England’s Dramatic Comeback: Southgate’s Squad Triumphs Over Switzerland to Reach Euro 2024 Semi-Finals

England spectacularly kept their hopes for Euro 2024 alive, with the Three Lions coming from behind to beat Switzerland on penalties during Gareth Southgate’s 100th match as national team manager, reaching a third major semi-final under his leadership.

After four unconvincing displays, Southgate finally shook things up by altering England’s formation to match Switzerland’s five-at-the-back system. Although the Three Lions continued to struggle to create chances, they were certainly able to assert a greater level of control over the competition after a nervous opening 10 minutes. The Düsseldorf supporters, however, remained frustrated as neither team managed a single shot on target before halftime, though Kobbie Mainoo was denied by a brilliant block from Granit Xhaka just before the break.

Switzerland began to show the kind of offensive prowess that had seen them surpass Italy after the restart, with Breel Embolo twice threatening to break the deadlock from close range, although his efforts were tame and straight at Jordan Pickford. The Red Crosses were certainly improving as England started to sit deeper in their own half, as they have often been accused of doing under Southgate in major tournaments.

Once again, this pessimism came back to haunt them, as Switzerland broke the deadlock through Embolo with a quarter of an hour to play, scoring from close range after Dan Ndoye’s cross was deflected into his path by John Stones. Southgate had no choice but to make changes from the bench, but it was one of his starters who bailed him out as Bukayo Saka cut in from the right and beautifully curled an effort into the corner off the post, restoring parity with 10 minutes of regular time remaining.

England now had the momentum but failed to find a way through before 90 minutes, relegating them to extra time for the second consecutive match. This time, there was no immediate strike to take the lead as Harry Kane had managed against Slovakia, but Declan Rice came close to a spectacular goal just five minutes into the extra half-hour, with Yann Sommer turning it around the post. Longtime Swiss talisman Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench shortly after and came inches from a stunning winner when he hit the woodwork directly from a corner.

Zeki Amdouni and Silvan Widmer also nearly sent their country into the semi-finals, but England held firm to take the match to penalties. In front of the Three Lions faithful, Cole Palmer gave his team the perfect start by confidently sending his spot-kick home, before Pickford backed him up by saving Manuel Akanji’s attempt. England were flawless from then on, with Trent Alexander-Arnold converting the decisive penalty to send his country into the semi-finals in Dortmund on Wednesday.

Leave a comment