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England Advances to Euro 2024 Semifinals After Thrilling Penalty Shootout Victory Over Switzerland

Düsseldorf, July 07, 2024, The Europe Today: England has secured a place in the Euro 2024 semifinals following a nerve-wracking penalty shootout victory against Switzerland on Friday. The match concluded in a 1-1 draw after extra time, with England emerging triumphant in the shootout.

Swiss defender Manuel Akanji endured the disappointment of missing Switzerland’s first penalty of the shootout. Jordan Pickford, England’s goalkeeper, made a crucial save by diving low to his left to stop Akanji’s imprecise shot, echoing Akanji’s missed penalty against Spain in the last European Championships.

England successfully converted all five of their penalties, with Trent Alexander-Arnold scoring the decisive fifth penalty, sealing the result.

“It’s what we practice, a lot of practice goes into that moment,” Alexander-Arnold commented on the tension of taking the fifth penalty. “When the gaffer tells me I’m taking one, my belly doesn’t drop. I enjoy it.”

Switzerland nearly avoided the penalty shootout, but Pickford made a series of vital saves during the second period of extra time, keeping England’s hopes alive.

Euro 2024 Surprise Package Meets Underperforming Favorites

Switzerland entered the match unbeaten in 18 matches since the World Cup in Qatar, buoyed by impressive performances from captain and midfield general Granit Xhaka. England, on the other hand, struggled to meet the high expectations set for their star-studded squad but managed to secure the necessary results to advance.

The first half ended in a 0-0 stalemate, with neither team creating significant chances. Both sides appeared cautious, wary of potential suspensions for the next round. The first yellow card was shown to Swiss defender Fabian Schär in the 32nd minute for a tactical foul on Jude Bellingham.

Switzerland’s Embolo Breaks Deadlock, England Answers Back

The deadlock was broken in the 75th minute when Switzerland’s Breel Embolo scored after a well-executed move down the right flank. Dan Ndoye’s low cross was met by Embolo, who poked the ball home.

England responded swiftly, equalizing within five minutes. Bukayo Saka scored with England’s first shot on target, a perfectly placed left-footed finish from the edge of the box that ricocheted off the inside of the post, leaving Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer helpless.

“I think it shows how much we want to win this tournament. The last two games we’ve been 1-0 down in the later stages and we’ve come back,” Saka said after the game. He also successfully converted his penalty in the shootout, redeeming himself after missing a crucial penalty in the Euro 2020 final against Italy.

“To come back from something like that was really difficult but I used it to make me stronger and today I took the chance,” the Arsenal winger added.

Netherlands Await in the Semifinals

Three of the four Euro 2024 quarterfinals required extra time, with two matches decided by penalties. England will face the Netherlands in the semifinal next Wednesday, following the Dutch team’s 2-1 victory over Turkey in Berlin on Saturday’s later quarterfinal.