Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

Artem RossinskySport
Only the sixth official meeting of these teams

Today we will have the second semifinal of Euro 2024, after which we will fully form a pair of finalists. The Netherlands, with their phenomenal run, will meet England, which is still among the favorites to win the championship. Unlike the English, the Dutch have a Euro victory in their history and will definitely not refuse to take the trophy again. OBOZ.UA collected the main facts around the game and prepares you for the most unpredictable confrontation.

Who overcame the performance crisis better?

Of course, this semifinal raises a lot of questions about the performance of both teams. The players began to reach a high level only after the groups, but the realization never fully unfolded. Koeman's men easily beat Romanians but barely got past the Turks. Southgate's team, on the other hand, needs to feel a special welcome and hate from the stands to finally hit the opponent's goal. In short, we need to hope that the Netherlands will not be afraid of the giant, and England will not wait long for the right moment.

The Netherlands realized that the European title was at stake only after the group stage. They were very lucky to jump out of the quartet through the third place table. Since then, the national team has been fighting for every single episode and even creating comebacks, like in the match against Turkey. The reward was not long in coming: this is their first semifinal appearance in a major European tournament in twenty years. Journalists note the complete relaxation of the Orange team at training, as if they are not worried and are ready to face the most risky experiments of the opponent.

Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

On the other hand, it's hard to find a person without high expectations among English football connoisseurs and especially loyal fans. England has never won the Euros, so players of this level are required to do their best, not play defensive football without sharp moments ahead. Although the players themselves, as well as the coach, do not see this as a problem: Luke Shaw said that they need to win. And it doesn't matter at what cost because the team is in the semifinals even if people don't like the performance on the field. And anyway, look at the players at training: despite the catastrophic criticism from their own fans, there is a rather friendly atmosphere.

Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

Previous meetings

The history of meetings between England and the Netherlands has 31 matches, but they were mostly friendly. Only 6 games were official, and the total advantage was on the side of the... Orange team! Yes, you're not imagining things. They were stronger three times (UEFA EURO 88, World Cup qualification 94 and LN 19), and the Lions won once again (at Euro 96). The last official meeting dates back to the League of Nations in 2019, and then in extra time the English were beaten by an auto-goal and the efforts of Promes. Today's game is an opportunity for the Dutch to improve their statistics, and for the English to regain their name in this pair.

The teams are 110% ready in terms of personnel

Both coaches can count on a full complement of players - 26 on each side - who are ready to fight for a ticket to the final in their own style. The Netherlands has more key players, including van Dijk, Depay, assistant Simons, and Cody Gakpo, one of the best Euro scorers. The winger himself noted that being in the semifinals is a strong result but not the final one. Ambition will lead his team to the final.

Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

Pickford will remain England's main man until the end. The team relies on the goalkeeper's reflexes, vision and ability to deliver the longest pass with unique accuracy. Before the match, he noted the special style of the Dutch that he would face and emphasized that this pressure would push him forward! We all saw how expressive the goalkeeper was during and after the penalty shootout last time, so he definitely won in terms of his energy for the game.

Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

In the center of the field, the incredible Kobbie Mainoo will definitely be paired with Rice. No matter how terrible the English team has been, the midfielder is incredibly effective at moving the ball into the final third and allowing it to be passed from flank to flank faster. Also, Luke Shaw's returned to form: he helped keep the result in the match against Switzerland and Lions fans expect the defender to appear on the field from the first minutes.

Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

By the way, the players of both national teams have an interesting personal goal: they have the opportunity to get into the Top 10 Best Dribblers of the Euro! So much time has already passed, the tournament is almost over, and there are no representatives of England and the Netherlands in the ranking. The undisputed leader is the Belgian Jérémy Doku: although he was eliminated, his 34 successful dribbling attempts remain the best among all the players in the championship! The German Musiala is next: he was also eliminated, but his 32 successful attempts keep him at the top. In general, half of the top ten in this indicator have not played for a long time, and it is strange that our current semifinalists are still not there. If you are a neutral viewer, then in the evening count the successful attempts of dribblers to pass the opponent. Well, at least at the end of the Euro, the players should show a beautiful personal game, should not they?

Key words

The players spoke more about the mood of the Dutch. Before the match, however, the team's coach Ronald Koeman paid attention to the fans and thanked them for their support even despite the difficult moments during the games. As for the opponent, he said this:

"The England team has great players, but I think we have great players as well. Now we can play in Dortmund, in one of the most beautiful stadiums on this planet. We reached the semifinals, no one expected it. I understand that we haven't played the strongest teams yet, but it doesn't matter. You can see that other teams also had difficulties, so this is a great compliment for us."
- Ronald Koeman, head coach of the Netherlands
Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

Southgate, in his typical manner, said that anything can happen in cup football. Among those options is an England victory:

"We are now constantly setting maximum goals and it is this consistency that has allowed us to succeed. There is no doubt that the Netherlands have a higher level of play than the teams we have played so far. The opponent has a slightly higher level of play, I would say, in certain areas of the field, and they have less room for mistake. There is absolutely no reason why we can't beat one country on a given night."
- Gareth Southgate, England head coach
Dignity at stake: can the Netherlands stop England? Euro 2024 second semifinal preview

When will the game take place?

The match will take place at the Westfalenstadion stadium in Dortmund, and start at 22:00 Kyiv time. Interestingly, the issue of refereeing is still a hot topic. UEFA has announced that 43-year-old German Felix Zwayer will be the main referee, but this decision may be canceled due to another scandal between a player and a referee.

The fact is that twenty years ago, Zwayer received a bribe, and two years later he was suspended for six months for failing to report match-fixing that he knew about. Time passed and Zwayer refereed the match between Borussia and Bayern Munich. After the match, Jude Bellingham criticized the refereeing, saying how could a referee who was involved in match-fixing be allowed to work? The Englishman was fined, but Zwayer was also partially suspended. And now they can cross paths again at the Euros. And what do we have? A potential conflict of interest. As of Wednesday morning, there was no information on the referee's replacement, which will make this match even more interesting to watch.

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