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Saka shines as England reach Euro 2024 semi-final

Bukayo Saka celebrates after scoring a penalty for England
Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring a penalty for England

Bukayo Saka put on a Player of the Match display as England saw off Switzerland to reach the Euro 2024 semi-finals.

Our number 7 was instrumental in the Three Lions' victory, scoring both the equaliser and coolly converting his penalty in the eventual shootout. 

Saka and Declan Rice were named in Gareth Southgate's starting XI to face Switzerland, as they have been throughout the tournament. 

The winger was England's key attacking force in the first half, stretching the play on the right and successfully dribbling past Michel Aebischer four times. In one such run, Saka managed to shrug off two markers to reach the baseline and cut back to Kobbie Mainoo on the edge of the six-yard box, but a courageous block from Granit Xhaka denied the young midfielder. 

England were left to rue their missed chances in the 75th minute as Switzerland pounced: Dan Ndoye playing a tricky ball across the face of goal for Breel Embolo to tap home. 

But less than five minutes later, an Arsenal link-up proved the difference for England. Rice played the ball to his teammate at the edge of the area, cleared his path with a decoy run and Saka did the rest in trademark fashion: cutting inside on his left foot and letting fly to find that all-important equaliser.

That goal means Saka is now our highest scorer for the England men's team, tied with Cliff Bastin on 12 international goals. 

With nothing between the two sides after 90 minutes and extra time, it was time for the inevitable penalty shootout. Coincidentally, the last time England had been successful in a shootout was during the 2019 UEFA Nations League when they beat none other than Switzerland. 

Saka was third to head to the spot after Cole Palmer and Jude Bellingham converted convincingly and he made no mistake either with a penalty that nestled happily in the side netting. Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold followed suit, meaning that Jordan Pickford's save against Manuel Akanji was enough to see the Three Lions through to the semi-final. 

England will now face the Netherlands on Wednesday evening in Dortmund.

International

Ramsdale, Rice and Saka through to Euro 2024 final

Saka Rice
Saka Rice

Gunners trio Aaron Ramsdale, Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka will be joining David Raya in the Euro 2024 final between Spain and England on Sunday night.

The Three Lions booked their place in the weekend's 8pm (BST) kick-off with a 2-1 win over Netherlands on Wednesday.

Xavi Simons gave Ronald Koeman's side the lead inside just seven minutes, but England responded well, Harry Kane earning a penalty that he dispatched moments later.

After a positive, attacking display from England, Gareth Southgate was richly rewarded when two of his substitutes combined as Cole Palmer set up Ollie Watkins for a dramatic 90th minute winner.

England thought they had taken the lead when Bukayo found the back of the net from close range in the 80th minute, but Kyle Walker was offside.

Bukayo played 93 minutes of the match and again looked a real threat on the right wing, while Declan played the full match and Aaron was an unused substitute.

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