Netherlands 1-2 England: Ollie Watkins nets last-gasp winner to send Three Lions into Euro 2024 final

Ollie Watkins left the Netherlands stunned (REUTERS)
Ollie Watkins left the Netherlands stunned (REUTERS)

Ollie Watkins struck in the 90th minute to send England into the Euro 2024 final with a dramatic 2-1 win over the Netherlands.

The Three Lions, as in their previous two knockout matches at the tournament, fell behind, as Xavi Simons scored a stunning opener inside seven minutes.

But England responded with arguably their best 45-minute display of the summer, even if they equalised in fairly controversial circumstances. Harry Kane was perhaps fortunate to win a penalty, after Denzel Dumfries attempted to close down his shot, and the England captain stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick.

A cagey second-half followed, one that seemed destined to be followed by another 30 minutes, until Watkins gathered Cole Palmer’s pass and from the tightest of angles fired a brilliant finish into the far corner.

No English men's team has made it to a major final on foreign soil before and now they have the chance to become European champions for the first time, when they face Spain in Sunday’s final.

Gareth Southgate only made change from the Swiss clash, Marc Guehi back from suspension to replace Ezri Konsa, and saw an encouraging start undone before the mist from the pre-match pyrotechnics had fully lifted.

Declan Rice was uncharacteristically dispossessed in his own half and could only watch Simons continue to slam beyond Jordan Pickford from 20 yards in front of a rocking orange wall.

It was a seventh-minute gut punch that England reacted well to, with Bart Verbruggen having to get down well to stop a long-range Kane laser skipping past him. The skipper tried his luck again after Bukayo Saka was blocked out and writhed in agony on the deck after striking over, clutching his right foot.

As Kane held his fluorescent boot VAR Bastian Dankert advised Felix Zwayer to review the pitchside monitor and the much-discussed referee controversially pointed to the spot.

Denzel Dumfries was booked for his what was adjudged to have been a reckless challenge on Kane, who ignored the noise to fire past the goalkeeper's reach into the bottom left corner.

The 18th-minute equaliser sparked England's best period of the tournament to date, with Dumfries having to clear off the line after Foden struggled to get the ball out of his feet before slipping through Verbruggen's legs.

The Dutch right-back sent a header onto the crossbar at the other end as he battled for the main billing with Foden, who soon clipped the outside of the far post with a left-footed curler from 25 yards.

Luke Shaw replaced Kieran Trippier at the break, when Ronald Koeman turned to towering striker Wout Weghorst in place of Donyell Malen as he sought to change the dynamics.

The second period began with long spells of England possession without purpose, with the Dutch failing to click when they tried to threaten.

As Southgate's side faded, the orange hordes found their voice and Pickford prevented them from celebrating in the 65th minute by showing quick reactions when Virgil van Dijk met a fine free-kick.

England did not so much as muster a second-half shot in response but thought they had scored in the 79th minute. Walker ran behind and Saka fired home his cutback, only for the flag to be raised for offside - a decision quickly ratified by those in the VAR booth.

Foden and Kane were replaced by Palmer and Watkins after that disallowed goal - an eye-catching double change that proved a masterstroke.

As fans and players braced themselves for another extra-time period, Palmer sent a low ball through for Watkins. The angle looked too tight but the confident striker turned before Stefan De Vrij could react, lashing a low effort past Verbruggen in front of the stunned Dutch fanbase.

Additional reporting by PA Sport.