11 July 2024

Gary Neville impressed by improving England’s ability to ‘navigate obstacles’

11 July 2024

Gary Neville praised England for their ability to “navigate obstacles” at Euro 2024 ahead of Sunday’s showdown against “standout” Spain in the final.

Gareth Southgate’s side reached the tournament showpiece thanks to Ollie Watkins’ late strike as they beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Wednesday’s semi-final.

Spain’s spot in the final was confirmed on Tuesday following their 2-1 victory against France, which included a brilliant goal from 16-year-old Lamine Yamal.

Following criticism in the group stages for their performances, England have gradually improved during the knockout phases.

Jude Bellingham’s stunning stoppage-time overhead kick helped England on their way to beating Slovakia 2-1 in the last 16 and they beat Switzerland on penalties after the quarter-final finished 1-1.

Looking ahead to Sunday’s final, former England defender Neville praised the team for their resilience so far in the tournament.

“It will be really difficult, but the England team in this tournament have found a way to navigate through the obstacles that have been in their way and the obstacles that have been on their path,” Neville told Sky Sports News.

“They’re going to have to do that again on Sunday, but the Spanish have been the standout team during this tournament and what I would say is that we’re gradually getting better each game.

“It’s going to be a brilliant final on Sunday, everyone’s looking forward to it and the fact we’re in there is just sensational.

“I don’t know if it’s written in the stars with what’s happened in this last 10 days because of the last minute goals, nearly being 80 seconds from being out of the tournament, the penalties, what happened last night with Ollie Watkins coming on and scoring late.

“All these things just sometimes give you a feeling that something’s happening.

“They’ve obviously got to get through the game on Sunday, but in sport sometimes you get a sense sometimes that maybe the time is now when you see the challenges the players and Gareth have come through in the last three or four weeks.”

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