England warned about Netherlands’ two major strengths by Dutch former Man Utd coach ahead of Euro 2024 semi-final

England warned about Netherlands’ two major strengths by Dutch former Man Utd coach ahead of Euro 2024 semi-final

ENGLAND will have to be especially careful of Netherlands stars Virgil van Dijk and Denzel Dumfries during their crunch semi-final clash.

The Three Lions face Holland tonight at the Signal Iduna Park for a place in the final of Euro 2024 which will see the winner facing Spain.

Ex-Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen named two major dangers for EnglandGetty

England need to be careful of Netherlands star Virgil van Dijk during set-piecesRex

Meulensteen added that Denzel Dumfries could cause problems down England’s leftRex

England’s Harry Kane dilemma laid bare as stats show MAJOR problem before Holland clash

GARETH SOUTHGATE has a Harry Kane dilemma ahead of the Euro 2024 semi-final, writes Kealan Hughes.

England face the Netherlands on Wednesday night as they bid to reach back-to-back Euros finals with their captain the subject of huge scrutiny.

Kane, 30, was taken off in extra-time against Switzerland after a lacklustre performance which saw the striker barely involved in play.

In 109 minutes, he completed just EIGHT passes – only one of which was in the final third.

Kane also made just four touches in the opposition penalty box, with critics lamenting his failure to get into the area to get on the end of one of Bukayo Saka’s many crosses.

Alan Shearer has advised Kane to do his work in the box rather than dropping back.

In fact his average position against Switzerland was DEEPER than wing-backs Saka and Kieran Trippier.

That might be understandable, with the pair bombing on to provide width.

But Kane was also, on average BEHIND Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and even holding midfielders Kobbie Mainoo and Declan Rice.

Read SunSport’s analysis on Southgate’s Kane dilemma in full.

And ex-Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen is adamant England boss Gareth Southgate should be especially careful of the threat Van Dijk and Dumfries carry when they move forward.

Meulensteen, 60, believes Inter Milan star Dumfries could prove to be very dangerous down the Three Lions’ left side where they lack a left-back.

Luke Shaw is the only left-footed option to cover that position after returning to action in the quarter-finals against Switzerland on Saturday.

But the Man Utd star is set to start on the bench once more as he was sidelined since February with an injury.

Meulensteen added that Van Dijk can also create problems in set-pieces with his headers, such as the one he produced in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea to win Liverpool the trophy.

The Dutch tactician, who worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at United for almost 12 years before his departure in 2013, insists much will depend on who Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman starts.

But the ex-Fulham manager expects Cody Gakpo, Donyell Malen, Xavi Simons, Jeremie Frimpong and Steven Bergwijn will also play a big role in the semi-final.

Meulensteen told SunSport on behalf of Free Bets: “Cody Gakpo, he’s had a good tournament so far and has done OK.

BEST FREE BET SIGN UP OFFERS FOR UK BOOKMAKERS

“Depending on who he’s [Koeman] going to play, I hope he’s going to play Malen because I think he has something, he’s got a change of pace, can come inside, outside.

“Xavi Simons can do things, he’s a good player but hasn’t been at his best and then you’ve got impact players.

“Ronald Koeman and Gareth Southgate have shown great loyalty to their starting eleven, so I don’t know what he’s going to do on the right-hand side, whether Malen, Frimpong, Bergwijn.

“Bergwijn was a bit questionable, people thought why did you play him but that was more to release Dumfries on the right hand side.

“If he can run forward, he can cause problems, Dumfries. From set-pieces, Van Dijk with his head is strong.

“Those are the players I’d say can cause real problems for England.”

Inside Jordan Pickford’s penalty saving technique as he bids to be England’s Euros hero

JORDAN PICKFORD has regularly been the hero when it comes to a penalty shootout for his country, writes Jon Boon.

The England and Everton goalkeeper, 30, saved Manuel Akanji’s effort for Switzerland to hand the Three Lions an advantage in their shootout win in their Euro 2024 quarter-final.

Now, with the help of Goalkeeper.com, we’ve uncovered Pickford’s penalty-saving technique.

USES HISTORIC TRENDS

Pickford is well prepared when it comes to facing the ball from 12-yards.

His water bottle trick has become infamous with the list of penalty takers and direction of shot taped on to it.

But you cannot always listen blindly to most probable placements, and a goalkeeper’s intuition should also play a role.

That human element remains important.

UTILISES A MIXED STRATEGY

Being a goalkeeper is often called the ‘loneliest job’ in the world.

And when it comes to penalties, your team-mates are solely reliant upon your strategy to save one.

Often, we’ve seen goalies who prefer to favour one side – and continuously dive one way.

However, Pickford adopts a mixed strategy.

Sometimes, he will dive to the power side – saving from Jorginho in the Euro 2020 final.

His save from Akanji in the Swiss shootout was made on the placement side.

TECHNICAL EXECUTION OF DIVE

Goalkeepers are hindered during penalty shootouts – with the Fifa rulebook meaning they have to stay on the line until the shot is taken.

That means the lift off of your dive has to be executed a certain way.

Pickford launches himself from his back foot behind the line, pushes his body weight forwards, makes no large negative step and keeps both hands active to make the save.

This was put into effect when he made saves from Italy’s Andrea Belotti in 2020 and Colombia’s Carlos Bacca at the 2018 World Cup.

France’s Mike Maignan, by comparison, takes a large negative step, and struggles to reach his posts.

CLUB VS COUNTRY METRICS

Interestingly, Pickford is better at saving penalties in shootouts for England than in his overall career average, and better at saving in shootouts vs in game.

Clearly, Pickford performs better in an England shirt and when there is bigger pressure.

Read our full analysis of Jordan Pickford’s penalty-saving techniques…

back link building services=