Fans Hail Ollie Watkins As England Reach Euro 2024 Final

  • He’s ‘England’s best striker by far!’
  • Three Lions go past Netherlands 2-1 in Semi-final
  • England face Spain in Sunday’s final
England vs Netherlands semi-final tie

Rightly tagged by football pundits as Harry Kane’s understudy, Ollie Watkins stole the show on Wednesday night pushing England to their second consecutive European Championship final in four years.

The Aston Villa striker emerged as the Three Lions’ hero with incredible last-gasp winner in Euro 2024 semi-final at Netherlands’ expense.

His spectacular 91st-minute winner against the Dutch was all England needed to reach the final of this year’s tournament being hosted by Germany.

Made to wait for his opportunity, the 28-year-old forward did not disappoint coming on as a second half substitute to score the stunning injury time goal for the Gareth Southgate’s men.

Having trailed to a spectacular early goal from Xavi Simons in the seventh minute, England had rallied through Harry Kane’s penalty, but they eventually ran out of steam during the second half.

So when Southgate took Kane off for Watkins, nobody could have imagined the impact the striker would make. Replacing Kane in the 81st minute for just his third appearance at the football fiesta, the Villa marksman delivered one of England’s best moments so far with a sharp touch and finishing.

With the encounter stalemated at one-all, extra-time seemingly beckoned for the Three Lions and their Dutch counterparts, Oranje. However, Watkins had other bright ideas on the night and did not fancy 30 more minutes. Surely, his late strike will live long in the memory of many fans.

Tension had risen at the BVB Stadion and the Three Lions were the ones who found an extra burst when two players who had not been on the pitch for long combined effectively to send them through to a first final on foreign soil.

The English players were all off the bench when Ollie Watkins collected Cole Palmer’s pass, swivelled away from Stefan de Vrij and arrowed a stunning shot into the Netherlands’ net.

Expectedly, this winning strike sparked a wave of reactions on social media, with many commentators calling for the 28-year-old striker to start ahead of Kane in Sunday’s final.

@markgoldbridge wrote on X thus; “Watkins just put us in the final. If he doesn’t start, it’s an absolute farce. Kane deserves to be benched”.

@ChmBran1 added; “Watkins is England’s best striker by far.”

Aston Villa fan @mattlyynch said; “An Aston Villa striker has sent England to the Euros final. Unbelievable. Oliver Watkins. Put some respect on his name. A world class striker.”

Former England striker, Gary Lineker was clearly happy as he wrote; “Yesssssssss! Ollie Watkins, you absolute beauty”.

While, Watkins’ club Villa posted; “OLLIE WATKINS. IT’S WHAT HE DOES.”

As the encomiums continued to pour in, Watkins will be hoping his starring cameo proves enough to earn him more minutes – perhaps even a start – against Spain on Sunday.

Admittedly, it is very unlikely that the Manager will drop Kane for the final, but it is also hard to imagine the Bayern Munich forward being able to replicate the swift movement that Watkins showed for his goal against Holland.

Interestingly, pundits believe Southgate has a big call to make, with many insisting that it is time for a rethink about the England Manager’s substitutions on match days.

Italy won the 2020 edition of the continental tournament, their second European Championship title, by beating host England on penalties in the final following a 1–1 draw after extra time inside the Wembley Stadium. – With agency reports

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