Netherlands’ Journey to Euro 2024 Semifinals and the Clash with England

After an underwhelming group stage which saw them progress as one of the best third-placed sides, the Netherlands have gone from strength to strength in the knockout phase of Euro 2024. The Oranje came from behind to beat Turkey 2-1 in Berlin on Saturday, and their reward is a place in a first major tournament semi-final in a decade – and first at the Euros since 2004 – against pre-tournament favourites England.

Dortmund is the destination for the first meeting between these sides at either the Euros or the World Cup since 1996, and the Netherlands will certainly be hoping for a different outcome having been beaten 4-1 on that day. The Oranje have lost just one of the nine H2Hs since however (W4, D4), a record boss Ronald Koeman will hope can take his side into a first Euros final since they lifted the trophy back in 1988 – coincidentally the last finals to be held on German soil and a tournament which saw the Dutch triumph 3-1 over England!

This is much more familiar territory in recent times for England, who will contest their third major tournament semi-final from four attempts under Gareth Southgate after dramatically beating Switzerland on penalties in the last-eight. While the Three Lions put in an improved display in that match, they’ve now won just once inside 90 minutes in five fixtures at these finals, indicating that another nerve wracking affair may be in store here.

Southgate was keen to praise the “unbelievable character and resilience” of his squad after seeing off the Swiss, and there’s no doubting that England are tough to beat, as the last time they lost a competitive match came back in the 2022 World Cup against France (W9, D4). That was also the last time they conceded multiple goals in a competitive match, so there’s every chance that defensive solidity will guide the Three Lions to a second consecutive Euros final, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact they failed to reach the final in any of their first nine attempts.

Players to watch: Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo has been one of the standout players at Euro 2024, with all of his joint-tournament high three goals arriving in the second half. Fellow Premier League star Bukayo Saka netted a late equaliser for England against Switzerland, before going on to score in the penalty shootout to avenge his miss in the Euro 2020 final. He also scored a game opening goal from the spot against Netherlands keeper Bart Verbruggen whilst playing for Arsenal against Brighton last season.

Hot stat: The Netherlands have lost each of their three semi-finals at the Euros since winning the tournament in 1988.

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