England’s Victory Over Switzerland in Penalty Shootout Secures Them Euro 2024 Semi Final Spot

England defeated Switzerland to advance to the UEFA Euro 2024 semi-finals, following an exciting penalty shootout match at the Duesseldorf Arena.

Following regular time, the game concluded in a 1-1 draw, with England prevailing 5-3 on penalties.

England’s Victory Over Switzerland in Penalty Shootout Secures Them Euro 2024 Semi Final Spot
England players celebrates the victory. Photo Credit: Sky Sports

For the second time in as many attempts, England advanced to the European Championship semi-finals as Jordan Pickford stopped Manuel Akanji’s penalty and Switzerland’s opening attempt in the shootout, winning 5-3.

Under Gareth Southgate, the coach In the last eight years, England has won more knockout games than they have in the preceding more than fifty years. England appeared to be losing after a goal from Breel Embolo in the 75th minute, but Bukayo Saka’s long-range effort in the 80th minute tied the score at one.

England’s scorers were Jude Bellingham, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ivan Toney, Saka, and Cole Palmer. Switzerland’s scorers were Zeki Amdouni, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Fabian Schar. Saka had failed to score in the Euro 2020 championship tiebreaker.

Embolo had the first effort on goal in the 51st minute, but England had their greatest start in the previous four games with a back three. With the speed of Embolo and Dan Ndoye, Switzerland appeared more dangerous, and England’s first meaningful contributions came from Declan Rice, Kobbie Mainoo, and Ezri Konsa, who made significant blocks. Marc Guehi’s suspension meant that 26-year-old Konsa started at left center back.

Harry Kane didn’t need to drop into midfield; England played higher up the pitch and gradually started to assert themselves. Phil Foden played through the middle; Bellingham was strong on the left; and Konsa looked certain based on the way he checked Embolo in the 51st and 56th minutes. Even with two players on him, Saka posed a threat on the right. Saka broke through, dodging Michael Aebischer and Ruben Vargas, and Mainoo should have scored in the 44th, except for a brilliant block by Granit Xhaka.

Saka gave Aebischer a very rough time. The issue was that there weren’t enough white jerseys close to Yann Sommer’s goal, or the final ball wasn’t polished enough. The second half started as soon as the first one ended thanks to Bellingham’s ball intended for Kane following a good run that missed him. And Kane was absent for extended stretches of time. Mbappe has received more touches in the penalty area than Kane, who only gets one per 20 minutes due to shorter playing time and mask-related obstructions.

Switzerland has a reputation for making it out of the group stage and then leaving. They don’t do quarterfinals well, and if the one in Euro 2020 is disqualified, you’d have to go back to their 1954 World Cup hosting for another. The first team they defeated in a knockout round within regulation time was Italy.

Yakin’s crew, however, has meant business in Germany. In the previous round, Switzerland, who had not lost in four games, maintained their first clean sheet against the reigning champions, Italy. They arrived in Dusseldorf with their highest passing accuracy since 1966, 92%. In 2021, seven of those who began the campaign against Italy continued.

There are more over 550 international caps between Sommer, Manuel Akanji, the fit-again Xhaka, Fabian Schar, and Remo Freuler. And this is a really successful side. In Italy, England, and Germany, Sommer, Akanji, and Xhaka won league titles the previous season.

Yakin and Xhaka haven’t always agreed; the captain of Switzerland even claimed that the team’s play lacked the ferocity of a park kickabout. But after a dinner talk over plenty of good red wine in Dusseldorf between the coach and captain, things took a turn for the better.

Yakin referred to Xhaka as a “player-coach,” and the captain agreed, stating that the coach is receptive to suggestions. This implies that Switzerland will be able to control terms from the base of the midfield, much like Xhaka’s Bayer Leverkusen. Defensive duty required more; on Saturday, it wasn’t quite that.

Also Read: Euro 2024: Mikel Merino’s Late Header Propels Spain into Semifinals with 2-1 Victory Over Germany

England’s Victory Over Switzerland in Penalty Shootout Secures Them Euro 2024 Semi Final Spot
Manuel Akanji's penalty was saved by Jordan Pickford. Photo Credit: Sky Sports

In the second half, Xhaka started to gain ground, and the consequences showed right away. After locating Embolo, Walker had to stop a Vargas ball that was intended for Embolo before Manuel Akanji arrived at Ndoye with a raking ball. Switzerland was re-establishing their authority.

In the 68th minute, Kane had to make a crucial intercept to stop Ndoye. Who else but Xhaka got his head in to halt Bellingham and win a free-kick when England did manage to move forward? It was Xhaka once more who produced a crucial block to deny Bellingham in the hundredth minute.

Appropriately, he was just slightly involved in launching Embolo’s mission. Ndoye pursued it and discovered Embolo stabbing himself to death in front of Walker. Prior to the encounter on Saturday, Switzerland had seven goals from seven different scorers. The absence of an eighth scorer wouldn’t bother Murat Yakin, the coach of Switzerland.

That being said, in Southgate’s 100th game and fourth consecutive quarterfinal, England had a new scorer—their third. This group of players made a comeback in the 90+5 minute. Saka’s long-range cry was delivered well inside the allotted time. With Amdouni forcing a save from Pickford and Shaqiri hitting the horizontal with a corner kick, Switzerland emerged victorious from extra time. Penalties ensued. England under Southgate is a poor team. They possess resilience and character.

Gareth Southgate, England Manager, to BBC:

“I simply believed that the players were outstanding. We played our finest game yet. I believed we were the root of all of their issues. They have a lot going for them. Their movement is good, and they are difficult to press and defend against.

“To overcome adversity once more and demonstrate our fortitude and resiliency… Speaking with the players about it, playing well isn’t the only thing that wins tournaments. That is not the only issue. We demonstrated all of the other qualities that are necessary to win tonight.”

About the fortitude of Bukayo Saka in accepting a penalty during the shootout:

“Very courageous. We never doubted that he would take one because he is among our best. But we are all aware of his experiences.

To perform as he did… Not just him, Trent, and Ivan, though, to come on and take them as they did; Cole is brave in a way that makes him seem like an old man. Thus, it was a tremendous accomplishment for us, and we’re still in it.

“Today we played brilliantly, but we also needed to play flawlessly tactically. We’re in our third semi-final, so it says a lot about the group, I’m not sure what others think of us.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold of England tells the BBC:

“Absolutely amazing. We have these objectives that we have established for ourselves. The team shown a great deal of character, belief, heart, and spirit in the face of a challenging opponent and a deficit.

“We anticipated a tight situation. We succeed no matter what it takes or what happens. To us, that is all that matters.”

We have gotten practice with the punishments. I practiced and enjoyed it when the gaffer said I was taking one since I knew I just needed to do it. Our five punishments were all very severe.”

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