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Southgate singles out midfielder key to‘special’England win

Gareth Southgate has hailed England’s 2-1 win over the Netherlands as a ‘very special night’ as the Three Lions reached the final of Euro 2024.

England came from behind to book their place in Berlin as goals from Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins confirmed a meeting with Spain this weekend. Southgate’s side had fallen behind in their semi-final to Xavi Simons’ early goal for the Dutch, but Kane levelled from the spot after a contentious penalty call.

Southgate looked to his bench to inject freshness into the side late on and his faith was rewarded as two substitutes combined for the winner. Watkins latched onto a Cole Palmer pass before firing home a dramatic 90th-minute goal to down the Dutch.

England will now face Spain in the final as the Three Lions look to exorcise the demons of their defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Southgate celebrated a ‘special night’ for his team and praised the performance of Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden in a much-improved England display.

“Very special night and hopefully very special for everyone at home. I thought our performance was really good,” the England manager said 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.

“Bukayo, did an immense job. He started as a wing-back and he defended as a winger at times – it was one of those nights that everyone had to be flexible.

“We were happy with how Phil [Foden] and Harry [Kane] were playing. We have got a good bench, we had freshness and we know that Ollie can make those runs down the side.

“This is what we came here to do and we have been building for two years. We have got to enjoy tonight, but equally it is such a quick turn around and we have a day less than the team who have been the best the tournament.”

Read – England hero reflects on non-league rise to Euros final

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

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