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What Gareth Southgate did minutes after the final whistle of semi-final win

England booked their place in the final of Euro 2024 thanks to Ollie Watkins' 90th-minute winner against the Netherlands - and Gareth Southgate was emotional in the aftermath

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Euro 2024: England fans celebrate Watkins winner on Virgin Voyages cruise

Rather than any bombastic celebrations Gareth Southgate took the time for a quiet phone call after England's dramatic victory over the Netherlands at Euro 2024.

Southgate replaced his captain Harry Kane and star player Phil Foden with Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer in the 81st minute and reaped the rewards minutes later. Watkins latched onto a pass from Palmer before smashing a low shot into the bottom corner from a tight angle.

Watkins revealed post-match that he knew that he and Palmer were going to combine for a goal. Southgate has been criticised for his sluggish use of substitutions at Euro 2024, but his changes worked perfectly in Dortmund to ensure a final against Spain in Berlin on Sunday.

ITV reported that Southgate was spotted on his phone shortly after the final whistle, sharing his joy with someone close to him. He will now hope that England can go one better than in 2021, when they suffered heart-break on penalties against Italy at Wembley.

"We played so well," Southgate told ITV. "It was a complicated game and we had to keep changing with how we were defensively, especially. We had to adapt all the time and the players made so many good decisions. The end is special for the squad and reward for what they are giving to the cause."

Asked about his decision to bring on Watkins and Palmer, he added: "The most important thing is that all of the squad are ready to come into the game. We felt, energy-wise, that we were starting to lose a bit of pressure, and Harry picked up a knock. Ollie can press well and get those runs in behind. We felt it was a good moment to try it. I'm so chuffed for Ollie to get his moment."

Gareth Southgate has guided England to another Euros final

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Image:

Eddie Keogh/Getty Images)

England went behind after just seven minutes when Xavi Simons profited from Declan Rice's mistake to smash past Jordan Pickford. But the Three Lions responded well, although they needed a controversial penalty to level things through Harry Kane.

Phil Foden had a shot cleared off the line and hit the post, while Denzel Dumfries rattled the bar for the Netherlands, before the dramatic conclusion. "Very special night and hopefully very special for everyone at home. I thought our performance was really good," Southgate added to BBC Radio 5 Live.

"You knew with the Netherlands they have more quality so they can punish you like they did, but there's more opportunity to play. Our midfield players, Foden especially, were key finding space and they had to keep changing what they were doing."

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman told ITV: "My feeling in the last 20 or 25 minutes was that we were fresher but they scored a great goal and that's football. Maybe we deserved extra time but it's like that. We can be proud of our players and the national team because we had a great tournament."

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