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08th Jul 2024

Dutch media slams England team ahead of semi-final

Harry Warner

“More like a William Shakespeare tragedy”

Dutch media have slammed the England team ahead of their semi-final clash with the Netherlands on Wednesday.

Gareth Southgate’s men were once again lucky to stay in the tournament after coming from 1-0 down to eventually beat Switzerland on penalties.

In the aftermath of the game, press all around Europe were eager to give their thoughts on another drab England performance, despite many at home thinking it was their best yet.

The criticism came heavily from Marcel van der Kraan of De Telegraaf who described the match as “more like a William Shakespeare tragedy” while saying the most entertainment part of the England team is the usual fanfare around their wives.

The journalist said: “For almost 75 minutes, England-Switzerland looked more like a William Shakespeare tragedy than a tough battle for a place in the European Championship semi-finals. The English, with their abundance of talent and quality, did not provide entertainment in any way.

“The greatest amount of entertainment surrounding the England team this tournament comes not from the players but from their wives. They provide more pages of entertainment, arguments and glamour performances in Germany than their highly paid men.”

He added: “That those affairs and the ladies in pink slippers and Chanel bags on the runway in front of half a dozen private jets score more headlines than Harry Kane, who again had the fewest kilometres to his name against Switzerland, or the entire, very boring England team says everything.”

Van der Kraan was also critical of the Swiss.

He said: “Fifteen minutes before the end, everyone in the packed DĂĽsseldorf stadium thought that a team worth one and a half billion euros was being sent home by a country where they have 450 types of cheese and barely 11 reasonable football players.”

Such criticism comes despite the Netherlands not exactly experiencing a vintage tournament either.

Lucky to beat the Polish last minute and loss to Austria, the Dutch had to once again come from behind late on to beat Turkey in the quarter-finals.

The press in other European nations were equally keen to hop on the England-critical bandwagon.

Spanish paper Marca focused on Real Madrid star man Jude Bellingham saying “he did little, like the rest of the team.”

Victor Romeo wrote: “Jude Bellingham is exhausted and if the helmsman does not pull the cart, the cart will not go forward.

“England went through to the semi-finals of the Euro Cup, but their great star is far from the best level. Like the rest of his team-mates, with the exception of the scorer Saka against Switzerland.”

In the lead up to the big semi-final showdown between the Netherlands and England, Dutch players have had their say on the England squad.

Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo said: “But they win. They win. That’s a good sign. Like us. [Winning] is all that matters, at the end. It’s the most important to win. You can play very good football, but if you don’t win, you’re out.”

Nathan Ake of Manchester City compounded this idea.

He said: “Sometimes, tournament football is not always about playing great. They are in a semi-final again. I think every team in the semi-final deserves to be there otherwise they wouldn’t be there.”

England will face the Netherlands on Wednesday at 8pm for a chance to book their ticket to the final of Euro 2024.