Southgate switching systems, the England manager was still able to spring a surprise. It was something approximating a back three, as had been trailed beforehand, but none had expected that Kieran Trippier would remain on the left flank, Saka on the right.

That particular gambit worked rather impressively, Saka blowing past Michel Aebischer at will on his way to the byline. Too often his cutbacks found no one in particular, Harry Kane not occupying the spots that a No.9 ought to. Kobbie Mainoo did and it took an excellent challenge from Grant Xhaka to deny England in what was the best opening of a conservative first half.

The second period was no less thrilling from the outset, but Murat Yakin was prepared to shake things up. His introduction of Silvan Widmer and Steven Zuber on the hour brought more control to the Swiss cause while freeing Dan Ndoye to rove across the flanks. From there he continually stretched Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier.

England could not help but shuffle too wide, opening up space on the right flank in the 75th minute that Zuber and Ndoye fully exploited. A low cross from the latter and all John Stones could do was deflect the ball into the path of Embolo.

It might have taken Switzerland scoring from a stretched pitch to make Southgate see the value in doing the same, but at least England didn't have to wait until the last kick of normal time to draw level. Luke Shaw and Cole Palmer were menacing down the left flank and suddenly gaps were opening up for Saka. He exploited them to the maximum, charging infield and firing a brilliant shot beyond Yann Sommer.

England came out smartly in extra time, Rice and Bellingham drawing saves from the Swiss goalkeeper, but were lucky to make the shootout when a Xherdan Shaqiri corner clattered back off Jordan Pickford's post.

The Everton goalkeeper then delivered, as he so often does, when the game comes down to a battle of will from 12 yards out. With his team mates delivering perfect penalty after perfect penalty, Pickford only needed one save. That he duly delivered, guessing right when Manuel Akanji tamely rolled the ball towards goal. England, in spite of themselves, are into the last four.

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Alexander-Arnold scores -- England 1(5), Switzerland 1(3)

Five brilliant penalties. England are through to the semi finals!

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Amdouni scores -- England 1(4), Switzerland 1(3)

Pickford moves before the Burnley man takes the spot kick. Now he can just roll it down the middle.

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Toney scores -- England 1(4), Switzerland 1(2)

The best penalty taker in the league, maybe the sport? It feels tailor made for him to miss. Of course he doesn't. Sommer got close. Not close enough.

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Saka scores -- England 1(3), Switzerland 1(1)

Everyone in England is taken crashing back to Wembley three years ago. We know how clutch Saka has been from the spit since and it's the same again, rolling the ball into the bottom right side netting.

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Schar scores -- England 1(2), Switzerland 1(1)

The Newcastle man rolls the ball into the bottom right corner. Nicely finished. The Swiss are on the board.

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Bellingham scores -- England 1(2), Switzerland 1(0)

Now that's how you take a stuttering penalty. He waits for Sommer to go and sends him the other way.

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Pickford saves -- England 1(1), Switzerland 1(0)

Akanji doesn't take much of a run up and he's gambling that Pickford will go the wrong way. Not in the slightest. The England goalkeeper goes the right way and it's a dolly. England in control.

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Palmer scores -- England 1(1), Switzerland 1(0)

He didn't miss one in the Premier League last season and in front of the England fans he is composure personified. England get out in front.

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FT -- We're going to penalties

Yikes!

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Time is running out and Shaqiri nearly scores

A few half chances came Switzerland's way but now it is England, who have replaced Foden with Alexander-Arnold, making the running. There's only four-ish minutes to go and a wonderful ball from Shaqiri gets Pickford tracked in no man's land as Widmer runs onto it. Not for the first time today, Saka saves England by getting back in time to block a shot.

Shaqiri stands over the corner and, with Pickford towards his far post, he goes for it! A brilliant curling effort clatters back off the post. What a way that would have been to win a knockout game.

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The changes are made

Embolo makes way for Xherdan Shaqiri, whose presence draws an almighty roar. As one national team icon enters the pitch another is withdrawn. Off comes Kane, who has been so poor so far. On comes Toney, not just excellent from 12 yards out but a real menace in the box too.

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Half time in extra time

You feel that there's something here for England, who would be well advised avoiding the prospect of facing Sommer in a shoot out. There are still game changers on Southgate's bench but you also suspect that a move that could free Shaw to really overlap -- perhaps replacing Foden with Gomez or Dunk -- might aid the England cause.

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Extra time is underway

No changes from either manager to start this second half. It looks like England are lining up in something like a 4-3-3 with Bellingham and Foden ahead of Rice. For many that is the way they should have been playing since this competition began. Can Eze hold the fort at left back, Shaw in the center? Will it work today? And will Harry Kane offer anything?

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FT -- We're heading to extra time

I always thought it wouldn't end this way.

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Not long to go now

Eze drives wide at the near post. England are finally playing like a team that believe they can win football matches. Given the quality in this side and on their bench, you wonder what took them so long? Foden stands over a free kick down the left channel, it's well delivered but Sommer punches away.

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GOAL -- England bail themselves out

He's been the best player in white today and he takes it on himself to save the Three Lions. Saka cuts inside and bends a brilliant shot into the far corner. At least they didn't have to leave it so late this time. Ten minutes plus added time to go!

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England changes

Three of them from Southgate, much too late you fear. On come Shaw, Eze and Palmer. Off come Trippier, Mainoo and, after some Bellingham based confusion, Konsa.

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GOAL -- Embolo pokes in at the back post

Crisis for England, the architects of it once more. Trippier has been dragged infield and is all at sea as Ndoye is released in the box. Neither Konsa nor a despairing boot from Stones can stop the ball coming to Embolo at the back post.

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Kane, what are you doing?

A really important bit of defending by the England captain, tackling Ndoye on the edge of his own box. And yes that helps no end but here's the problem, when Trippier and Bellingham are in a good spot a few minutes later their No.9 is nowhere to be seen, ambling into shot 10 seconds later. The dropping into midfield can help on occasion but this is perverse, a center forward with as many tackles as shots, in a back three situation.

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Changes from Switzerland

Murat Yakin's side have been on top in the last few minutes but still he makes his changes, Widmer and Zuber coming on for Vargas and Rieder. Meanwhile England are accomplishing nothing, Kane and Foden playing in name only. On the bench they have *deep breath*: Palmer, Toney, Watkins, Gordon, Bowen, Eze, Alexander-Arnold. Still they wait for their faltering stars to play their way into the tournament.

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A couple of chances for Switzerland

Not great chances but on two occasions it has taken very good defending from Konsa to stop Embolo from getting really good efforts away. First the Monaco striker has his defender posted up but can't swivel into a good shooting position, only tamely striking at Pickford. The next occasion it's a good cross from the left by Rodriguez but Konsa does enough to ensure that neither he nor Embolo can get a good head on it.

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We go again

The second half is up and running. No changes from either side. England's press traps Switzerland in their half, the ball going all the way back to Sommer twice before he clips a ball towards Embolo that Walker comfortably acquires.

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Was this a penalty?

Vanishingly little to talk about at the break but I do wonder if Kane is entitled to feel hard done by with this collision with Schar in the box?

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HT -- All square at the break

The half ends as it has been going all half, Saka one of the few on the pitch who actually looks like making something happen. Yet again he gets past Aebischer despite Switzerland trying to double up on him. This time he does find a team mate and Mainoo looks primed to strike before Xhaka makes a brilliant tackle in his box. The resulting corner is wasted and that is largely that. England have been better and Switzerland haven't set the world alight. But no one is looking like winning this just yet.

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A stuttering second half

Neither of these sides are exactly known for their electric football and through nearly 40 minutes, well, I haven't had to update our pinned post with any of the big highlights or notable moments. Pickford is heaving it long too often and England are sending it back to him. Meanwhile the Swiss are not finding the space in front of the opposition defense that they did early on. It's altogether too stodgy and slow.

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Saka on the charge

It's a curious approach England are utilising now. Slowly, slowly meandering around the pitch and then someone clips a ball over the top to Saka. To be fair when the ball comes his way that works every time. The Arsenal man blazes past Aebischer yet again and puts the ball in a good spot. Yet again, however, there is no one attacking the six yard box. Given that this is a team with Bellingham and Kane in it that seems borderline criminal.

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Improving England

A couple of good high turnovers won by Rice and Mainoo, allowing the Three Lions to play where they want to play. When they get into the final third there are some encouraging moments even if this feels like a system that would be all the more pleasantly spaced out with Shaw at left wing back. Or indeed any left footer.

The real issue for England is getting the ball high. Too often Pickford is hoofing the ball in the direction of Kane, who is going to find it hard against Akanji and Schar. A fizzed pass between the lines to Bellingham is a reminder of what he can do with the ball at his feet. Why not do it more?

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That England system

So, ermmm, it looks like England have gone for a back three with inverted wing backs. As opposed to what had been expected, we'll see Trippier on the left and Saka on the right. It hasn't worked all that well out of possession so far and while it's encouraging from an English perspective to see both wing backs high up the pitch you're once again wondering who is going to stretch the pitch for England here.

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England beat Switzerland on penalties to advance to Euro 2024 semifinals, will face the Netherlands (3)

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England beat Switzerland on penalties to advance to Euro 2024 semifinals, will face the Netherlands (2024)
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