Ollie Watkins nets 90th-minute winner to fire England into Euro 2024 final

Ollie Watkins nets 90th-minute winner to fire England into Euro 2024 final

By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer, Dortmund

Ollie Watkins struck at the death to send England to their second successive European Championship final as Gareth Southgate’s side dug deep to see off the Netherlands.

The eyes of England were fixed on Dortmund on Wednesday evening as the Euro 2020 runners-up looked to seal a shot at history in Sunday’s Berlin showpiece against favourites Spain.

Harry Kane’s spot-kick cancelled out a superb Xavi Simons opener before Watkins stepped off the bench and wrote his name into the history books by sealing a 2-1 triumph in the 90th minute.


No English men’s team has made it to a major final on foreign soil before and now they have the chance to become European champions for the first time this weekend.


Southgate’s side played their best football of the tournament during a breathless first half in which Kane scored a contentious penalty after Simons struck an early blow.

England lost control but the bold decision to replace Phil Foden and Kane with Cole Palmer and Watkins paid off magnificently, with the former feeding the latter to turn and strike the momentous winner.

Southgate only made change from the Swiss clash and saw an encouraging start undone before the mist from the pre-match pyrotechnics had fully lifted.

Declan Rice was uncharacteristically dispossessed in his own half and could only watch Simons continue to slam beyond Jordan Pickford from 20 yards in front of a rocking orange wall.

It was a seventh-minute gut punch that England reacted well to, with Bart Verbruggen having to get down well to stop a long-range Kane laser skipping past him.

The skipper tried his luck again after Bukayo Saka was blocked out and writhed in agony on the deck after striking over, clutching his right foot.

Dumfries challenges Kane in the penalty area
Harry Kane was adjudged to have been fouled by Netherlands’s Denzel Dumfries (Nick Potts/PA)

As Kane held his fluorescent boot VAR Bastian Dankert advised Felix Zwayer to review the pitchside monitor and the much-discussed referee controversially pointed to the spot.

Dumfries was booked for his what was adjudged to have been a reckless challenge on Kane, who ignored the noise to fire past the goalkeeper’s reach into the bottom left corner.

The 18th-minute equaliser sparked England’s best period of the tournament to date, with Dumfries having to clear off the line after Foden struggled to get the ball out of his feet before slipping through Verbruggen’s legs.

The Dutch right-back sent a header onto the crossbar at the other end as he battled for the main billing with Foden, who soon clipped the outside of the far post with a left-footed curler from 25 yards.

The Manchester City star then saw a low effort saved after the impressive Kobbie Mainoo flicked it to him towards the end of a bright first half that Memphis Depay did not finish through injury.

Phil Foden strikes towards goal against the Netherlands
Foden went close on three occasions during the first half (Nick Potts/PA)

Luke Shaw replaced Kieran Trippier at the break, when Koeman turned to towering striker Wout Weghorst in place of Donyell Malen as he sought to change the dynamics.

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