Euro 2024: England head for Berlin final with Spain as Koeman fumes at VAR – live | Euro 2024

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Ronald Koeman: VAR is ‘destroying’ football

The Dutch manager was not pleased with the decision to award England a penalty in the 18th minute. The video assistant referee cited a challenge by the defender Denzel Dumfries on Harry Kane. The referee Felix Zwayer then reviewed the challengs and awarded a spot kick, which Kane scored.

This is not a penalty. [Dumfries’] only intention was to block a shot. Harry Kane then shoots and their feet collide.

Football is getting destroyed by these type of decisions by VAR. This penalty would not have been given in England. What should you do as a defender? I thought the referee whistled for a lot of silly things, but that’s not why we lose.

Turning point of the match? Photograph: Action Press/REX/Shutterstock
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What the papers say: Olé, Olé, Ollie!

The special night is celebrated across Thursday’s UK newspapers.

The final seconds of the nail-biting match are captured in all their glory across the Guardian’s back page. England celebrate, assured of victory, while the Netherlands look on despondently. “Olé, Olé, Ollie!” is the headline.

Other newspapers opted for a play on words: “Oh, Wat a night!” and “Wat a finish!”

The mood back in the Netherlands is slightly more dampened. AD Sportwereld, a Dutch sporting newspaper, writes “This hurts”, with a photo of Xavi Simons commiserating as the final whistle is blown.

De cover van AD Sportwereld van donderdag 11 juli. Daarin alles over de halve finale tussen Nederland en Engeland, de etappezege van Jonas Vingegaard in de Tour de France, een portret van de Spaanse bondscoach Luis de la Fuente en de columns van Sjoerd Mossou en Thijs Zonneveld pic.twitter.com/ccpFJhxZNF

— AD.nl/sportwereld (@ADSportwereld) July 10, 2024

Catch up on all the papers here.

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Ollie Watkins: ‘I have been waiting for that moment for weeks’

The night’s hero was understandably emotional at full-time. Here is what he said in his post-match interview straight after the final whistle.

On making the final:

Unbelievable. I have been waiting for that moment for weeks. For weeks. For weeks. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am today. I am grateful that I got the opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands. I am delighted.

On his goal:

I swear on my life, my kids’ life, I said to Cole Palmer ‘We’re coming on today, and you’re going to set me up’. And that’s why I was so happy. I knew as soon as he got the ball he was going to play it to me. You got to be greedy. Touch and finish. When I seen it go into the bottom corner … Oh, it’s the best feeling ever.

On Gareth Southgate’s substitutions:

Look, there has been a lot of criticism but at the end of the day we’re in the final. That’s all that matters. So forget all the outside noise. We’re in the final.

On this team:

We’ve got that bounce-back factor, going goals behind. But we seem to kick into gear. We never give up. We’ve won on penalties. We’ve won from behind. One more game now. One more game.

That moment. Photograph: Bradley Collyer/PA
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This tournament has been filled with so many up and downs for England, it is hard to believe that they’re now in this position.

But they’re in a final. The rabbits keep coming out of the hat.

Here is Jacob Steinberg’s assesment from the BVB Stadion in Dortmund on how England got over the line last night.

There is something magical about a team that can keep taking blows but somehow find ways to clamber off the canvas. For here, after the wonder of Jude Bellingham’s overhead kick against Slovakia and the nerveless penalty shootout against Switzerland, was a moment that will go stand the test of time – and, thanks to Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer, will forever serve as the perfect riposte to those who have pinned the blame for every disappointment on on Southgate’s in-game management.

England’s manager has been derided, mocked and even showered with empty cups of beer. His tactics have been questioned and he has been told that he always get easy draws But when Southgate turned to his bench with 10 minutes left here, how satisfying it must have been for the two players he introduced for a tiring Harry Kane and Phil Foden to be the architects of the goal that carried England into their first ever final overseas.

There could be no better exhibition of the spirit instilled by Southgate when Watkins took a pass from Palmer in the 90th minute, held off Stefan de Vrij and then turned sharply before making it 2-1 with an angled shot into the far corner.

In a different environment, Watkins would never have been in the right frame of mind to make such a stunning impact. The Aston Villa striker has not played since England’s second game, the dispiriting draw with Denmark that heaped pressure on Southgate, and knows that few jobs in football are more thankless than being Kane’s back-up.

Read the full match report here.

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Preamble

Yes, it was all real. No, it was not a figment of your imagination. England really did make a European Championship final last night. That is now back-to-back Euro finals and a first ever major tournament final on foreign soil for the England men’s team.

There is so much to discuss. How good is Ollie Watkins? (Very) How decisive were Gareth Southgate’s substitutions? (Very!) Was VAR a talking point? (Obviously) Can the Three Lions get over the line on Sunday? (Maybe …)

Like I said, so much to discuss. No need to waste anymore time. Join me for all the latest news and reaction. And feel free to drop me a mail if you’d like to share your thoughts, questions, celebrations, complaints and musings.

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