6 June 2019 Netherlands 3 England 1 UEFA Nations League


Calamitous England defending contributes to the Dutch victory.

The mass ranks of England fans will have to wait at least another year before they might see the senior England team in a final.


This was a disastrous night in Guimaraes for Gareth Southgate's England team as they lost 3-1 in extra time to a talented Netherlands side.

The Dutch were more fluent throughout and they deserved to win this semi-final.

But despite the obvious class at the back (featuring the star duo of van Dijk and de Ligt) and their ability in midfield, they contrived to miss a series of chances.

And that profligacy came back to haunt them when a mistake by the much-coveted de Ligt was pounced on by Marcus Rashford.

The Manchester United forward was then brought down for a penalty to England.

He got up to calmly slot home the spot-kick for a somewhat undeserved half-time lead.

For a while, it seemed those England fans would be enjoying their night.

Until de Ligt atoned for his error by heading home a corner at the near post.

Then perhaps inevitably there would be some VAR 'action' and this resulted in a fine Lingard effort being (just) ruled out for offside.

That was a fleeting high point for England who then went into extra time looking slightly deflated.

They also ran out of gas.

Maybe that 'long hard season' cliche had again come to pass.

Though he was guilty of past misses Memphis Depay was sharp enough to close down Stones and later on Barkley as they committed those late defensive errors.

Substitute Quincy Promes was there to force in one goal off defender Kyle Walker and score the other when given an open goal.

So the Dutch would go on to meet the hosts Portugal in the Nations League final.

While England had much to contemplate not least that they had only three shots on target in two hours and, of course, those dire lapses in defence.


report & analysis - John Bethell




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