Spot on England through

Jordan Pickford thwarted Manuel Akanji’s penalty, allowing England to narrowly overcome a determined Switzerland side and advance to the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-finals.

Jordan Pickford emerged as the hero of the penalty shootout, guiding England past a tough challenge from Switzerland to secure a spot in the semi-finals for the second consecutive EURO tournament.

Amongst the Düsseldorf crowd were members of royalty, but the action on the field began with both teams diligently maintaining their formations and cautiously probing each other. England, employing a three-man defence for the first time since the EURO 2020 final, found their rhythm and unleashed their potent attacking force. Switzerland, however, held firm.

It took 51 minutes for the first shot on target to materialise. The surprise was it came from the team in red as Breel Embolo’s effort was easily caught by Pickford. Suddenly, Swiss supporters increased their fervour, and the Nati responded accordingly. With 15 minutes remaining, the sound of cowbells became overwhelming as Embolo tapped in Dan Ndoye’s deflected cross.

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In their second consecutive knockout match, England found themselves trailing once more. Gareth Southgate reacted swiftly with three substitutions, and within five minutes, Bukayo Saka had levelled the score with a stunning goal. As the third quarter-final of EURO 2024 entered extra time, the game became a thrilling end-to-end contest, with initial caution discarded.

Yann Sommer was the busier goalkeeper, thwarting efforts from Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham. However, Xherdan Shaqiri came closest to scoring, striking the post directly from a corner. The match proceeded to a penalty shoot-out where Pickford saved Akanji’s attempt, and England executed flawlessly. Saka scored one of the penalties before Trent Alexander-Arnold, brought on late in the game, secured a semi-final clash with the Netherlands in Dortmund.

Line-ups

England: Pickford; Walker, Konsa (Palmer 78), Stones, Konsa; Trippier (Eze 78), Mainoo (Shaw 78), Rice, Saka; Bellingham, Foden (Alexander-Arnold 115); Kane (Toney 110)

Switzerland: Sommer, Schär, Akanji, Rodríguez; Rieder (Zuber 63), Freuler (Sierro 118), Xhaka, Aebischer (Amdouni 118); Ndoye (Zakaria 98), Embolo (Shaqiri 109), Vargas (Widmer 63)

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