England v Netherlands – Reaction…

England 2-1 Netherlands

After substitute Ollie Watkins’ dramatic last-minute goal sealed a 2-1 win over the Netherlands to set up a final with Spain in Berlin on Sunday, Gareth Southgate spoke to www.bbc.co.uk/sport following the game – 

“I took the job to try to improve English football and we’re now in a second final. The last one was the first in over 50 years. We’re now in a first one oversees,” said Southgate.

“We’re giving people amazing nights. We’ve given our supporters some of the best nights in the last 50 years. I’m hugely proud of that.

“I’m delighted if everyone at home is feeling the way we are and the way those in the stadium were. But we’re not finished.

“We’ve got the greatest possible test to prepare for. We came here to try to win the tournament and that’s still our aim.

The jubilant England coach continued – “This has to be the best [achievement]. It’s another landmark, but the way we played, we played so well throughout the game. It was a complicated game, they kept changing, we had to respond. We caused them problems all night and the end is so special for the squad.

“The most important thing is that the whole squad are ready to come into the game. We spend a lot of time with those guys [the substitutes], and I’m so chuffed for Ollie [Watkins].

“We felt, energy-wise, we were starting to lose some pressure [second half]. Ollie can press well and make those runs in behind. We thought it was a good moment to try him.

“We deserved to win tonight. We were very fluid in our formation, it wasn’t just a back three, we had to adapt all the time and the players made so many good decisions.”

“We all want to be loved, right? When you’re doing something for your country, you’re a proud Englishman – you don’t feel that back and all you read is criticism, it’s hard,” said Southgate.

“To be able to celebrate a second final is very special. If I had not been on the grass, I would have been watching and celebrating like [the fans] were.

“I’m the one that has to pick a team so to be able to give them a night like tonight was very special.

“We have come here to win and play the team who have been the best in the tournament [in the final]. But we’re still here and fighting.”

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman spoke to ITV Sport after the game:  “First half yes, second half not. It was more 50/50. They created problems in our midfield in the first half. We didn’t control how they play between the line with Foden and Bellingham.

“Our feeling was maybe in the last 20 minutes, we are more fresh. They scored a great goal in the final minute and that is football. Maybe we deserved an extra-time but it’s like that and we can be proud about our national team. We had a great tournament.”

Ollie Watkins giving his reaction after his match-winning goal to ITV Sport:  “Honestly I swear, I said to Cole [Palmer] ‘We’re going to come on and you’re going to set me up.’ I knew, as soon as he got the ball, he was going to play me in. When it went in the bottom corner, it was the best feeling ever.

“We’ve got that bounce-back factor to going a goal behind. We never give up. One more game – we’re ready for Spain.”

England forward Jude Bellingham, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live said:  “We told you last time we live to fight another day. Another late goal, but it would be nice to score first and have that peace of mind.

“When they scored the first goal I didn’t think we were playing badly, it was a good finish to be fair.

“I am really proud of the boys. The reaction, attitude and mentality. Quality is one thing, but those characteristics you cannot learn in training – you get it from experience and each other.

“Now it is one more game. We are tired, it has been a long season, but this is one last push for our country and for history.”