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Euro 2024 Day 3 recap – England and Netherlands record narrow wins

We’ve got a glimpse of over half of our 2024 European Championship teams now, and there is plenty to talk about.

Day 3 started with the Netherlands coming from behind to defeat Poland. Adam Buksa opened the scoring, but goals by Cody Gakpo and Wout Weghorst completed the comeback.

Denmark and Slovenia played out a 1-1 draw. The biggest moment of the match came in the 17th minute when Christian Eriksen opened the scoring.

Three years on from his near-fatal cardiac arrest, it’s wonderful to see the playmaker still performing at a high level.

The day finished with a fairly uneventful 1-0 win for England against Serbia. Jude Bellingham’s early header was the difference, with the only other chance of note being a Harry Kane header that was tipped onto the crossbar.

Standout Performer – Jude Bellingham

Yes, he’s been heaped with praise all season. No, there isn’t anything we can say about him that hasn’t already been said. But, to be fair, Bellingham has fully earned all the plaudits over the last year.

The youngster was the shining light in an otherwise flat England performance. His header from Bukayo Saka’s deflected cross gave the Three Lions the win in their opener.

Meanwhile, his ability on the ball was on display for all to see. He drove his side forward on multiple occasions, with Serbia having to resort to tactical fouling to stop the Real Madrid man.

The nine-figure summer signing has already racked up an impressive CV at Madrid, accumulating 23 goals and lifting the Champions League and La Liga trophies.

If he can add a standout Euro 2024 campaign to his list, he will remain in with a huge chance of this year’s Ballon d’Or.

Poorest Player – Phil Foden

Another of 2023/24’s biggest stars was Phil Foden, winning the Premier League Player of the Season award while scoring 27 in all competitions. Unfortunately, he was not able to showcase his talents in last night’s match.

The 24-year-old was utterly anonymous on the left flank. Many people queried why he remained on the pitch for the full 90 minutes, while the far more impressive Bellingham and Saka had their evenings cut short.

Of course, Foden’s best position is not on the left. He has proven at club level to be far more effective through the middle, or even off the right.

However, in this area, he is competing with two of England’s best and most consistent performers. If he can’t recapture his club form at international level, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Manchester City man dropped for a more natural left-winger.

Talking Point – How do Netherlands stack up against the favourites?

There is plenty more to unpack from England’s match, but we’ve already said a lot about them. Instead, we’ll put more focus on one of the other big hitters of Europe – Netherlands.

The Oranje aren’t the force that they once were, swapping players such as Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie for Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo. But can they still make a deep dive into this tournament?

Their performance against Poland gave mixed results. Of course, the overwhelming positive is that they got the three points. And, had their finishing been sharper, they may have had things wrapped up much earlier.

However, the defence wasn’t as rock-solid as hoped. They conceded one early from a set piece and were indebted to goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen on a couple of occasions.

With the personnel in the Dutch backline, you’d expect them to tighten up at the back as they go on. But without a top-class forward in their side, their finishing may continue to be a concern. They’ll be an interesting team to watch.

Up Next

Three more games are on the way, beginning with Romania vs Ukraine. The former will be looking to reach the knockout stage for the first time since 2000, while the latter will be hoping to build on their quarter-final appearance last time out.

Next up is a clash between Belgium and Slovakia. The Red Devils have seen several members of their ‘golden generation’ come and go, with only a handful still standing. Do they still have enough to be contenders?

Speaking of contenders, France play in today’s final game. Arguably the strongest team in Europe, Les Bleus will hope to make a statement in their opener against Austria.

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