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England suffer early blow for Holland clash with Dortmund’s ‘Yellow Wall’ set to turn orange in Euro 2024 semi-final

THE Dutch are expecting up to 80,000 Oranje fans in Dortmund ahead of their Euros semi-final with England on Wednesday.

Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands came from behind to beat Turkey 2-1 in Berlin and set up a tantalising clash with the Three Lions in a bid to reach the final on July 14.

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Netherlands supporters, seen here against Turkey in the semis at Berlin, are set to change the ‘wall’ colour of Dortmund’s famous south stand[/caption]
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The Signal Iduna Park is most famous for its ‘Yellow Wall’[/caption]

The famous Oranje fans have produced some of the tournament’s great sights on their road to the semis – swarming German cities with their impressive side-to-side chant.

It will be no different in Dortmund.

The Dutch FA has 8,000 tickets for the match against England at the 80,000-capacity Signal Iduna Park.

Uefa has also sold an extra 1,5000 tickets to Dutch fans.

But Dutch authorities are estimating between 75,000 and 80,000 will make the short trip across the border to Germany.

Oranje supporters can be in Dortmund in less than two hours if they travel by car from Eindhoven.

Speaking after the victory over the Turks, boss Koeman said: “For the whole nation it’s something special.

“We’re a small nation and to play in the semis with England means we’re really proud.”

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A full south stand is said to scare opponents with ‘unbelievable power’[/caption]

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Defender Stefan de Vrij – who cancelled out Samet Akaydin’s first half opener before Mert Muldur’s own goal – added: “The fans are very important for us.

“It was a nice atmosphere. We have seen the pictures from home and the videos in the stands. It’s great to see the Oranje wall.

“It’s nice to see that football can bring a country together.”

The famous “Yellow Wall” – of course changing colour on Wednesday thanks to Netherlands supporters – is the core of Signal Iduna Park’s aura.

The Südtribüne  – south stand – was built in 1974 and holds 25,000 in one of football’s most intimidating structures when full.

Former Dortmund striker Norbert Dickel summed up what he calls its “unbelievable power”.

He said: “Many opposing players are afraid of these people and this tremendous noise.

“When the game starts and the south stand sings, it’s very special.”

However, England could turn the tables on the Dutch – when it comes to a secret weapon inside the dressing rooms.

Jude Bellingham hailed ex-Netherlands striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who is now in Gareth Southgate’s backroom staff, as vital to the There Lions’ perfect penalty record in beating Switzerland 5-3 in Saturday’s shootout.

Bellingham, one of the five emphatic spot-kick takers, told 5 Live: “I was really confident in my preparation and the things I’d talked through with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

“He’s stepped up for us massively. It’s the work he does behind closed doors with the lads willing to take on that information that put us in those situations to be able to win.”

England player ratings: Saka the saviour for Three Lions but subbed Kane stuggles in penalties thriller vs Switzerland

BUKAYO SAKA showed huge courage as he dug England out of a hole and through on penalties against Switzerland, writes Tom Barclay.

The Three Lions looked to be going out when Breel Embolo had put Swiss ahead on 75 minutes.

But Arsenal star Saka dragged England back into five minutes later with a stunning effort off the post.

To penalties it went – just like it did between these two sides five years ago in the Nations League.

And just like back then, Jordan Pickford made a save – repelling the Swiss’s first effort from Manuel Akanji.

England were perfect from then on, with Cole Palmer, Jude Bellignam, Saka, Ivan Toney and finally Trent Alexander-Arnold sending the Three Lions into the semi-final.

Here’s how the players rated…

Jordan Pickford: 7

Had his heart in his mouth when Xherdan Shaqiri’s corner deep into extra-time hit the post and bar, but then pulled off a smart stop to take it to penalties.

Saved Manuel Akanji’s first spot-kick by diving low to his left.

Kyle Walker: 6

Spent most of the game on the right side of a three which meant he could not get forward. Embolo got in front of him for Switzerland’s opener. Won the toss so the penalties were taken in front of the England fans.

John Stones: 6

Crisper passing in the first half, much better than his sloppy Slovakia display, but his deflection on Dan Ndoye’s cross diverted it to Embolo.

Ezri Konsa: 6

Was decent in the first half of his maiden start at a major tournament but, like the rest of the team, went into his shell after the break.

Kieran Trippier: 6

Had been expected to play right wing-back but was once again on the left.

Solid defensively but, as has been the case throughout the tournament, offered little going forward on his unnatural side.

Declan Rice: 7

Anticipated, and subsequently, won a number of 50-50s at the base of England’s midfield.

It was his decoy run that opened up the space for Saka to find the corner, before his 25-yard wonderstrike was denied by a flying Yann Sommer save in extra-time.

Kobbie Mainoo: 6

Some decent drives forward from midfield. Looked as if he would fire home an opener just before the break after

Bukayo Saka’s nice cutback, but was denied by Granit Xhaka’s excellent block.

Bukayo Saka: 8 and STAR MAN

Did not play at left wing-back as expected, but was England’s most dangerous attacking player throughout – and none more so when he came to the rescue with his 80th-minute leveller which flew in off the post.

Showed huge courage in the shoot-out as he stroked home his penalty beautifully, three years on from missing in the last Euros final.

Jude Bellingham: 6

Produced a few graceful dribbles which showcased his quality in the first half but pretty quiet.

Looked knackered but showed big cojones with his low penalty.

Phil Foden: 6

Admitted before the game that his central role would suit him better and it seemed to in the first 20 minutes, but faded after that.

Harry Kane: 4

This system just does not suit him. He needs runners, but does not look like he is going to get them.

Just could not get into the game and was subbed out of it in extra-time, seconds after he was sent crashing into his manager on the touchline.

SUBS

Cole Palmer (for Konsa, 78): 7

One of three players to come on in reaction to Switzerland’s opener – why did it take so long, Gareth? Dispatched England’s first spot-kick with aplomb.

Luke Shaw (for Trippier, 78): 6

First minutes of football since February, slotting in on the left side of back three as Southgate went for broke.

Eberechi Eze (for Mainoo, 78): 6

Carved out a nice bit of space for himself in the dying moments but fired wide.

Ivan Toney (For Kane, 109): 7

It was no surprise to see him come with the prospect of penalties on the horizon – what was more of a shock was that it was for spot-kick maestro Kane. Was knocked over in the box right at the end of extra-time, but nothing was given. Confident penalty.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (for Foden, 115): 7

Thrown on late into extra-time. Belted home his spot-kick to win it.

Gareth Southgate: 4

The adjusted back three system worked to a certain extent, but still the approach looked to be to keep it tight and rely on a moment of magic.

Saka provided that for the leveller, but given the talent at his disposal, it seemed very limited.

Took an age to make a change – prompted only by Switzerland going ahead. But got his subs right when it came to the penalty shoot-out.

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