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England player ratings: Kobbie Mainoo runs the show in semi-final as Southgate masterstroke sends Three Lions to Berlin

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SUPER-SUB Ollie Watkins put England into their first ever major final on foreign soil with a belting late finish.

The Aston Villa man thundered in a brilliant strike on the turn to set up Sunday’s clash with Spain in Berlin.

Harry Kane got England back in the game after going behind early on

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Harry Kane got England back in the game after going behind early onCredit: AFP
Super sub Ollie Watkins scored a last-gasp stunner to send England through

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Super sub Ollie Watkins scored a last-gasp stunner to send England throughCredit: EPA
England will face Spain in the final

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England will face Spain in the finalCredit: PA

England had a nightmare start when Xavi Simons rattled in a stunner with just seven minutes on the clock.

But Gareth Southgate’s side responded by playing their best football of the tournament by a country mile.

They perhaps got a little lucky with the penalty that got them back into it, as VAR alerted ref Felix Zwayer to Denzel Dumfries catching Harry Kane’s foot after the England captain had fired a shot over.

Zwayer went to his monitor and awarded the spot-kick, which Kane buried.

Phil Foden then crashed the post with a wonderstrike and had a shot cleared off the line by Dumfries, who also headed against the crossbar.

The game looked to getting away from England but then Watkins buried a pass from fellow sub Cole Palmer to make history.

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Jordan Pickford – 7

Jordan Picford made some key saves to help England progress

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Jordan Picford made some key saves to help England progressCredit: AFP

Bigger goalkeepers may have got a stronger hand to Xavi Simons’ early stunner – though that was being hypercritical. Solid stop to deny Virgil van Dijk after the hour.

Kyle Walker – 7

Looked re-energised after some lumbering displays and bombed on at times in the first half, despite his role on the right of a back three. Last-ditch tackle on Cody Gakpo was spot on.

John Stones – 7

Strong in possession. He looks to have benefited from regular game-time after rarely featuring for Manchester City in the last few months.

Marc Guehi – 6

Came back into the side after suspension ruled him out of the Switzerland game.

Had an unenviable task of making the big man Wout Weghorst after the break.

Kieran Trippier – 6

We all know by now that he is playing out of position, so again he was limited going forward and reliable defensively. Subbed at half-time for the more natural Shaw.

Declan Rice – 6

Lost possession for Simons’ thunderous opener but grew into the game, mopping up where necessary. Poor pass when Kane was open midway through the second half.

Kobbie Mainoo – 8

Kobbie Mainoo ran the show during his time on the pitch

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Kobbie Mainoo ran the show during his time on the pitchCredit: EPA

Was England’s youngest-ever player to play in a major-tournament semi-final, aged 19years 82 days, and had a stormer in the first half.

Great bursts forward, vital tackles, and his interplay with Foden was a joy.

Bukayo Saka – 7

Razor-sharp in the first half, winning tackles, making runs and dribbling the ball proficiently.

Less of an impact after the break, had a goal ruled out for offside and was booked.

Jude Bellingham – 5

Back at the ground where he made his name but struggled to make much of an impact on his old stomping ground. Fortunate it was not he that was subbed.

Phil Foden – 7

The first 45 minutes was by far and away his best half of the tournament.

Thought he’d scored when his shot was cleared off the line by Denzel Dumfries, and cracked the post with a cracker. But was then surprisingly subbed.

Harry Kane – 6

Kane expertly converted his first-half spot kick

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Kane expertly converted his first-half spot kickCredit: Getty

Won and dispatched the penalty to go joint top-scorer in the tournament with three goals.

Had looked more mobile initially but still tired badly after the break and was taken off.

Subs

Luke Shaw (on for Trippier half-time) – 6

Looked assured for a man who has been out for so long.

Ollie Watkins (on for Kane 80 mins) – 9

Surprisingly given the nod over Ivan Toney as striker sub as Southgate looked for more pace in behind.

Brilliant finish into the corner to win the game – you could not ask more from him.

Cole Palmer (on for Foden 80 mins) – 7

Had his big chance in the final minutes but shanked it horribly wide – but then fed Watkins for his wonderful winner.

Ezri Kona (on for Saka 91 mins) –

N/A

Conor Gallagher (on for Mainoo 91 mins) –

N/A

Gareth Southgate: 8

His switch to a back three against Switzerland helped dig out the win there, and here it had his team finally playing some great football in the first half.

The team went into their shells again as the game wore on and you feared the worst – but you have to say his decision to bring on Ollie Watkins was a masterstroke. 

England’s six tournament semi-finals

ENGLAND will play their seventh tournament semi-final in Dortmund on Wednesday, writes Martin Lipton.

Sun Sport recalls the other six – and remembers where it went right and wrong for the Three Lions

1966 Portugal (Wembley) W 2-1

This was the big test for Alf Ramsey’s “wingless wonders” and one they passed thanks to a masterclass by Bobby Charlton. Charlton steered home the opener from outside the box after Roger Hunt chased down Ray Wilson’s ball over the top and keeper Jose Pereira blocked.

His second was slammed into the bottom corner after Geoff Hurst pushed into his path. Portuguese superstar Eusebio pulled one back from the spot after Jack Charlton handled off the line but England held on.

1968 Yugoslavia (Florence) L 1-0

Alan Mullery became the first England player to be sent off as this European Championship semi-final descended into a kicking match. A forgettable game saw Alan Ball force one panicky clearance against the Yugoslav bar but few real chances before Dragan Dzajic sneaked in behind Bobby Moore to prod the winner past Gordon Banks with four minutes left.

Mullery was then dismissed for kicking out at Dobrivoje Trivic. Goals from Charlton and Hurst earned a 2-0 win over the Soviet Union in the third place game.

1990 West Germany (Turin) D 1-1 (West Germany won 4-2 on penalties)

Arguably England’s best performance under Bobby Robson ended in heartache and tears. Chances came and went at both ends in a whirlwind game before Andreas Brehme’s free-kick looped off Paul Parker to drop beyond a helpless Peter Shilton.

But Gary Lineker then turned Parker’s hopeful ball forward into an assist as he fired past Bodo Illgner. Paul Gascoigne was in bits after the booking that would have ruled him out of the Final and shoot-out misses by Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle were fatal.

1996 Germany (Wembley) D 1-1 (Germany won 6-5 on penalties)

Another story of what might have been as Gareth Southgate joined the long list of shoot-out victims. Terry Venables’ side made the perfect start when Gascoigne’s corner was flicked on by Tony Adams for Alan Shearer to score. But Germany soon levelled through Stefan Kuntz and both goals had narrow escapes in normal and extra-time.

Penalties again and while Shearer, David Platt, Pearce, Gascoigne and Teddy Sheringham all scored, Germany were equally strong. Southgate’s shocker made Andreas Moller the one to win it.

2018 Croatia (Moscow) L 1-2

Another near-miss for England, who ran out of legs and smarts just when it mattered most. Kieran Trippier’s sensational free-kick put Southgate’s side in front and they had the chances to put the Croatians away in the first half.

But they all went begging and Luka Modric and Co wrested control. Ivan Perisic stole in front of Kyle Walker to nudge the leveller and in extra-time Mario Manduzic ran in behind a slow-reacting defence to beat Jordan Pickford. So near, so far.

2021 Denmark (Wembley) W 2-1

“Sweet Caroline” has never been sung so loud and so long than after this epic evening. The Danes went in front from a terrific Mikkel Damsgaard free-kick but Simon Kjaer put through his own goal as he tried to prevent Raheem Sterling converting Bukayo Saka’s cross.

Extra-time brought the key moment, when Sterling went down in the box under pressure from Mathias Jensen. Skipper Harry Kane’s penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel but he knocked home the rebound to earn the first England Final since 1966.



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England player ratings: Kobbie Mainoo runs the show in semi-final as Southgate masterstroke sends Three Lions to Berlin
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