Gary Neville explains key for England to ‘stifle’ Spain in Euro 2024 final – ‘They were amazing’

Will Ford
Neville Southgate England
Gary Neville has explained the key for England vs Spain in the Euro 2024.

Gary Neville says the key to an England victory over Spain in the Euro 2024 final will be stopping two players who “were amazing” against France on Tuesday night.

Ollie Watkins booked England’s place in the European Championship showpiece with a stunning late winner against the Netherlands after Harry Kane drew the Three Lions from the penalty spot following Xavi Simons’ fine opener.

Spain meanwhile also came from behind to beat France in the other semi-final, as Lamine Yamal and Dani Olmo both scored wonderful goals to dump Kylian Mbappe and co. out of the competition.

‘The most important’

Luis de la Fuente’s side have undoubtedly played the best football in Germany this summer and will be favourites going into the final despite England’s star power, and Neville reckons the best bet for Gareth Southgate’s side will be to prevent Manchester City star Rodri and PSG’s Fabian Ruiz from dictating play from midfield.

He said on ITV: “Trust me, if we let Rodri and Fabian Ruiz play in midfield, their (full-backs) jobs will be a lot harder. So it’s really important, the most important thing is to get people up against them two.

“If they’re releasing the passes to those two wide players (Yamal and Williams), then full-backs for England on Sunday will be in trouble.

“Get against Rodri, get against Fabian Ruiz, try and deal with them and you’ll stifle a lot of attacks forward. I thought they were amazing last night (vs France).”

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‘An absolute disgrace’

Neville claimed the decision to award England a penalty for Denzel Dumfries’ challenge on Kane was disgraceful, and that was before fresh footage emerged to further illustrate England’s good fortune.

“Look, as a defender I think it’s an absolute disgrace,” Neville said. “I think it’s an absolutely disgraceful decision.

“To have that given against me as a penalty at any time, but in a game of such importance. I was fuming with the one the other week, the Denmark one, the handball, that was a disgrace as well, I was offended by that one.

“I have to say, he just goes in naturally just to try and block the shot. it’s not a penalty for me, it’s nowhere near a penalty. I have to say I don’t think there were many England players claiming for it either.

“Harry obviously stayed down, he got a little bit of a tap on his foot, but it’s never a penalty for me. But obviously you take your luck England have played really well that first half.”

Dumfries himself has said he believes referee Felix Zwayer was right to award the penalty, but both Ronaldo Koeman and Virgil van Dijk disagree, while the pundits in the Netherlands aren’t at all happy with Kane’s antics.