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How Watkins took England to Euro 2024 final

Watkins score late winner for England

England beat Netherlands 2-1 in semi-final

“I’ve been waiting for that moment for weeks.” These were the words of England’s latest sensational striker, Ollie Watkins, who came from the bench to fire the Three Lions to Euro 2024 final on Wednesday July 10, 2024.

With the clock about to hit 90:00 in England’s Euro 2024 semi-final against the Netherlands, with the score at 1-1 in Dortmund, the ball fell to the striker from Devon, who was still playing in the English Football League just over four years ago at the age of 24, according to BBC.

The Aston Villa man turned Stefan de Vrij and hammered a shot into the bottom corner for one of the most important England goals ever scored.

Rewind nine years and he had just finished a loan spell at non-league Weston-super-Mare from League Two Exeter City.

Also read: England grabs Euro 2024 ticket, Rashford shines in victory over Italy

Asked after his Dortmund heroics whether he could have imagined this at the time, he said: “You can dream but I am a realist. I was just focused on getting back into the first team at Exeter.

“I didn’t dream about that to be honest. I can’t lie and say I did. Scoring for England is amazing but I didn’t think I’d do it in a tournament like that.”

Watkins’ winning goal more than justified Gareth Southgate’s decision to choose him to replace England’s all-time top scorer Harry Kane, with nine minutes to go.

He came on alongside Cole Palmer, who set up his goal.

“I was wondering when the changes were going to happen. The changes were right and they were perfect,” said former England captain Alan Shearer on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Former Brentford striker Watkins had only played 20 minutes at a major tournament before this, in the group stage against Denmark, having been left out of the Euro 2020 and 2022 World Cup squads.

“When I was on the bench I said to [sub keeper] Dean Henderson, ‘I can make a difference today and need to get on’. I took my chance, scored it and now we are in the final. One last game,” he said.

That game is against Spain in Sunday’s Euro 2024 final – as England bid to be European champions for the first time in men’s football.

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