Euro 2024, Football

Euro 2024 – England vs Switzerland: Three Lions head to the Euro 2024 semi-finals after perfect penalty shootout

After a 1-1 draw, England defeated Switzerland in a penalty shootout to proceed to the Euro 2024 semi-finals. Jordan Pickford’s save of Manuel Akanji’s spot kick proved to be the game-winning save.

After Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, and Ivan Toney similarly maintained composure and Pickford denied Akanji, Switzerland’s first attempt, to seal a suspenseful 5-3 shootout victory, Trent Alexander-Arnold hammered home the game-winning penalty.

In the 75th minute, England appeared to be headed for an early exit from the competition until Breel Embolo of Switzerland ducked ahead of Kyle Walker to poke in a deflected cross from close range, setting up a meeting with the Netherlands in the semi-finals on Wednesday.

Shortly after, though, Saka—arguably the most dangerous player in England—found a way to tie the score when he cut inside and curled a spectacular finish in off the post from beyond the box. Saka was playing as a right wing-back for the first time.

Saka’s goal was England’s first effort on goal, and Gareth Southgate’s team struggled through extra time, almost escaping heart-stopping moments when Zeki Amdouni’s drive was parried and Xherdan Shaqiri struck the post straight from a corner.

All of that was irrelevant, though, as England prevailed in the shootout to vanquish the memory of their penalties-based loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final. They will now face each other in the semifinals on Thursday morning in Dortmund at 3 a.m.

England’s ambition of winning a trophy for the first time since 1966 is still alive, but Southgate has some work ahead of him. One problem is to get more out of his unmotivated captain Harry Kane, who was replaced by Toney prior to the shootout after a lacklustre performance.

England boss Gareth Southgate to BBC:

“I just thought the players were brilliant. It’s the best we have played. I thought we caused them a lot of problems. They are a really good side. They are hard to press, they are hard to defend against, their movement is good.

“To come from behind again and show the character and resilience we did… Talking to the players about that, winning tournaments isn’t just about playing well. It’s not just about that. You’ve got to show other attributes to win and we showed them all tonight.”

On Bukayo Saka’s bravery in taking a penalty in the shootout:

“So brave. He is one of our best, so we were never in any question that he was going to take one. But we all know what he went through.

“To deliver as he did…. But not just him, Trent and Ivan, to come on and take them as they did; Cole, he’s like an old man in the way he is fearless. So a huge result for us, a huge performance, and we’re still in it.

“We played well today and we had to be tactically spot on. I don’t know what people think of us but we are in a third semi-final, so that says a lot about the group.”

England’s Trent Alexander-Arnold to BBC:

“Incredible. These are the goals that we set for ourselves. Difficult opponent, going behind, and the team showed a lot of character, belief, heart and spirit out there.

“We knew it was going to be tight. Whatever it takes, and no matter what, we win. That is all that matters to us.”

“The penalties are what we have practiced. When the gaffer said I was taking one, I just enjoy it and I practice it – I knew I had to just execute it. All five penalties from us were great.”


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