Euro 2024: Will things finally click for England against the Netherlands?

England have underwhelmed so far in this year's Euros; something the Netherlands will hope to use to their advantage.

England have stumbled through to the semifinals of Euro 2024. Gareth Southgate will be hoping things will finally click in their match against the Netherlands.

While some may argue that, yes, England have underperformed, they've made it to the semifinals without playing their best and that deserves some recognition.

They would have a point. At the same time, however, England ended up on the "easiest" side of the bracket and if it wasn't for a miraculous late bicycle kick from Jude Bellingham and a moment of brilliance of Bukayo Saka, England would have been eliminated way before the semifinal.

Again, England and their supporters will point out they're a win away from the final but they'd also agree the performances have fallen short of expectations. The manager knows it and so do the players.

"The ones who have had more experience know what it's like to play for England in major tournaments," Harry Kane said. "As we've been getting better, the expectation gets higher. 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."

England have gone deep into tournaments under Gareth Southgate. In the last Euros, they made it all the way to the final but lost to Italy in penalties.

On paper, the Netherlands are the most difficult opponent England have faced. Given that every opponent has given England problems and have trailed Slovakia and Switzerland, it will be interesting to see how England will react should the Netherlands score first.

"Dutch teams don't tend to sit in and that's not what we've seen from them, but Ronald Koeman is an experienced coach," Southgate said, "We are prepared for anything, it will be an exciting game with many good players on the pitch.

"We need another step up from what we showed in the last game, it's a step up in quality of opponents and we are ready for that."

That remains to be seen. Also, predicting it will be an exciting game is a bit of a shout given how lackluster England have been up to this point.

While this is nowhere near a vintage Netherland sides, other teams have been able to score against England. It's defending the lead that then becomes the problem.

Perhaps the biggest difference that could end up being in England's favor is the fact the Netherlands are unlikely to sit deep. We've seen Netherlands look shaky defensively and if England's attack can start to function, then Netherlands will be in trouble.

At this point of the competition, all the criticism at poor performances will make way for adoration should England reach another final. That's how things work.


"We had a goal and target of where we want to be and what we think is achievable," Kane said. "Step by step we're getting closer to that target. Reaching back-to-back European Championship finals would be an amazing achievement and we have the opportunity to go and do that."