Five things we learned from England's victory over Holland: Arsenal ace at fault for opener but Foden and Mainoo shine

England are through to the 2024 European Championship final after beating Holland 2-1, thanks to a last minute Ollie Watkins goal.

Xavi Simons had given the Netherlands the lead in Germany before a controversial penalty decision allowed Harry Kane to fire in an equaliser from the penalty spot.

After the second half looked to be drifting away from them, substitute Ollie Watkins fired in a low, powerful effort into the bottom corner on minute 90 to send the Three Lions through.

Here are five things we learned.

Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty ImagesFoden and Mainoo electric for England

After Phil Foden had struggled to make an impact throughout the tournament up until this point for England, the Signal Iduna Park was the setting for a redemption from the Manchester City midfielder.

Foden was electric for Southgate’s side and nearly scored a screamer for the Three Lions, similar to what Lamine Yamal had done for Spain the night before.

As for Manchested United’s Kobbie Mainoo, the midfielder was a class above and made a string of important interceptions to stop Holland from springing forward on the counter-attack.

Simons scores outrageous opener

Whilst the build up was mainly focused on England’s chances of reaching their first major final on foreign soil, the Netherlands exploded into life with just seven minutes on the clock.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Xavi Simons, who is attracting interest from Manchester United, struck a brilliant goal.


After robbing Declan Rice of the ball in midfield, Simons unleashed a powerful effort and left Jordan Pickford with no chance.

Declan Rice’s poor tournament continues

Barring a couple of moments of good play from Rice, this tournament in Germany has been one to forget for the Arsenal midfielder.

He was inexcusably robbed by Simons of the ball and the Dutch midfielder scored an outrageous goal to open the scoring for Der Oranje.

Whilst Mainoo was a class above, Rice looked to be struggling during the game at times and he will want to forget about that performance quickly.

Southgate’s changes wins England the game

After the Three Lions left things late to make changes, England looked to have thrown their chance away of a place in the final with Holland growing into the encounter.

However, the introduction of Watkins swung the game back in England’s favour as the Aston Villa striker fired in a low, superb effort past Bart Verbruggen in the 90th minute.

It was a moment of pure class from the substitute and Southgate deserves credit for the change he made.

What next for England

It has been a mixed tournament for England, despite reaching the semi-finals the performances of the Three Lions have flattered to deceive.

This was widely expected to be Southgate’s last tournament in charge of the national team but you wonder if the performance, particularly after tonight’s victory, could change things for him.

England, however, have a final to prepare for as they are set to take on Spain in Sunday’s 2024 European Championship final.

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