England vs Netherlands: Euro 2024 semi-final preview, stats, team news, head-to-head (2024)

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England vs Netherlands: Euro 2024 semi-final preview, stats, team news, head-to-head (1)Image source, Getty Images

England are through to the semi-finals of the Euros for a second consecutive tournament and will face the Netherlands in Dortmund on Wednesday (20:00 BST).

An improved performance against Switzerland in the quarter-finals saw them progress to the last-four on penalties but, while Gareth Southgate's side have shown resilience, they continue to do things the hard way.

A shift to a back three appeared more effective but, with players returning from injury and suspension, will the manager revert back to a four?

Meanwhile, questions remain around the fitness and effectiveness of captain Harry Kane and, with plenty of talent on the bench, should the England boss think about rotation?

BBC Sport looks at Southgate's dilemmas as they bid to reach Sunday's final against Spain.

Southgate said before the quarter-final he was previously "hammered" for utilising a back three.

The match was Southgate’s 100th in charge and, in the previous 99, he used a back three or a back five in 33 of them.

With Kieran Trippier and Bukayo Saka utilised as wing-backs the switch meant the wide areas were better covered, allowing Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden to stay more central.

Manchester City's Foden had been playing on the left throughout this tournament rather than the central role that saw him named Premier League player of the season for 2023-24.

"Going to three at the back and a box in midfield and three up front, I wondered whether our wing-backs would just become a five and if we’d just become unstuck against a team that know how to play that formation," said BBC pundit and former Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

"But it was the complete opposite - they were brave, they got up the pitch."

However, Southgate may choose to revert to a back four against the Netherlands - who play 4-2-3-1 - and look to minimise the threat of attacking players Cody Gakpo, Memphis Depay and Xavi Simons.

England are still, however, lacking creativity, with Saka's 80th-minute strike to force extra time their first on target of the match, as was the case with Bellingham's equaliser 86 seconds from the end of normal time against Slovakia.

"There are still things to improve, but players were looking to get on the ball and create things. We’re not the finished article yet but there are better signs," added Richards.

Who plays at the back?

England were without centre-back Marc Guehi against Switzerland through suspension.

Guehi has done a fine job and arguably been one of Southgate's best players so far in Germany, but replacement Ezri Konsa, albeit playing in a back three in the quarter-final, produced a superb display.

"Konsa’s performance was incredible," said BBC pundit and former England midfielder Danny Murphy.

"He just took his chance. Every part of his game was impressive. There was no panic. He was replacing someone who had been playing so well so the pressure was even more on him.

"He has given Southgate a huge headache now - Guehi will probably come back in but nobody would be surprised if Konsa stayed in."

The other consideration for Southgate is how to use Luke Shaw, who came on as a second-half substitute against Switzerland and has since declared himself "fit and ready" to play 90 minutes.

The Manchester United defender featured on the left of a back three, but can also play at wing-back or as a more orthodox left-back in a four.

With Trippier and Saka filling in at wing-back against the Swiss, some fans may also be hoping Trent Alexander-Arnold will return to the side.

Southgate has indicated the Liverpool man's impact at the tournament will likely come from the bench.

“Trent has stuck with the task," said Southgate. "He could have thought his tournament was done, but I kept talking to him about how he can have moments and still have a big part to play.”

Kane fit but 'we want to see more'

Captain and striker Kane is England's record goalscorer and has delivered numerous times in the big moments.

He has scored twice at Euro 2024 but has often cut an isolated figure leading the line this tournament.

Kane came off with 12 minutes of extra time remaining in the quarter-final after taking a heavy fall - meaning he did not take a penalty in the shootout - but has already said he will be fit for the semi-final.

Compared with strikers from 14 other nations at Euro 2024, Kane's stats look fairly average.

He ranks seventh for touches in the opposition box with 23, while only five forwards rank lower than his 13.33 shot conversion rate.

A passing accuracy of 74% also puts him 12th among the list of 15 players.

Image source, Opta

For Bayern Munich last season, Kane scored 36 goals in 32 Bundesliga appearances, making him the top goalscorer in any of Europe's top five leagues.

There have been cries for him to stay higher up the pitch for England.

At this tournament, 65% of Kane's touches have been within the width of the penalty, compared to just 45% at the last Euros.

However, there does not appear to be a concerted effort to stay in the penalty area.

Ex-England forward Theo Walcott said Kane was "probably sacrificed at times" but that gave Bellingham and Foden more freedom to roam on the pitch.

"We want to see a little bit more from him but he did a job [against Switzerland]," Walcott told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Richards added: "Kane wants to drop in and get on the ball but when he’s playing with two number 10s, that is their role. But he is such a high-class goalscorer and you need to play him."

Image source, Opta

Subs provide 'spark' but should come 'earlier'

Throughout this tournament - as has been the case at previous ones - there have been calls for Southgate to utilise the raft of talent at his disposal.

At Euro 2020 it was Jack Grealish, at the Qatar World Cup in 2022 it was Foden, and in Germany this year has been Cole Palmer and, at times, Newcastle winger Anthony Gordon.

Palmer proved again what an exciting talent he is when he came on against Switzerland after 77 minutes before stepping up first in the penalty shootout, despatching into the bottom corner.

Southgate perhaps prefers to have Palmer as an option from the bench but has also been questioned over the timing of his substitutions, which only came after England went 1-0 down against Switzerland.

"Southgate maybe should be looking at the bench a little earlier," said Richards.

"Palmer always does well when he comes on, I thought [Eberechi] Eze did well when he came on. The spark is there, it is just utilising it at the right time."

Amid the talk around Kane's position, Southgate has looked to back-up striker Ivan Toney rather Ollie Watkins so far in Germany.

The Brentford striker set up Kane for the winner against Slovakia and coolly took his penalty in the quarter-final.

How to follow England v Netherlands

This match is being shown live on ITV with kick off at 20:00 BST on Wednesday.

There is live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live with build-up with Mark Chapman beginning at 19.00 BST.

You can also follow live text coverage on the BBC Sport website and app.

Pick of the stats

  • This is the fourth meeting between England and Netherlands at a major tournament; the Oranje won 3-1 at EURO 1988 (thanks to a Marco van Basten hat-trick), followed by a goalless draw at the 1990 World Cup, and a 4-1 win England win at Euro 1996.

  • England have won just one of their last nine meetings with Netherlands in all competitions (D4 L4), winning a friendly match 1-0 in Amsterdam in March 2018.

  • Of all nations England have faced 20+ times in their history, only against Brazil (15%) do they have a lower win rate than they do against Netherlands (27% - W6 D9 L7).

  • In Memphis Depay (17 shots, 10 chances created) and Cody Gakpo (13 shots, 11 chances created), the Netherlands are the only side with more than one player to have both 10+ shots and 10+ chances created. One or both of Depay and/or Gakpo have been directly involved in 47 of Netherlands’ 74 shots at this Euros.

  • England have gone to extra-time in both of their Euro 2024 knockout ties so far. Only Portugal at Euro 2016, Spain at Euro 2020, and Italy at Euro 2020 have ever gone to extra-time three times in a single edition of the finals.

  • The Netherlands have won two different matches having conceded the first goal at Euro 2024, beating Poland 2-1 in the group stages and Turkey by the same score in the quarter-final.

Related Topics

  • UEFA Euro 2024
  • Football
  • England Men's Football Team
  • Netherlands
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