Southgate has made us all believe - winning Euro 2024 may be England's destiny (2024)

England made it painful, but after beating Switzerland on penalties, the Three Lions are now 180 minutes from winning Euro 2024 - and who would bet against them?

Jubilant England fans on the upper tier concourse

It was painful to watch.

And that was before the penalty shoot-out. And before the fans started singing to the chorus of Sweet Caroline after the final whistle. So good, so good? Winning a shoot-out is a fabulous way to go through. And all five penalties were brilliantly taken.

Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney and then, finally, Trent Alexander-Arnold all deserve medals for showing such calmness and composure under pressure.

As for Jordan Pickford, his save from Manuel Akanji set it all up because Switzerland never recovered and England are now into the semi finals. But more than that, the England players went over to the fans behind the goal and celebrated with the supporters.

It was a wonderful moment and Gareth Southgate could finally enjoy his 100th game in charge. This is alien territory for England. We always lose on penalties - and Southgate has made us even believe we can win a shoot-out.

Let’s not put any gloss on this. England were pretty poor for 120 minutes. Switzerland were bang average - and England could not put them away. But after somehow salvaging victory from the jaws of defeat against Slovakia in the last round, now they have beaten Switzerland.

And they have yet to play anywhere near their best. When do we start talking about a sense of destiny in this tournament?

Maybe now because England are into the semi finals. They have been nowhere near their best - and yet here they are.

This was painful because Breel Embolo put Switzerland ahead so late on - the 75th minute - that is looked all over again for England. But Saka, the shining light for England, scored a terrific equaliser. He cut in from the right, curled a low shot into the bottom corner and then saved England.

Switzerland were better in extra time, created more chances and Sheridan Shaqiri even hit the post direct from a corner. Meanwhile, Southgate just did not react as he left his substitutes until after England were behind and does look at times like a rabbit in the headlines.

Would he have taken Harry Kane off if the England captain had not crashed off the pitch, appearing to injure himself in the process? We’ll never really know.

Kane has not looked fully fit, match sharp or anything resembling his best at this tournament. Maybe that is to do with him missing the last three weeks of the season of Bayern Munich.

Every time the ball reached Kane, the move broke down. It is a crying shame that England’s talisman just does not look right.

But you could say that for a lot of other England players. While Phil Foden covered every blade of grass and put in a huge shift, what did he actually do with the ball? That was the same for too many others.

The shift in system to a back three helped England slightly. There was a bit more freedom and Bellingham found more space even if he is yet to find top gear.

Finally we saw Luke Shaw as a substitute and Palmer played well again. What an ace in the pace to have him coming on from the bench.

Southgate has made a few digs in this tournament that other teams are having a party, their fans are enjoying a carnival. England’s supporters have been frustrated.

Now, finally, they were singing, dancing and enjoying the moment after penalties.

Maybe, finally, they might start believing that a Euros miracle is possible. We said that after last time. But England are into the semi final - and can begin to dream,

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England Euro 2024 kit

Southgate has made us all believe - winning Euro 2024 may be England's destiny (2)

The Three Lions are among the favourites to win this summer's Euro 2024 tournament and you can get your hands on the brand new Nike home and away kits before the first whistle.

Southgate has made us all believe - winning Euro 2024 may be England's destiny (2024)
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