Euro 2024 day 29: England prepare for final showdown with Spain

England woke up blurry eyed following the night before as the nation digested the last-gasp win over the Netherlands.

There will be, though, little time for Gareth Southgate’s squad to reflect on achievements so far as thoughts quickly turn towards Sunday’s final against Spain in Berlin.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look over Euro 2024 as the tournament heads into its last few days.

Once more unto the breach…

A summer which began with unconvincing displays, fan discontent and widespread criticism will end with a shot at history for England in Sunday’s Berlin showpiece at the Olympiastadion.

This is the first time an English men’s team has made it to a major final overseas – and a second successive continental final for a side who lost on penalties to Italy in the last European Championship final at Wembley three years ago.

England returned to their Blankenhain base after Wednesday’s dramatic triumph – sealed by a stunning last-minute strike from substitute Ollie Watkins – to rest, recover and refocus on their toughest test yet.

Spain are the bookmakers’ favourites – and Gareth Southgate knows England will have to be at their absolute best against an in-form side who have had an extra day to prepare if they are to join the 1966 World Cup team in immortality.

“They have been the best team We are starting to show a better version of ourselves,” Southgate said.

“We are in there and with what we have shown to this point we have as good a chance as they do.”

We are ready to finish the job – Palmer

England’s Cole Palmer scores a first penalty in the shoot out against Switzerland at Euro 2024
Cole Palmer feels the whole squad are “buzzing” after their semi-final victory (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Cole Palmer says it is time for England to “finish the job” and grab their life-changing opportunity in Berlin on Sunday.

The Chelsea winger came off the bench to set up Watkins’ late winner against the Dutch – and is ready for more of the same.

“Everyone’s buzzing,” Palmer said. “Last night on the bus tunes were on, changing room, everyone was just enjoying it.

“But obviously it’s a short turnaround and it’s a massive, massive game to change our lives, our family’s lives, and to make everyone proud. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

The 22-year-old said on Lions’ Den: “I think if you’ve got this final then you have to hopefully finish the job.

“It’s all good getting to the final, and you’ve got to enjoy it because you don’t get many moments to enjoy. But, no, everyone just wants to win so bad.”

Morata on the mend

Spain were handed some welcome news on the fitness of captain Alvaro Morata.

Morata had been injured in a freak incident whilst celebrating Tuesday’s semi-final victory over Spain, struck by a security guard who slipped in attempting to intercept a pitch invader.

The Atletico Madrid forward, though, allayed fears over any lingering knee problem when he took part in an open training session on Thursday.

Dani Carvajal and Robin Le Normand, meanwhile, will both be available again for Sunday’s final against England following suspension.

All over for Oranje

While England fans are dreaming of European glory, Netherlands supporters headed home reflecting on what might have been but for another VAR controversy, which saw Harry Kane awarded a penalty to spark the fightback in Dortmund.

“Our adventure came to a painful end in the semi-finals, in a match in which our team gave everything,” manager Ronald Koeman said in a post on social media.

“I am proud of this great group of players and staff, who have worked together with enormous dedication.

“The support from all Oranje fans was also unparalleled and overwhelming – wherever we went, they coloured the host cities orange.

“I would like to thank everyone for this wonderful trip, we showed who we are and put the Netherlands back on the map.”

Picture of the day

England fans with a flag banner at full time after the Euro 2024 semi-final match against the Netherlands
England fans are plotting their next trip to Berlin for Sunday’s final (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Post of the day

What’s next?

Sunday – Final: Spain v England, 8pm, BBC & ITV