Exclusive:England v Netherlands: Ex-Man City Dutch international explains where Euros semi-final will be decided

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The winner will face Spain in Sunday’s Euro 2024 final in Berlin.

Former Dutch international Paul Bosvelt feels tonight’s (Wednesday) Euro 2024 semi-final between England and the Netherlands is impossible to predict.

Both sides have underwhelmed during this summer’s tournament but have progressed to the final-four stage. England have won just one of their five games in 90 minutes while the Netherlands finished third in the group stages. Both sides also have a plethora of attacking stars but have not managed to utilise that talent effectively this summer.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Bosvelt, who played 65 times for Manchester City between 2003 and 2005, feels the side who are more efficient in front of goal in Dortmund on Wednesday night will ultimately prevail in the semi-final.

“We’ve seen with these games, you cannot forecast them,” the 54-year-old told ManchesterWorld. “You can’t tell before because you have very strange results.

“I think both countries were struggling to get in their rhythm and their flow. In the group stage and in every game we were behind and had to fight back. We are still looking for our best shape. 

“But also England is not at its best so far so I think it’s about who is more efficient at the time. It will be a close call, I guess. Both teams have a lot of quality, it’s just about who can show it at the right time.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For England, Euro 2024 has been set against a backdrop of negativity and frustration. It’s Gareth Southgate who has taken most of the criticism and abuse from fans, with frustrations growing over his style of play, tactical approach and choice of personnel.

The England manager, who is expected to leave after Euro 2024, admitted on Tuesday that the ‘expectation weighed heavily’ at the start of the tournament, while he even had cups thrown in his direction by his own fans after the draw against Slovenia. But what’s the verdict on England from the Netherlands?

“The expectation in England for every tournament is very high but they always struggle to match what the people expect,” said Bosvelt, who earned 26 Dutch caps as a player and is the current technical director at Eredivisie side Go Ahead Eagles.

“When you grow in the tournament and are still in it then you always have a chance. Look at Euro 2004 with Greece as the winner. Sometimes you just score at the right time.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I think they still have enough quality but I understand the negatively because you expect a little bit more from this side as they have a lot of quality. I think the same counts for Holland as there was a lot of negativity in the beginning but now they are in the semi-final and everyone is behind them.

“That’s also football and it can be very opportunistic. I think both countries did not perform at the top of their ability.”

This is the first time the Netherlands have made it to a Euros semi-final since Bosvelt was part of the squad. The former Feyenoord midfielder was a member of the Dutch camps in 2004 and 2000, but it’s the latter that holds painful memories.

Having forced his way into the team during the tournament, it was Bosvelt’s missed penalty in the semi-final shootout against Italy that ultimately eliminated the Netherlands and denied them an opportunity to face France in the final.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I had to do the doping tests after as well to make it the worst day possible,” Bosvelt explained 24 years on. The bus had gone and I had to get a taxi back with the team manager. The horror story was complete in the end,” he added sardonically.

“We had the semi-final and we played against 10, missed two penalties in normal time and in extra-time we hit the post. We were very close and the Italians stuck in and defended. 

“We were fighting against a wall and then the penalties came. We had already missed two and until then it was only win-win and I was joining the flow. 

“At the end it was a big disaster. It just wasn’t meant to be and their goalkeeper was a very big hero. He saved the game and they went on to final. But the last penalty from me was incredible.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.