Ollie Watkins the hero as England progress to the Euro 2024 final

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins scored a late winner to give England a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the Euro 2024 semi-final.
Netherlands v England: Semi-Final - UEFA EURO 2024
Netherlands v England: Semi-Final - UEFA EURO 2024 / BSR Agency/GettyImages

With the game looking like it was heading into extra-time, Ollie Watkins scored a brilliant goal to give England a late, late victory over the Netherlands. The goal sees England through to the Euro 2024 final against Spain on Sunday.

England started the game on the front foot but fell behind within the first 10 minutes after Xavi Simons scored a belter from outside the box. Declan Rice was dispossessed in midfield and the Netherlands countered quickly before Simons fired his shot into the top left corner, giving Jordan Pickford no chance in the England goal.

Despite falling behind, England continued to stay on the front foot and were awarded a penalty after Denzel Dumfries was, perhaps harshly, adjudged to have fouled Harry Kane in the penalty area. England's all-time leading goal scorer Kane took the penalty himself and smashed it into the bottom left corner.

England continued to dominate the first half and came close several times. Phil Foden whipped a shot from 30 yards but it clattered the outside of the post. It was certainly England's best half of the tournament so far but it ended 1-1.

The second half saw the Netherlands grow into the game and certainly looked the more likely to score for the majority of the half. England dropped further back and again looked more like they had in previous performances. England, who introduced Luke Shaw into the game at half time, certainly looked more balanced with Shaw on the left but the Netherlands tightened up their defence and the game was looking destined for extra-time.

England thought they had taken the lead with just 10 minutes to go when Kyle Walker's low cross was drilled home by Bukayo Saka, who again was a stand out performer for England. However, Walker was marginally offside and so the game remained 1-1.

Just a few moments later, the game changed. Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer entered the game in place of Harry Kane and Phil Foden. Then, with just a minute left of normal time Palmer picked up the ball in midfield and sliced a perfectly weighted pass through the Dutch defence. Thankfully, as Kane had exited the pitch England actually had a forward willing to run in behind the defence. Ollie Watkins was that man, and he picked the ball up on the half turn and drilled the ball into the far corner to send the England fans nuts.

Ollie Watkins, Stefan de Vrij
Netherlands v England: Semi-Final - UEFA EURO 2024 / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Oliver George Arthur Watkins, who scored 27 goals for Aston Villa last season, had sent his country through to a European Championships final. A memory that will remain with Aston Villa and England fans for many years to come.

The man who just ten years ago was playing for Weston-Super-Mare grabbed his chance with both hands. A wonderful night for Ollie Watkins, the England squad, Gareth Southgate and the nation.

England's final test of Euro 2024 will come against Spain in Berlin on Sunday evening. Spain have no doubt been the best team of the tournament and England will have to be at their very best to win. England have got better and better as the tournament has progressed and the hope will be to see that trend continue at the weekend.