Tuesday, July 23, 2024
HomeInternationalAlexander-Arnold and Pickford the penalty heroes on 'incredible' night for England

Alexander-Arnold and Pickford the penalty heroes on ‘incredible’ night for England

Trent Alexander-Arnold hailed an “incredible” night for England after his penalty sent the national team through to the last four of Euro 2024. 

Gareth Southgate’s men struggled to break down Switzerland on a difficult night in Düsseldorf, which was made all the harder when Breel Embolo broke the deadlock in the 75th minute, poking home from inside the six yard following a John Stones’ deflection.

Bukayo Saka hit back just five minutes later, though, scoring a cracking equaliser from range to keep them alive in the competition and send the game to extra time.

A dour contest eventually concluded after two hours of ‘action’ to give us a penalty shootout. Jordan Pickford saved Switzerland’s first spot kick, a poorly executed effort from Man City’s Manuel Akanji, which turnout to be decisive.

Liverpool star Alexander-Arnold, who came off the bench late on, stepped up to convert the fifth and final penalty to send the English supporters into raptures – and the Three Lions into a third semi-final in six years.

“Incredible, these are the goals that we set for ourselves,” the 25-year-old told BBC One. “Difficult opponent going behind and the team showed a lot of character, belief, heart and spirit out there.

“We knew it was going to be tight. Whatever it takes and no matter what we win – that is all that matters to us.”

England were perfect from twelve yards out when the pressure was on, scoring all five penalties. “It is what we have practiced,” Alexander-Arnold said.

“When the gaffer said I was taking one, I enjoy it and I practice it – I knew I had to just execute it. All five penalties from us were great.”

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