Jamie Carragher makes controversial England claim ahead of Euro 2024 semi-finals

Jamie Carragher has not been impressed by Euro 2024 hopefuls England (Picture: Getty)

Jamie Carragher has claimed Spain and France would rather play England than the Netherlands in the Euro 2024 final following the Three Lions’ continued struggles in Germany.

Gareth Southgate’s side have failed to hit top gear out in Germany and survived another huge scare in their quarter-final clash with Switzerland, winning on penalties to keep their Euros hopes alive.

England came out on top in just one of their three winnable group games before relying on Jude Bellingham’s brilliant free-kick to come back to beat Slovakia in the first knockout game.

As was the case against Slovakia, England fell behind against Switzerland through Breel Embolo’s 75th-minute tap in at the back post.

With the Three Lions once again failing to create much in the final third, it felt as though Embolo’s goal would prove to be the winner but Bukayo Saka equalised just five minutes later, cutting in from the right before rifling an effort in off the far post.

Neither team could find a winner in the next 40 minutes of action meaning the tie went to penalties and England kept their composure brilliantly, converting all five spot-kicks and seeing Jordan Pickford keep out Manuel Akanji’s tame effort.

Ex-Liverpool defender Carragher remains ‘baffled’ by England’s form at the Euros and says the semi-finalists on the other side of the draw – European heavyweights Spain and France – will be hoping to meet Southgate’s side in Sunday’s final.

Gareth Southgate’s side have stumbled into the semi-finals (Picture: Getty)

England’s semi-final opponents Netherlands came from behind to beat Turkey in an entertaining quarter-final in Berlin.

Ronald Koeman’s side finished third in Group D but were still handed the chance to go on a deep Euros run as one of the best third-place teams in the tournament with four points.

‘What baffles me is how so little in the England team is functioning correctly,’ Carragher, who won 38 international caps, told The Daily Telegraph.

‘To be positive, we can say they are holding up defensively. Again, the caveat is they are yet to play a side with any world-class forwards.

The Netherlands beat Turkey in an entertaining quarter-final (Picture: Getty)

‘The French and Spanish will want to play England in the final because they will be confident they will create the opportunities which others have not taken. 

‘England must find a top-level performance from somewhere if they are to leave Germany with what they came for. 

‘If England are to transform what we have seen so far into a tournament victory, not for the first time over the last few weeks they are leaving it very, very late to do so.’ 

On England’s stuttering form, Carragher added: ‘We can’t escape reality. We cannot dress it up any other way.

Spain knocked out hosts Germany (Picture: Getty)

‘England have been extremely lucky, first against Slovakia and now Switzerland. They are through to the last four despite performances, rather than because of them. 

‘Gareth Southgate will wake up on Sunday morning with more to ponder than is normal for any international manager who has just reached a semi-final. 

‘When he and his staff discuss the next team selection, they will have more questions than answers. 

‘Never mind the best England team, we are still none the wiser about the best formation. This is unprecedented territory for us because every other England side that played to this level would have flown home by now.’ 

Spain have arguably been the standout team at the European Championship and beat hosts Germany in extra-time to reach the semi-finals.

World Cup finalists France, meanwhile, defeated Portugal on penalties to move a step closer to the trophy.

The Euro 2024 semi-finals take place on Tuesday and Wednesday night, with Sunday’s final hosted at the Olympiastadion Berlin in the German capital.

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