England into final after 2-1 win over Netherlands, Ollie Watkins goal, Harry Kane penalty, VAR, video, reaction, final vs Spain date

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Sportem
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England is into a second-straight Euro final after a pulsating 2-1 win over the Netherlands on Thursday morning.

The two teams looked destined for extra time before super sub Ollie Watkins fired a stunning shot into the left corner, giving Bart Verbruggen no hope.

Cole Palmer, who was introduced into the game late alongside Watkins, was heavily involved in the winning goal with the final pass as England booked a date with Spain in the final on Monday at 5am AEST.

Former England midfielder Izzy Christiansen said on BBC Radio 5 Live that Three Lions fans went into “absolute overdrive” after the goal.

“So many are climbing on the barriers, unbelievable scenes,” she said.

Ollie Watkins of England celebrates scoring. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
England is into the final. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The Dutch were the first to get on the board in the seventh minute through a stunning Xavi Simons strike, first winning possession from Declan Rice and then unleashing a powerful shot from the edge of the box to beat Jordan Pickford.

The England keeper was no hope of stopping it though, with the Netherlands making a perfect start to open up a 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long though for England to start to threaten, with great lead-up work from Bukayo Saka creating an opportunity for Harry Kane, who sent his shot over the crossbar.

It was a controversial penalty. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)Source: AFP
Harry Kane reacts after a foul. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)Source: AFP

The relief was short-lived for the Netherlands as Kane didn’t have to wait long for another chance, although this one came via a penalty in contentious circumstances.

Denzel Dumfries was ruled to have fouled Kane in the box as the England striker attempted a shot from a bouncing ball in the 14th minute, later going down in pain after contact was made.

Referee Felix Zwayer pointed for a goal kick but the VAR intervened to check for a potential penalty, later instructed to award the spot kick, which Kane then converted into England’s first goal.

The decision had ITV’s rules analyst and VAR expert Christina Unkel “astonished”.

“So one of the surprising things here is yes, is there a studs contact by Dumfries onto the top of the boot of Kane? Correct. However, Kane is getting the shot off completely, his momentum is following him through,” she said.

“I am quite surprised that this is being sent because it is not a clear and obvious error, and in fact the preferred recommendation is for this not to be a penalty.”

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Even former England defender Gary Neville didn’t agree with the call.

“As a defender, I think it’s an absolutely disgraceful decision,” Neville said on ITV.

“There’s no way that was a penalty. He just goes in naturally to block the shot. It’s not a penalty for me. You have to take your luck though.”

Ian Wright though disagreed, arguing Dumfries’ actions were “reckless”.

“His studs are up. They’ve given it – anywhere else on the pitch and it’s a foul,” he said.

“If someone thinks that’s reckless? Honestly that’s not a penalty. There has to be licence to try and block the shot,” Neville argued back.

With the goal, Kane made history as the all-time top scorer in knockout games in the Euros while he also passed Wayne Rooeny as England’s most prolific scorer in the competition’s history.

Both teams had shots at goal hit the woodwork before halftime, although it was England who created more opportunities in the first half, recording seven shots and four shots on target.

Netherlands had the first real chance of the second half after a Joey Veerman free kick came to Virgil Van Dijk at the far post, with Pickford saving the day for England.

England looked to have taken the lead in the 79th minute through Saka, but the offside flag was quick to go up.

But it was Watkins who proved the difference in the dying stages to leave the Netherlands heartbroken.

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