Euro 2024

Opta Predicts Netherlands v England: Three Lions to go through on penalties

  • Opta
  • 4:00 min read
Betfair and Opta have teamed up for a Euro 2024 Opta partnership
Opta say back Bukayo Saka to score anytime at 4/1 v Netherlands

Will Rook from Opta is back to crunch the numbers and pick out multiple best bets for England's semi-final tie with Netherlands on Wednesday.

Netherlands v England Superboost

England are in the semi-final of Euro 2024, and Betfair are offering up another SuperBoost on Wednesday!

Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil Van Dijk can now be backed to commit 1 or more fouls vs England at 1/1 - up from 1/3!

Virgil Van Dijk has committed more fouls than any other player at Euro 2024 (12), at an average of 2.4 per 90.

Indeed, he has made a foul in each of the Netherlands' five games at the tournament so far, and committed 2 or more in four of those - 2 v Poland, 1 v France, 3 v Austria, 4 v Romania, 2 v Turkey.

England (73) are the most fouled team at Euro 2024, whilst both Harry Kane (10) and Jude Bellingham (11) sit in the top five most fouled players at the tournament.

Football... Only Bettor Podcast - Netherlands v England Semi-Final tips - Listen here!

England are semi-finalists for the third time in the last four major tournaments and got there by winning another penalty shootout. No, really.

The Three Lions' penalty shootout victory over Switzerland in the quarter-final of Euro 2024 was only their third in major tournament history from 10 attempts - and two of those have come under Gareth Southgate.

England will now face the Netherlands in Dortmund on Wednesday night for a place in the final of Euro 2024.

Here is what we can glean from the performances of both teams so far to help our bets for the semi-final.

Struggling to create chances

England made a more purposeful start to the match against Switzerland than they had done previously and looked better.

But for all their extra positivity, they once again struggled to create any significant openings.

England had five shots in the first half, four of which were blocked while the other was off target. While it is fair to say they dominated the first 45 minutes - five shots to two, 55% possession and eight dribbles to three - you couldn't argue that Switzerland were lucky not to be losing.

It was the second straight match in which England failed to have a shot on target within the first 45 minutes

Similarly, the Netherlands failed to have an effort on target in the first half of their quarter-final victory over Turkiye. That was the second time they have been unable to do so at Euro 2024, while they have scored just one first-half goal in four matches.

As a result, 0-0 looks a good bet in the first-half correct score market at [13/10]. Notably, that has been the half-time score in seven of the last 14 European Championship semi-finals, with matches at this pivotal stage often proving to be tense and tight.

Starboy to the rescue again?

Despite playing in an unfamiliar wing-back role, Bukayo Saka was by far and away England's brightest player against Switzerland and seemingly got round his man every time he got on the ball.

Within the first half-hour, Saka had completed three successful dribbles. For context, that is as many as he had managed within any other game at Euro 2024.

Opta Saka.jpeg

His goal, meanwhile, was a brilliant, curled finish that had come from a clear instruction for him to get up the pitch. At a time in the game where Luke Shaw and Eberechi Eze had come on to give England more presence on the left, Saka had more space to work his magic on the right. That was one of three shots he had during the match and he has averaged 1.4 per game at Euro 2024 - a total that is only beaten by Harry Kane and Phil Foden.

He deserved his man-of-the-match award and is available at [4/1] to score again on Wednesday.

Ranking just one place below Saka in shots per game is Arsenal team-mate Declan Rice (1.2). The midfielder had a long-range effort impressively saved by Yann Sommer in extra time, while he also hit the post late on against Slovakia. At [9/1], he has to be a consideration for a goal.

Depay knocking on the door

Looking at the opposition, the law of averages state that Memphis Depay must score for the Netherlands at some stage.

The 30-year-old has had 18 attempts during the tournament, which is second only to Kylian Mbappe of the players still active, despite not managing to score a single goal.

He is available at 10/34.33 to score, while Euro 2024 top scorer Cody Gakpo is also 7/24.50.

It is worth noting that both of the Netherlands' goals in their quarter-final victory over Turkiye came from their right-hand side, with wing-back Denzel Dumfries putting in a teasing ball for the own goal that proved to be the winner.

Given England's well-publicised difficulties down the left, a Dumfries assist could be one to watch out for at 11/26.50.

Expect another nervy one

Regardless of the above, the statistics tell us that we are likely to be in for the long haul again.

England's 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Saturday was the fourth straight game in which they have been level at 90 minutes. Extending that out, England have been drawing at the end of regulation time in six of their last nine competitive matches.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 73% of England's knockout games in major tournaments since 1980 have gone to extra time.

At Euro 2024, the Three Lions have done enough to stay in matches but have struggled to have the wherewithal to seize the initiative and win them in 90 minutes. As they did against Slovakia, England scored from their first shot on target of the game against Switzerland, while they have generated the lowest xG of any team still in the tournament.

What all of that means is that the draw at 90 minutes looks a great bet at 9/52.80.

The thought of what happens next is enough to fill most England fans with a sense of overwhelming dread because they have lost more penalty shootouts (four) than any other team to have contested more than one at the Euros

But with this team, it feels different.

Against Switzerland, England won only their third ever shootout at a major tournament and two of those have come in the Southgate era, with the other success having come at the 2018 World Cup against Colombia.

For the first time ever, England scored five penalties from five as well. The composure of Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold was unlike anything that we have ever seen from the Three Lions.

The same can be said for the goalkeeper.

Opta Pickford.png

Jordan Pickford saved Switzerland's first penalty, correctly diving to his left when Manuel Akanji stepped up.

That was the fourth penalty he has saved in major tournaments for England of the 14 he has faced. That is twice as many as all other England goalkeepers combined between 1990 and 2012, who managed two saves from 36 penalties.

England to win on penalties is available at 15/28.50.

Now read Euro 2024 Semi-Final Preview: Tour of Golden Boot and Player of the Tournament markets

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.