Published: Sun, June 09, 2019
Sport | By Ruben Hill

Netherlands beat England after extra time to reach UEFA Nations League final

Netherlands beat England after extra time to reach UEFA Nations League final

England manager Gareth Southgate insisted he can not treat Sunday's Nations League third-place playoff against Switzerland as a "practice match" with tens of thousands of fans having travelled to Portugal to support his side. Quincy Promes got to the ball first and his rebound attempt looked as if it might go wide of the net, but the ball hit off of English defender Kyle Walker and went in for the own goal.

Southgate, whose team face Switzerland in the Nations League third place playoff on Sunday, said he and his players were disappointed not to have reached the final.

Marcus Rashford put the Three Lions ahead with a 32nd minute penalty after he himself had been brought down by Barcelona target Matthijs de Ligt, adding to his ideal record from 12 yards, with the Manchester United man yet to miss from the spot.

Southgate, who has been in charge since 2016, has his players keeping possession as much as possible starting from the back, with John Stones and Harry Maguire often receiving the first ball and distributing it for the players further up the field. But he did ask a member of the FA staff who escorted him through to the England team bus to return and apologise on his behalf, explaining that he simply did not have the capacity to reflect on what for him had been a torturous encounter with Holland in the Nations League semi-final.

The Liverpool star's treatment left Southgate looking back at a World Cup qualifier in Malta in 2017 when England fans booed their own players as they produced a laboured performance. Michael Keane finished the season strongly with Everton but Southgate responded to that by arguing that he lacked the worldwide experience for such an important match.

"But also at the same time the lads have been training a good few weeks to build up to this game as well and they deserved to play".

Southgate's side were made to pay for costly individual errors by John Stones and Ross Barkley as England tried to play out from the back.

"I have to support John because he'll get frightful criticism for that mistake but he and Harry Maguire take huge strain on their shoulders and are incredibly courageous to do that".

"If we didn't play that way we would never progress to be a top team", said Southgate. However, the young talent that has seen a dramatic turnaround in their fortunes was in evidence with Barcelona-bound Frenkie de Jong outstanding in midfield.

"Mistakes are going to happen and I am going to make sure we don't stop trying to play the right way". 'I think I was able to prove myself and we can all be proud'.

"We'll probably have to make some changes. We have to take it on the chin and then we gifted them two goals", Rice said.

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