Once again, it wasn’t straightforward, but Gareth Southgate’s side are into the semi-finals of Euro 2024. Re-live the action with the best facts, stats and Opta data in our England vs Switzerland stats page.

With a perfect five out of five when it mattered, England overcame another penalty-shootout scare to beat Switzerland and progress to the Euro 2024 semi-finals.

There hadn’t been much excitement to England’s tournament beforehand, but in the most dramatic circumstances in Düsseldorf, they banished their shootout demons to make it into the last four.

Coming into the game, England had generated an average of just 0.93 xG per game prior to this quarter-final, even with extra-time against Slovakia. Only six teams had a lower average xG than them, while their less illustrious opponents here, Switzerland, were generating 1.34 xG per game.

Fans who had become frustrated with four tepid performances up to this point were buoyed by the teamsheet being released, which seemingly confirmed rumours from during the week that Gareth Southgate would switch to a back three for this game.

For many, the possibilities that the unknown of a back three provided were far, far more palatable than any chance of a repeat of what had previously been seen in Germany.

But England hadn’t started a game with a back three since facing Germany in September 2022 – 24 matches ago – so any switch in formation didn’t come without risk.

When the game kicked off, England had indeed changed to three at the back, but not in quite the way most had imagined – and many had hoped.

Bukayo Saka was in an unfamiliar right wing-back position, while Kieran Trippier – the right-footed makeshift left-back who had been the subject of much of the fans’ ire – remained on the left.

Saka, however, was clearly under instruction to get high up the pitch whenever possible and to take up the kind of positions in which he can be so dangerous, rather than on the left where many thought he could provide some balance to the team. Southgate’s decision would go on to be vindicated.

Within the first half hour, Saka had already completed three successful dribbles – as many as he had managed inside 90 minutes in any prior game at Euro 2024 – and was by a distance England’s most threatening attacker. There would be more and greater contributions to come from the Arsenal man.

The move to a back three wasn’t a defensive one by any stretch. England set out to play high up the pitch, dominate possession, and press with intensity – perhaps more than in any other game at this tournament. Inside the first half hour, they had won the ball in the final third as many times (three) as they did in 90 minutes against Slovenia.

While Southgate didn’t cave in to pressure to play Saka on the left, he did decide it was now time to get Phil Foden into more central positions than in previous games. He was given the freedom of the pitch by Southgate and popped up all over the pitch in the first half.

phil foden touches first half vs Switzerland

Foden and England’s other talented attackers had been encouraged to express themselves and make life uncomfortable for their opponents. At the break, Switzerland left wing-back Michel Aebischer had been dribbled past five times – as many as any other player had been beaten over a full Euro 2024 match.

One issue that resulted from the freedom those players were given was the large distances they had to cover on the occasions when the Swiss did manage to get up the pitch. England dropped back into a 5-4-1 shape, with Jude Bellingham on the left of midfield, Foden on the right and Saka all the way back alongside Kyle Walker in defence. With Harry Kane also dropping, England’s transition to their in-possession shape when they did win the ball wasn’t as smooth as it might be, and they struggled to break quickly enough to get many sights of the Swiss goal. At half-time, England had had five shots worth a total of just 0.28 xG but hadn’t hit the target once.

They were, however, still very solid, and there were even fewer noteworthy events at the other end of the pitch, with Switzerland generating just 0.08 xG in the first half. It meant this was just the second of the last 69 knockout matches at the European Championship to have seen no shots on target in the first half (along with Croatia vs Portugal in 2016).

The hope for England was that their opponents, who had been forced to withstand long periods without the ball, would show some more attacking intent after the break and space might open up as a result.

They did indeed come out after the break looking to attack more – they took just 12 second-half minutes to match their first-half shot total (two) – but the result wasn’t more attacking opportunities for England.

Murat Yakin’s side are a better team in their own right than many give them credit for, and as they pushed forward and penned England back in their own third, it felt like the momentum of the match had swung. Southgate’s side struggled to get out against an effective press, and it was the Swiss who were looking more likely to score.

England vs Switzerland momentum

The game was being played for long periods deep in England territory and the pressure eventually told when, after a well-worked Swiss move, Dan Ndoye crossed via a deflection off John Stones’ outstretched toe for Breel Embolo to tap in at the back post.

Southgate had to respond. England looked out of ideas. It was time for everyone but the England manager and his players to panic. They hadn’t had a shot in half an hour – since Saka had one in the second minute of the second half. The England manager made a triple substitution, introducing Luke Shaw for the first time at Euro 2024, Eberechi Eze and Cole Palmer.

Less than two minutes later, they were level.

With Shaw and Eze stretching the play on the left, the ball was switched out to Saka on the right. The added presence on the left brought Saka enough extra space to cut in and unleash a perfect arrow of a shot from the edge of the box that skidded into the net off the far post. England were out of jail thanks to the player that many had been calling to play on the opposite side of the pitch.

It meant that for the fourth game out of five at Euro 2024, England had scored with their first shot on target. This one, like Bellingham’s equaliser against Slovakia, sent the game to extra-time.

Maybe this was to be expected; 73% of England’s knockout games at the Euros (since 1980) have now gone to extra-time.

Saka had become the third Arsenal player to score for England at the Euros (after Tony Adams in 1988 and Theo Walcott in 2012), and Declan Rice came close to becoming the fourth when he had a shot from distance turned around the post acrobatically by Yann Sommer.

England produced very little of note after that, and in the end they were the ones hanging on. Xherdan Shaqiri hit the woodwork with an audacious effort direct from a corner, and Fabian Schär and Silvan Widmer wasted chances from promising positions. England held out, though, and another England knockout game was sent to penalties.

England vs Switzerland xg race

It was what many fans would have been dreading. Heading into the shootout, England had both the worst win rate (20% – 1/5) and worst conversion rate (69% – 18/26) of teams to have contested more than one shootout at the Euros. They had lost more shootouts (seven) at Euros or World Cups than any other nation.

But this team aren’t scarred by past failures from the spot. Jordan Pickford saved from Manuel Akanji, and then Palmer, Bellingham, Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold all hit perfect spot-kicks to win the shootout and send England into the semi-finals.

It wasn’t a perfect performance overall and on a different day Switzerland might have nicked it in normal time. But it was an improvement and the nature of the win made it a massive step in the right direction.

And for Southgate to have done it while ignoring the outside noise, sticking to his guns and keeping Saka, who had missed a penalty in the Euro 2020 final, in his best position, was vindication of the finest kind for the England manager.

Our Opta match centre delivers you all the England vs Switzerland stats from their Euro 2024 quarter-final clash in Düsseldorf.

The match centre below includes team and player stats, expected goals data, passing networks, an Opta chalkboard and more. It gives you everything you need to do your own post-match analysis.

Underneath the match centre you can find the official Opta stats on the game as well. 

England vs Switzerland: Post-Match Facts

  • England have won just four penalty shootouts in their history but two of them have come against Switzerland, in 2019 in the UEFA Nations League and tonight at Euro 2024.
  • England have reached the UEFA Euro semi-finals in consecutive tournaments for the first time. Indeed, since the group stage was introduced in 1980, the Three Lions had only got to that stage once before the appointment of Gareth Southgate, doing so at Euro 96 with Southgate playing in every game that tournament.
  • Switzerland have now been eliminated in all five of their major tournament quarter-final appearances: the 1934, 1938 and 1954 World Cups, and Euro 2020 and 2024.
  • For just the second time in their 10th shootout at a major tournament (World Cup/Euros), England scored every single one of their penalties in the shootout (5/5), also doing so against Spain at Euro 96 (4/4).
  • Since Euro 96, England have played 11 knockout matches at the European Championship and eight of those have gone to extra-time, including the last four in a row.
  • England scored with their first shot on target in the 80th minute, with Bukayo Saka becoming the third Arsenal player to score for the Three Lions at a Euros tournament, along with Tony Adams in 1988 and Theo Walcott in 2012.
  • There wasn’t a single shot on target in the first half of the game, with this the only game across the last two UEFA Euros tournaments that hasn’t had a shot on target in the first 45 minutes.
  • Breel Embolo scored his fifth goal at a major tournament for Switzerland – only only Xherdan Shaqiri (10) and Josef Hügi (6) have more for the Swiss across the World Cup/Euros.
  • Fabian Schär received his eighth yellow card at a major tournament for Switzerland in this match. He now has the joint most yellow cards across World Cup and Euro tournaments, along with Giorgos Karagounis, Michael Ballack and Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • The starting XIs of England and Switzerland had a combined total of 197 Euros appearances prior to this match, the most across the starting line-ups of both teams in a Euros match in history.
  • Jude Bellingham won his 34th cap for England, with all caps coming while playing for non-British nations (24 for Borussia Dortmund, 10 for Real Madrid). Only David Beckham (55) and Owen Hargreaves (39) have won more England caps while playing for non-British clubs.

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