England ‘weak link’ should be dropped for the Euro 2024 final

Editor F365
England team before Netherlands game
England team before Netherlands game

England fans are celebrating but they are also asking whether Harry Kane really should start in the Euro 2024 final.

Send your views on this and all things England and Euro 2024 to theeditor@football365.com


Harry Kane is the weakest link
I’m sure I speak for many when I ask where the England of that first half has been all tournament. It wasn’t like the Netherlands suddenly played into our hands, it was just the result of actually attacking and running at players instead of trying to probe the area like City all game.
Walker was much improved, except for his passing which still seems like he has forgotten how to do it.

Kane though 🤦‍♂️ I’m sorry because his penalty was excellent and he wasn’t *bad* I guess but I’m so tired of this running deep and ball chasing all the time. We don’t need it! I honestly don’t see what Kane’s out of the box play is doing for us when we have two wing backs and two number 10s. It’s all well and good saying that Foden and Mainoo actually replaced him in the box when he (often) wasn’t….how about we actually keep a striker in there and see how that goes?

I’m no Kane hater by any means, far from it but I honestly think he has been one of the regular weak links in this tournament so far and barring the penalty, he didn’t do anything last night to change my mind. Watkins has looked more dangerous in the fraction of minutes he’s had than Kane has all Euros 🤷‍♂

Any time he’s been replaced, we’ve got better. Sorry but it’s just a fact.
Marc (MCFC), Bolton

👉 16 Conclusions on England 2-1 Netherlands: Watkins, subs, Mainoo, Southgate, that penalty and more
👉 Euro 2024 Power Rankings: England seal top-two spot but Spain remain favourites
👉 England player ratings v Netherlands: Watkins a national hero as Foden, Mainoo shine


Magic moments
Ollie Watkins you beauty! Seems absurd but have we actually been pacing ourselves through the tournament?

That first half was what we have been crying out for, we looked like the team we should be. Foden is inches away from being player of the tournament, hit the post twice, an offside goal and one off the line. For all the grief I think he’s been more effective than Bellingham.

We look so much better with the 3 at the back, and when Shaw came on I thought we reverted back to a 4-3-3 which took Foden and Bellingham out of the game and we lost momentum. Great that Shaw got 45 reasonably easy minutes under his belt though.

I did think Koeman out thought Southgate in that second half, they came up with a plan to nullify us and we didn’t really respond. But, moments. Again we had the character (and the luck) to come through with a decisive moment.

Christ, I even saw the point of Gallagher being in the squad in those last two minutes. Keep saying it over and over again but you’ve gotta love these players, those scenes where they were mixing with their parents brought a tear to my eye, and as a human you’ve got to love Southgate. Spain will be tough, but we are street wise and maybe, just maybe we can find a way to nullify Rodri. If we can, we have the players to get us over the line.

Can’t quite believe we are in another final, here’s hoping this is the one!


England DO have a chance
If you think England haven’t a “Scooby” v Spain then you are as delusional as Peter Schiff is regarding Bitcoin.

England were much improved v Holland especially Foden. Spain weren’t great against a poor France so it’s a 50:50 game in my opinion.

Yes Yamal and Williams are good players but they are NOT World class yet. England have good players too.

Just depends which England turn up.


…Have no idea what you’re on about pal. You f**king melt. Sack off. C**t.

(Jake sounds nice – Ed)


Or do they?
From plucky loses to underwhelming winners, England have come far. But make no mistake about it, Spain are favorites. They remind me of the legendary 2002 Brazil team that won 7 straight games to win the World Cup. Sorry England, this one’s not for you. Again.
Muthama Gitonga, Nairobi, Kenya


Just going to shut up about Southgate now
I guess I just need to shut up about Gather Southgate. Kane’s and Trippier’s continued inclusion and Gordon’s continued exclusion are (to me) clearly wrong decisions. But every decision Southgate makes seems to work in the end. If England were Scotland, he’d require burning, because he’s clearly a witch.

Meanwhile, in the Copa America, James Rodriguez just got his sixth assist. Surely the player of the tournament.

And speaking of Rodriguez, no player makes me feel older. I was already kind of old when he was just a kid at the World Cup, and now he’s an elder statesman.

What player makes you lot feel old?
Chris C, Toon Army DC


Southgate always had this
Wow! What a game and what a superb winning goal from Ollie Watkins. England into the final of the Euros again.

This was always on the cards. Even after the boos, jeers and thrown bottles and beer glasses after the Slovenia bore draw Southgate was always possibly going to find a way to turn things around and make the fans love him again. From being underwhelming to making the final England have gone up a considerable notch over the last three games. Let’s hope it continues against Spain in the final.
Dan, London


…Gareth Southgate has taken us to precisely DOUBLE the number of international tournament finals that we’ve previously been in, in our entire history.

I literally do not care for any opinion that doesn’t recognise this fact first.
Harry B


It WAS a penalty
Come on England! Absolutely amazing, top performance and brilliant winning goal, this isn’t what being an England fan is meant to feel like! Southgate once again shows how brilliant he is at tournament football. Yes it’s awful sometimes, but by god does it work.

But with regards to the penalty, your logic in 16 Conclusions makes absolutely no sense. Of course it’s a foul if you dangle your leg out with your studs up right in front of a player who is about to strike it. It happens all the time when full backs are clearing the ball up the line and get caught by the winger. It’s never not a foul.

Gary Neville’s argument that as a defender it’s a disgrace is completely unsurprising but equally doesn’t follow any logic. He just wants to be able to get away with dangerous play. Yeah you’re trying to do your job and block the shot, but instead you don’t get it right and cause the striker to get hurt. Nonsense.

I was very pleased to see it given, not because it’s England, but because they sometimes aren’t and really should be.

Now it’s Spain. Ah dammit!
Andy, Cheshire

👉 16 Conclusions on England 2-1 Netherlands: Watkins, subs, Mainoo, Southgate, that penalty and more
👉 Euro 2024 Power Rankings: England seal top-two spot but Spain remain favourites
👉 England player ratings v Netherlands: Watkins a national hero as Foden, Mainoo shine


Does he not like that?
No, if we’re honest it wasn’t a penalty, and I understand Ronald Koeman’s frustration at the referee’s decision.

But somewhere, Graham Taylor is looking down and laughing.
Chris Mac, LFC (Does he not like that)


…Great result, brilliant goal from Watkins and a bit of credit to Gareth for his subs, but…..

That was never a penalty though was it? Bollocks decision and a bit of luck. England fans would have been livid had that been given against us and would have complained bitterly.

Just saying.


The view from Amsterdam
I wrote in before the game saying that if England play with some joie de vivre they should overcome a toothless Orange. And boy do I regret saying that.. because except for Xavi we had no bite, no growl.

Having said that, even wearing orange-tinted glasses, we could and should have won this game. But thanks to the penalty that never was and one shot on goal in the second half of the second half Southgate weasels into another final.

Fair play to Foden and Bellingham who played one hell of a game and what a sub for the young Watkins to give this generation another shot at glory.

What wasn’t fair play was the handling of players in the box by Rice and others, judo tackling Ake and then Weghorst – who is just the last ditch resort which shouldn’t be.

Finally, a word on the ref, who I felt had zero control over the game and was just dreadful.

So, two finals and a semi sandwiched in between, still think Gary should go?
Stijn, Amsterdam


…BS penalty! Did the referee overcompensate for trying not to come across as anti-England?

Even Southgate managed to actually help his team with subs & tactics. Whoever knew they had a natural replacement for Harry Kane in the squad.
Gaurav MUFC Amsterdam (streets were so quiet last night, but doubt anyone slept well)


Talking scary teenagers
My definition for the standout teenagers are the ones when on the ball look absolutely terrifying. Offer something no one’s seen before.

Rooney comes to the top of the list. Felt he could do absolutely anything with the ball and put the fear of god in defences. Sven even said “you’ll have to go back to Pele” to find anyone that made such an impact on a tournament as a teenager as Rooney at Euro 2004.

He was the best player in the world even then. At 18. I remember thinking, I can’t wait to grow up to see how he does. And that tinge of excitement in thinking, wow the next Pele is actually English. And I’m gonna live to see us win a World Cup! (forgive the hyperbole I was 12 at the time).

Of course Messi was absolutely terrifying as soon as he kicked a ball for Barca. No one had seen that level of control in the game before. And Cristiano Ronaldo, no one had the balls in the premier league to play like that at the time with the needless stepovers and chops.

One other player that was hairs-standing-on-end scary was Xherdan Shaqiri. First seen when watching Basel play in Europa and he was 17 I think at the time. His passing was sensational. Scholes-like. But had serious pace too and could tackle. Remember thinking it strange that someone that good could come out of Switzerland.

Not sure if it’s because I’m older but I don’t find Lamine in the same way as terrifying. I think it’s because he’s not a nutcase genius like the others but seems the complete and mature footballer already. If it wasn’t for his braces, I’d have no idea he was wunderkind. In some ways that’s perhaps more terrifying.
Jonas, Man Utd, Enfield