Dramatic Penalty Shoot-Out Sends England to EURO 2024 Semi-Finals

Dramatic Penalty Shoot-Out Sends England to EURO 2024 Semi-Finals

In Düsseldorf, royalty graced the audience, but the action on the field began with a workmanlike approach from both teams. England, employing a three-at-the-back formation for the first time since the EURO 2020 final, diligently maintained their shape and cautiously probed their opponents. Despite their impressive attacking talents making early attempts, Switzerland held their ground.

It took until the 51st minute for the first shot on target to materialize. Surprisingly, it came from the Swiss, with Breel Embolo’s strike comfortably saved by Pickford. This moment invigorated the Swiss fans, and the team responded with increased intensity. The noise from cow bells became deafening as Embolo capitalized on Dan Ndoye’s deflected cross to score with 15 minutes remaining.

For the second consecutive knockout match, England found themselves trailing. Gareth Southgate responded promptly with a triple substitution, and within five minutes, Bukayo Saka had curled in a magnificent goal to equalize. As the quarter-final entered extra time, the initial caution was abandoned, and the match became an end-to-end battle.

Yann Sommer, the Swiss goalkeeper, was kept busy, thwarting efforts from Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham. However, Xherdan Shaqiri came closest to clinching a win, hitting the post directly from a corner. The game proceeded to a penalty shoot-out. Pickford saved Akanji’s attempt, while England’s players, including Saka and late substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold, converted their penalties flawlessly to secure a semi-final spot against the Netherlands in Dortmund.

Harry Kane, England captain:

“Another tough game and first of all great resilience from the lads to turn it up again. To get the goal, a fantastic finish from Bukayo Saka. Penalties are penalties, but I felt prepared – I was on the side, but I felt comfortable in the lads. We trust in whoever is on the pitch and the difference compared to past years is we have proven penalty takers.”

Granit Xhaka, Switzerland captain:

“The initial feeling is one of sadness and disappointment, because we didn’t deserve to lose like this. On the other hand, we can be proud of ourselves. From the first game until today, we kept improving and we showed great character, great team spirit and we always told ourselves, ‘To beat us, it will take a lot.'”

Key Stats

  • England have reached their fourth EURO semi-final. They lost in 1968 and 1996 but won three years ago.
  • Bukayo Saka, at 22 years and 305 days, is the youngest player to score for England in a EURO quarter-final, surpassing Michael Owen’s record from EURO 2004.
  • England are unbeaten in their last 14 matches against Switzerland (10 wins, 4 draws), a streak dating back to May 1981.
  • Four of England’s five EURO quarter-finals have been decided by penalty shoot-outs.
  • Eight of England’s last 11 EURO knockout matches have required extra time.
  • England have only lost one of their last 19 competitive matches (12 wins, 6 draws).
  • Jude Bellingham, at 21 years and 7 days, is the youngest player to appear in two EURO quarter-finals.
  • Gareth Southgate has never lost a EURO match as a coach (excluding shoot-outs) with 8 wins and 4 draws.
  • Four of Switzerland’s last five EURO knockout matches have ended in penalty shoot-outs.

This match showcased the resilience and determination of both teams, with England ultimately prevailing through their composed execution in the penalty shoot-out, setting up an exciting semi-final clash against the Netherlands.

What do you think?


Written by Bobby Boucher


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