Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer Exclusive: England can beat the Netherlands and win Euro 2024

Betfair ambassador Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer expects England to beat the Netherlands on Wednesday

Betfair ambassador Alan Shearer hails England's progress to the semi-finals of Euro 2024 and says Gareth Southgate's team have got what it takes to beat the Netherlands on Wednesday...

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England improved and found a way to win

The Switzerland game gave me a bit of everything. Stress, excitement, it had it all. It was a better performance, albeit it didn't go to the levels that we would all love but when you look at the teams in the semi-finals, Spain are the only team who've been consistent right the way through the tournament.

England have found a way to win and I thought their pressing was better. They looked better in their shape, although I didn't think it was great. It was enough to get through and the one thing England have got in abundance is togetherness and team spirit. It's not easy going with penalties but the boys who took them made it look so easy. It was just incredible.

You have to respect the opposition. Without doubt, Switzerland were the best team we've played. They had a really good tournament and made England suffer, particularly in the second half.

Sometimes you have to accept that games won't go all your own way, and it certainly didn't for England, but you also got the right of reply and Saka's goal was magnificent. Hopefully England don't go behind against the Netherlands but it won't be easy.

Southgate learnt from the past for perfect England penalties

England's penalties had it all, great attitude, great spot kicks, you have to include everything. Even Jordan Pickford with the way he had done his homework. Pickford and the penalty takers made it look like a breeze which it never is.

I can't tell you the pressure and stress you feel when a game goes to penalties. Every single penalty was almost perfect. Looking at Ivan Toney's penalty, he just stared the keeper down and didn't even look at the ball. You have to be brave to do that.

Ivan Toney England penalty.jpg

One thing Gareth Southgate was criticised for against Italy at Euro 2020 was that he brought on his penalty takers with just a couple of minutes to go, whereas he gave the likes of Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold plenty of time to get involved in the game so I think Gareth learnt from his mistakes there.

It worked out perfectly but I believe there's still more to come performance-wise.

'Pressure is for tyres'

I've seen the reaction to my commentary after the penalties, pressure is for tyres. I've been saying it for a while to be honest.

All my mates have heard me say it on the golf course so they're all fed up with it but I just thought it was the right time to say it because the team deserve great respect for the way they took the penalties and that was just the line that came into my head.

England will be full of confidence

After getting to the semi-final the way they did, the squad will be buzzing now. They'll be flying with confidence and they'll be desperate to get out and play on Wednesday against the Netherlands.

They'll be excited because they aimed to get to the semi-finals. They'll say it doesn't matter how they've got there and in reality that's the case because the Netherlands have been underwhelming. They finished third in their group.

England have also got through without playing attractive football and France have been so poor, they've just been really good defensively. They've only scored three goals, and two have been own goals. When you look at the four teams that are left, without doubt there will be a level of hope and confidence among the England players.

England can go all the way at Euro 2024

There's no doubt that Euro 2024 is there for the taking for England. They'll have to improve and get better but there's no doubt they can. Gareth will look at the teams that are left and he'll know they have a really, really good opportunity.

England are playing a Netherlands side that isn't full of superstars, but they've got a great team spirit and have scored a few goals so it'll be a tough game but Gareth will believe that his team can get through.

Gareth Southgate thumbs up.jpg

The biggest thing they've shown is that they have a togetherness and a belief. They've found a way to keep going without playing brilliant, attacking football. That's the best thing to come from this team and that may be enough to go all the way. When they've needed it, the biggest players have produced magical moments.

When you look at the bigger picture with Gareth, he's done an incredible job in getting England to these stages of tournaments. What we all want now is to finish the job and get that trophy that we've all been wanting and waiting for. He's done incredibly well in tournaments and we all have to hope he can take us to another final.

I'm so pleased for Saka

Saka was brilliant against Switzerland. In the first half, they were doubling up on him and he was still getting past them. He delivered some wonderful crosses into the box too and he did everything he could.

Much like Jude Bellingham, when his country needed him most, he produced a piece of brilliance. We've seen him do that so much for Arsenal and it was a great finish. He was without doubt England's man of the match.

You have to be brave to take a penalty anyway but when you've gone through what Bukayo has, to still have the belief and confidence he does, you could tell he was focused and knew he had the confidence to stick it in the side netting - it was great. That just sums him up.

Harry Kane is still one of the first on the team sheet

Unless Harry Kane is injured, he plays. He's the captain and the record goalscorer. There's no way you can leave him out. Yes, he's not looked as sharp as we would like but he has got two goals.

Whether he's carrying an injury I don't know, but he certainly hasn't looked sharp. We all know that if a chance falls to him then he'll more than likely put it away.

What was said to me when I hit my 30s, was to play in the 18-yard box and not worry about tracking outside of that. I know Harry likes to come short and spray passes about which he's very good at but his best work needs to be in the box because that's his game and he wants goals.

We also have players who can do the job of passing and coming short - it doesn't need to be him. I'd play Harry Kane but I'd be telling him to do his work in the box rather than coming back.

You wouldn't bet against Harry getting another one or two goals in the semi-finals and final and that's the right of reply you have as a forward.

I don't expect many changes to the team

Luke Shaw did well when he came on against Switzerland considering the amount of time he's been out injured. His positioning was good and he defended well when needed, so he's a great option for Gareth to have. Whether he starts against the Netherlands or not, we'll have to see.

luke shaw.jpg

Without sparkling, we saw more from Phil Foden and I think both he and Jude Bellingham enjoyed the different roles they were asked to play and that's why I think he'll do much the same against the Netherlands.

Team wise, he may go with the same team that beat Switzerland and may bring Marc Guehi back in after suspension. That would be my starting XI. I think Gareth will stick with Kieran Trippier and bring Guehi back in to replace Ezri Konsa, who I thought had a good game.

Looking at the Netherlands, we all know their players and very much like England, they haven't reached the heights that they would want however they're in a semi-final too and they have options.

Memphis Depay only has one goal so far at Euro 2024 but he'll be a threat. Cody Gakpo has three goals now and an option they always have at their disposal is Wout Weghorst, who often has come to their rescue.

Now read the rest of our Euro 2024 content here!

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