Euro 2024: Penalty shootout! England saves against Switzerland

Euro 2024: Penalty shootout! England saves against Switzerland
Euro 2024: Penalty shootout! England saves against Switzerland

England and Switzerland are playing a quarter-final at a manageable level for a long time. The match is only decided in a thriller from the penalty spot – England’s goalkeeper uses a special trick.

Penalty shootout with a happy ending for England! The Three Lions have once again avoided an early exit from the European Championships. In the quarter-finals, the English won 5:3 on penalties despite being behind and putting in a poor performance for long stretches.

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Manuel Akanji was the first Swiss shooter to fail to score against Jordan Pickford. Trent Alexander-Arnold converted the decisive penalty. In England’s tenth penalty shootout at a major tournament, it was only their third victory. Switzerland, on the other hand, missed out on reaching the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time.

Pickford used a bottle trick in the penalty shootout, reminiscent of German goalkeeper icon Jens Lehmann and his penalty cheat sheet from the 2006 World Cup final. Pickford’s drinking bottle had the names of the Swiss players written on it, as well as a short note telling him which corner he should dive into for each Swiss shooter.

For Akanji it was written: “Dive to the left.” Pickford didn’t need to be told twice and saved the penalty. Was that the key to success?

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Saka: “We know what happened last time”

“It was very special how we fought back – and then in the penalty shootout,” said goalscorer Bukayo Saka – who failed in the 2021 European Championship final and was subsequently subjected to racist attacks on social media: “We know what happened last time.” The strength of nerves on Saturday shows “how much we want to win this tournament.”

The winner of the match between the Netherlands and Turkey awaits in the semi-finals. Gareth Southgate’s team can continue to dream of their first major title since their World Cup triumph on home soil in 1966. England won the round of 16 match against Slovakia after a comeback in extra time, and against the Swiss the score was 1:1 (0:0) after 120 minutes.

Kane substituted in extra time

Harry Kane was just a spectator during the penalty shootout. England’s captain had to be substituted in extra time after he stumbled during a challenge on Manuel Akanji on the touchline and stumbled into the water bottles next to the English coaching area.

England coach Gareth Southgate tried to catch Kane’s fall. The Bayern star was back on his feet shortly afterwards and high-fived the players on the bench, but he was unable to continue playing and Ivan Toney replaced him.

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Breel Embolo (75th) put Switzerland in the lead after a deflected cross from close range. Bukayo Saka (80th) brought the English back into the game – with the Three Lions’ first shot on goal of the match. After that, no more goals were scored in regular time.

This missed shot by Akanji against England seals Switzerland’s exit | Euro 2024

In extra time, Yann Sommer prevented Switzerland from falling behind with a save against a long-range shot by Declan Rice (95′).

Substitute Xherdan Shaqiri tried a trick shot on the other side, but a direct corner from the ex-Bayern star hit the crossbar (117′).

Confusion about Bellingham

Immediately before the English equaliser, there was brief confusion about Jude Bellingham. During a triple substitution by the English (78th minute), Bellingham’s number 10 shirt also lit up – but the midfield star stayed on the field, while Kieran Trippier, Ezri Konza and Kobbie Mainoo left the pitch instead.

Under the watchful eye of Prince William in the VIP box, the game initially developed into a tough one in which both teams were afraid to take risks. When the opposition had the ball, they retreated far back, and Kane sometimes defended 35 metres from his own goal. This meant that there was hardly any space to pose a threat – and when the ball was won, the path forward was correspondingly long.

No scoring chances in the first half

England tried to attack on the right with Saka, but the winger’s crosses were not precise enough. Phil Foden, who was allowed to play centrally as many experts had requested, also had little influence on the game. Typical of the first half hour was an English corner that was played out so sloppily that Kyle Walker, under pressure, had to pass to his own goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, to the jeers of the fans.

There were not even a few chances to score in the first half – the statisticians counted zero shots on goal for either team before the break. Bayern star Kane was also mostly busy with fruitless running. England’s brilliantly manned offense never got going at all, and as had been the case throughout the tournament, it didn’t seem as if the pieces were finally clicking together. England continued to play the most boring football with the most exciting team.

England disappoints for long stretches

The Swiss struggled to create danger themselves, but found no gaps in the tight network of English defence. At least they won the tough race for the first shot on goal of the match: But Embolo’s attempt (51′) was harmless. In what was still a very tough game, Switzerland took a little more control, while England continued to disappoint.

Captain Kane was shown a yellow card after elbowing Manuel Akanji (67th minute) and defended strongly in front of his own penalty area. But England’s best goalscorer was still not involved in the attacking game. Saka then countered the lead with a solo effort – and in the penalty shootout the English had the better nerves.

With Sports Information Service (SID)

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