England ready to make history ahead of Netherlands Euros semi-final

England boss Gareth Southgate admits “the noise had never been louder” at the start of Euro 2024 but says his side are now ready to make “history” as they prepare for a semi-final against the Netherlands.

Southgate said his team – who won one and drew two of their group stage games before narrowly beating Slovakia and then edging past Switzerland on penalties in the knock-outs – “couldn’t quite get ourselves in the right place”.

“One of our strengths over the years has been having less fear, showing less inhibition,” he said But at the beginning of the tournament the expectation weighed heavily and the noise from outside had never been louder.

Captain Harry Kane said the team “use past experiences to help” when they approach “tough” games like Wednesday’s semi-final (20:00 BST). I just think during the game you lean on experience, the leaders who have been there and done that,” Kane said. “Ultimately it’s about going out there and taking the opportunity with both hands.

“Reaching back-to-back European Championship finals would be an amazing achievement and we have the opportunity to go and do that.”

The winners of Wednesday’s semi-final will play Spain on Sunday after their 2-1 win over France on Tuesday.
England were beaten by Italy on penalties in the Euro 2020 final, reached the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and were knocked out by France in the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup.

While Kane conceded that “as we’ve been getting better the expectation gets higher”, he said the added pressure can sometimes give players a boost.

He added: “Some will use it in different ways, some will use it as motivation, some will just block it out and focus on what they need to do. Everyone’s different.

“From a team point of view we know what we need to achieve. We have a really important game, a really tough game we need to be ready for. We’ve prepared for that. The Netherlands’ arrival to Dortmund was “significantly delayed” after their train was cancelled and they had to fly from Wolfsburg, with their pre-match news conference being cancelled.

Source: BBC

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