Netherlands and England Clash in Semifinal Showdown at Euro 2024

The path to the Euro 2024 semifinals has been a turbulent one for both the Netherlands and England. Now, a few flashes of brilliance might be all it takes for either side to secure a place in the final. England’s penalty shootout victory over Switzerland brought temporary euphoria, but it felt more like a sigh of relief than a moment of redemption. Their Wednesday showdown against the Dutch in Dortmund might require a significant transformation in their attacking strategy to reach their third major tournament final, potentially against France or Spain.

England has struggled to impress in the latter stages of the tournament, delivering lackluster performances against opponents they should have comfortably overcome on paper. Meanwhile, the Netherlands has experienced a rollercoaster journey, nearly being eliminated in the quarterfinals before staging a dramatic comeback against Turkey. While they showcased dazzling form in their last-eight victory over Romania, they have been forced to fight back from behind in three of their four scoring matches. However, despite their struggles, the Dutch have secured three wins in regulation time compared to England’s one, and have scored almost double the number of goals.

The Netherlands holds a clear advantage in attack, having netted nine goals from 20 attempts on target at Euro 2024 compared to England’s 15 attempts that have resulted in just five goals. The English attack, spearheaded by the usually prolific but currently subdued Harry Kane, Phil Foden, and Jude Bellingham, has struggled to find its rhythm. Although England improved against Switzerland, their five expertly taken penalties rescued an attack that again looked frustrated. Their first shot on target came in the 80th minute, with Bukayo Saka’s equalizer. The Dutch, on the other hand, don’t face such issues and will rely heavily on tournament joint top scorer Cody Gakpo to trouble an England defense that has been solid in contrast to their sluggish attack.

England manager Gareth Southgate declined to discuss the Dutch after his team’s victory over Switzerland, instead choosing to focus media attention on his players’ resilience in handling the pressure of penalty shootouts. He attributed England’s goal-scoring woes to the unconventional nature of the matches, where teams faced crowded defenses determined to shut them down. “These are national events with huge pressure, with really young men in the middle of it. Our team has been under enormous pressure from the start. They’re doing so well. So well,” Southgate said. “We’re not able to score a load of goals at the moment. But again, we’ve played three teams that play back fives, very well organised defences.” Southgate is expected to stick to a similar lineup, having resisted calls to shake things up or make substitutions during the tournament.

The Dutch, known for their inconsistent performances, will need to shore up their defense if they want to reach their first final since their 1988 Euros triumph, their only major tournament victory. Austria and Turkey exploited weaknesses in the Dutch defense, particularly at set-pieces, and England will likely attempt to replicate this strategy. Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman has also faced criticism, hitting back at pundits who questioned his team’s commitment. He defended his players, highlighting their determination in overcoming their deficit against Turkey. “We need to fight to win the semi-final,” Koeman said. “It will be a great night on Wednesday between two big nations historically. England have good players, but we have too.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top