England 1-1 Switzerland (aet, 5-3 pens): Pickford and Saka lead Southgate's men into semis

England 1-1 Switzerland (aet, 5-3 pens): Pickford and Saka lead Southgate's men into semis

SUNDAY JUL 07,2024

Jordan Pickford saved Manuel Akanji's spot kick as England edged out a resilient Switzerland side to reach the UEFA EURO 2024 semi-finals.

England celebrate Trent Alexander-Arnold's winning spot kick

Jordan Pickford was the shoot-out hero as England came through a stiff examination by Switzerland to book their place in the semi-finals for the second EURO running.

Key moments

75' Embolo turns in Ndoye's deflected cross

80' Saka curls fine low shot into the far corner

94' Sommer tips wide Rice's long-range strike

102' Sommer holds on to Bellingham effort

117' Sub Shaqiri hits post direct from corner

119' Amdouni tests Pickford from edge of box

Pens Pickford denies first Swiss taker Akanji

Match in brief: England show mettle

Bukayo Saka celebrates his fine equaliser

There was royalty in the crowd in Dusseldorf but on the pitch it was initially more workmanlike, with both sides industriously keeping their shape and probing with caution. England, playing three at the back for the first time since the EURO 2020 final, settled into their task and their impressive attacking arsenal all fired shots across the bow. Switzerland stood firm.

It was 51 minutes before the first effort on target. The surprise, when it came, was that it was for the team in red as Breel Embolo's strike was gathered easily by Pickford. Suddenly the Swiss supporters raised their levels and the Nati responded in kind – with 15 minutes to go the noise of cow bells was deafening as Embolo poked in Dan Ndoye's deflected cross.

For the second successive knockout fixture England were behind. Gareth Southgate responded immediately with a triple substitution and within five minutes it was back to all-square as Bukayo Saka curled in a wonderful goal. Now, as the third quarter-final at EURO 2024 went to extra time, it was end to end – that early caution unceremoniously thrown to the wind.

Yann Sommer was the busier keeper, denying Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, but it was Xhedran Shaqiri who came closest to a winner, hitting the post direct from a corner. On to the shoot-out. Pickford denied Akanji and England were impeccable, Saka among the scorers before late replacement Trent Alexander-Arnold sealed a date with the Netherlands in Dortmund.

Vivo Player of the Match: Bukayo Saka (England)

image Player of the Match: Bukayo Saka

"The majority of England's attacks came down the right, with Saka the main threat in possession for the victors. He looked to take players on and create crossing opportunities, as well as making runs in behind."

UEFA Technical Observer panel

Joe Terry, England reporter

By the end, both teams were running on empty and had nothing much to give, despite England trying to find a way through the obdurate Switzerland defence. For the tenth time in major competitions, England's fate was decided by a penalty shoot-out and, as is becoming ever more common, they prevailed. That man Pickford again.

Anna-Sophia Vollmerhausen, Switzerland reporter

More penalty woe for Switzerland, who were eliminated in a shoot-out by Spain at this stage of EURO 2020. The Nati can exit with their heads held high, though. They ended Italy's title defence and succeeded in giving England the fright of their lives.

Breel Embolo celebrates his opening goal


Gareth Southgate, England manager: "I thought the players were brilliant. It's the best we've played. We caused them a lot of problems with the ball. They're a really good side: they're hard to press, they're hard to defend against, their movement is good. To come from behind again, and show the character and resilience we did... Winning tournaments isn't just about playing well, you've got to show all of those other attributes."

Murat Yakin, Switzerland coach: "It hurts. We put so much effort in, created so many chances. I'm sad for the lads, and for the nation. England didn't have many chances and we created quite a few of our own. We don't deserve to be going home but we can be really proud. England didn't deserve to lose either, but somebody has to lose."

Bukayo Saka, England forward: "[The pressure of taking penalties] is something I embrace. You fail once, but I'm the sort of guy who wants to put myself in the position again. I know there's a lot of nervous people watching, like my family, but I kept my cool and scored my penalty."

image Saka: 'I'm proud of myself'

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 are through to their fourth EURO semi-final. They lost in 1968 and 1996 but won three years ago.
  • Saka (22 years, 305 days) is the youngest player to score for England in a EURO quarter-final, surpassing Michael Owen against Portugal at EURO 2004.
  • England are 14 matches unbeaten against Switzerland (W10 D4), dating back to May 1981.
  • Four of England's five EURO tournament quarter-finals have been decided by a penalty shoot-out.
  • Eight of England's last 11 EURO knockout matches have required extra time.
  • England have lost only one of their last 19 competitive matches (W12 D6).
  • Jude Bellingham (21 years, 7 days) is the youngest player to feature in two EURO quarter-finals.
  • Excluding shoot-outs, Southgate has never lost a EURO match as coach (W8 D4).
  • Four of Switzerland's last five EURO knockout matches have been settled by a penalty shoot-out.


England's starting XI

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)

Next up

England are through to the semi-finals, where they face the Netherlands in Dortmund on Wednesday.

The winners of that tie move on to Berlin for Sunday's final, where they will line up against Spain or France.

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