Everyone knows England and Netherlands can play better -Gakpo

Netherlands defender Nathan Ake says they are “very close” to achieving their dreams as they prepare to face England in the Euro 2024 semi-finals.

They had to come from behind to beat Turkey 2-1 on Saturday but the Netherlands’ biggest test could come against England.

It will be familiar territory for Ake, who plays for Manchester City in the Premier League and will come up against several club team-mates.

“I’m looking forward to it. There’s a lot of players I know from the Premier League,” said Ake.

“We know their individual qualities and it’s a semi-final so it will be tough. We’re building momentum.

“We came through tough stages at the start of the tournament and now we’ve got through another test so I think we’re ready for it.

“Underdog or not – it doesn’t matter. We focus on ourselves. We know what we need to do. We are very close now.”

Both sides have progressed to the semi-finals despite facing criticism from supporters and media.

England, who needed a penalty shootout to beat Switzerland in their quarter-final, were runners-up in 2021 but have stumbled through so far.

Plastic cups were thrown at manager Gareth Southgate following the goalless draw with Slovenia, and he has been booed and questioned throughout.

Ake says “every team in the semi-finals deserves to be there” but the Dutch have also underwhelmed, failing to flatter in the group stages and playing a poor first half against Turkey.

Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo, joint-top scorer in the tournament, said: “England won so that’s a good sign – like us! In the end, it’s the most important thing.

“You can play good football but still go out. Obviously I think everyone knows each country can play a little bit better but if you win, that’s all that matters.”

Dutch manager Ronald Koeman says his side will “have to fight” but is excited by the prospect of two “big nations” going head-to-head.

“England have good players, but I think we have good players too,” he added.

“Now we get to play in Dortmund, one of the most beautiful stadiums you can play in. I’m also super proud of our supporters.

“We are in the semi-finals and nobody expected that.”

Credit: bbc.com


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