England match-winner Watkins hails‘the best feeling ever’

Ollie Watkins said scoring England’s winner against the Netherlands was ‘the best feeling ever’ as the substitute fired the Three Lions into the Euro 2024 final.

Watkins came off the bench to decide England’s semi-final with the Dutch, drilling in a 90th-minute decider to seal a 2-1 win and book a place in Sunday’s showpiece.

England have now reached successive European Championship finals and will face Spain in Berlin at the weekend in their bid to be crowned European champions. It is the first time the Three Lions have reached a major tournament final on foreign soil and offers a chance to end a 58-year wait for silverware.

Gareth Southgate’s side impressed during the first half despite falling behind to Xavi Simons’ spectacular strike, as the 21-year-old robbed Declan Rice of possession before blasting an effort past Jordan Pickford in the seventh minute.

England’s equaliser came from the penalty spot after a contentious call that saw Harry Kane caught with a high foot. The England captain stepped up to take the kick and confidently dispatched his 66th goal for the Three Lions.

Both teams hit the woodwork and Phil Foden had an effort cleared from the goal-line during an entertaining first half before the tempo slowed during a cagier second period.

Watkins, however, had the decisive moment as the Aston Villa forward combined with fellow substitute Cole Palmer to angle a perfect finish into the far corner.

Watkins has been limited to just 29 minutes in this tournament so far with Ivan Toney preferred off the bench in recent fixtures, but the 28-year-old celebrated a memorable moment after booking England’s place in the final.

“I’ve been waiting for that moment for weeks,” Watkins said to ITV Sport.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where I am today. I’m delighted. I swear on my life that I said to Cole Palmer that he’s going to set me up today and I’m going to score. It’s the best feeling ever.

“There’s been a lot of criticism but we’re in the final and that’s all that matters. We’ve got that bounce-back factor. Going behind seems to kick us into gear. We’ve won on penalties and come from behind.”

Read – Kane says England have ‘one more game to make history’ after reaching Euro 2024 final

See more – The England XI that thrashed the Netherlands at Euro ’96

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