England’s hopes of a first trophy in 53 years went up in smoke in calamitous fashion as dreadful defending allowed Holland to seal a 3-1 extra-time victory and progress to the inaugural Nations League final.
Disrupted preparation was followed by embarrassing fan disorder before Thursday’s semi-final in Guimaraes, where the Three Lions had looked set to seal their place in Sunday’s finale against Portugal and a shot at their first piece of major silverware since the 1966 World Cup.
Marcus Rashford’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by Matthijs De Ligt, but substitute Jesse Lingard sent England fans wild by coolly slotting home in the 83rd minute – a goal that only fleetingly had the country in dreamland.
Video assistant referee Francois Letexier ruled the goal out for the narrowest of offsides and Holland punished Gareth Southgate’s men as they suffered an extra-time semi-final loss for the second successive summer.
Croatia brought their World Cup journey to a crashing end last year and this time inexplicable dawdling by John Stones put Holland on course for victory.
The defender lost De Ligt for Holland’s leveller and then watched as Kyle Walker turned into his own net under pressure from Quincy Promes having inexplicably given away the ball.
The heartbreak did not stop there as Ross Barkley became the latest to overplay at the back, with his poor touch lapped up by Memphis Depay who squared for Promes to score.
It was a heartbreaking fourth successive semi-final loss that underlines the work still required for Southgate, who now faces the unenviable task of rousing the troops for a third-place play-off against Switzerland on Sunday.
Cristiano Ronaldo made a stunning comeback to the Portugal set up, scoring a hat-trick as his side withstood a huge moment of VAR controversy to beat Switzerland 3-1 and reach the Nations League final on home soil in Porto.
Ronaldo’s free-kick opened the scoring midway through the first-half, but the Swiss levelled when the referee overturned his decision to award Portugal a penalty to give a spot-kick at the other end after a VAR review, and Ricardo Rodriguez levelled.
The game seemed destined to head for extra-time, but as ever Ronaldo stepped up to be the hero with two expert finishes in the final two minutes.
Real Madrid target Christian Eriksen has indicated that he wants to leave Tottenham in order to join a bigger club.
In an interview with Danish magazine Ekstra Bladet, Eriksen revealed that while he could be persuaded to stay in north London if offered a new contract, a new challenge is his preferred option.
The 27-year-old Denmark midfielder has only one year left on his current deal and is seeking a resolution to his future with the Champions League runners-up this summer.
“I feel that I am a place in my career where I might want to try something new,” Eriksen said.
“I have the wildest and deepest respect for everything that has happened in Tottenham, but I have also said that I would like to try something new.
“I hope there will be a clarification during the summer. That’s the plan. But in football you do not know when clarification comes. It can happen anytime.
“Everyone wants it as soon as possible, but in football things take time. It depends on (Tottenham chairman) Daniel Levy. And another club has to come in.
“Or I have to sit down at the table and negotiate a new contract. You can’t set a date yourself.
“There are not many points that Tottenham cannot meet. If I have to go, then hopefully it will be a step up.”
Eriksen has been a star performer for Tottenham since his £12.5million arrival from Ajax in 2013 and is reportedly a target for Real Madrid.
“It requires Real Madrid to call Tottenham and say they want Christian. And they have not done so yet, as far as I know,” he added.
“It is hard. It depends on the possibilities. If nothing pops up that is more exciting, then why not stay in Tottenham? If I then sign a new contract, it depends on the conditions.”
Provided by Press Association Sport