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England v Spain in Euro 2024 final: England ‘on brink of history’, says Gary Lineker



England v Spain in Euro 2024 final: England ‘on brink of history’, says Gary Lineker

Former England striker Gary Lineker says Gareth Southgate’s side are on the ‘brink of history’ after reaching the Euro 2024 final.

The Three Lions beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Dortmund on Wednesday night to book a spot in Sunday’s final against Spain.

It is the first time the men’s side have reached a final outside England after playing the 1966 World Cup final and 2021 Euro final at Wembley, while the women’s Euro victory in 2022 came on home soil.

England’s men have never won the European Championships, with their World Cup win in 1966 their only major silverware, while Spain are three-time European champions.

“I think it’s hugely significant for English football,” Lineker, who will present BBC One’s coverage of the final on Sunday, told BBC Sport.

“They were in a final, they were in the last final of the Euros, of course, and that was at Wembley, and that ended up in huge disappointment [losing to Italy on penalties].

“This is going to be tough, it’s going to be difficult, but they’re on the brink of history. No English team in football has ever won a major tournament abroad.”

The closest an England team have come to winning a major tournament outside of England was in 2023, when the Lionesses were beaten by Spain in the World Cup final in Australia.

Xavi Simons gave the Netherlands an early lead in Dortmund on Wednesday but Harry Kane equalised from the penalty spot midway through the first half before Ollie Watkins scored the winner in the 90th minute.

Watkins’ winner was England’s fourth goal of the tournament scored past the 80th minute, including extra time.

“They have got that kind of never-say-die attitude, which is something that is hugely important,” said Lineker, who scored 48 goals in 80 appearances for England.

“Even when they weren’t playing great, they were grinding out results. And it’s an old football cliche that if you can win when you play badly, then things are not that bad.”

Spain have been in the eyes of many observers the outstanding team in Germany this summer and are favourites heading into Sunday’s final.

After a slow start, England have found some rhythm in the knockout stages and the win against the Netherlands was their best display of the tournament so far.

“I don’t really think I’m surprised at how we have done it, because we’ve got the individuals, world-class footballers right across the pitch,” Lineker continued.

“Yes, they started slowly and something wasn’t quite right about things but they’ve worked it out and they’ve got gradually better as the tournament progressed. It’s much better that way round.”

So, is football coming home?

“I’m banning that statement,” said Lineker. “It’s been bad luck for so long.”

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