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Has Gareth Southgate got his subs right at Euro 2024? Stats reveal how England fare against their rivals after Cole Palmer and Ollie Watkins helped Three Lions reach the final

  • Ollie Watkins and Cole Palmer combined to ensure England reached the final
  • Gareth Southgate is regularly criticised for his late use of substitutions
  • Listen to It’s all about to begin! EUROS DAILY: How England is on the verge of becoming immortal

Gareth Southgate came in for a lot of criticism during his time as England manager, but fans and pundits were particularly frustrated by his use of substitutions.

It largely stems from England’s defeat in the Euro 2020 final to Italy. The general perception is that the Three Lions reacted too negatively after taking the lead and failed to respond to Italy’s changes.

That criticism continued to haunt Southgate in the years that followed and became a bone of contention in Germany’s knockout stages, with England now having to play two periods of extra time to reach the final.

Ivan Toney was particularly furious at being brought on in injury time to change the game against Slovakia, when only ten countries had been slower to make substitutions for the quarter-finals than the Three Lions.

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But on Wednesday night it was two substitutes who ensured England reached the final. Ollie Watkins was brought on by Cole Palmer in the 91st minute. Is Southgate good at substitutions now?

Gareth Southgate has been criticised for his late substitutions during his time in charge

Late introductions Ollie Watkins (left) and Cole Palmer (right) combined for Wednesday's winner

Late introductions Ollie Watkins (left) and Cole Palmer (right) combined for Wednesday’s winner

The numbers seem to indicate so: no country at the European Championship has had more goals, successful penalty kicks in shoot-outs or assists from substitutes than England, surprisingly.

Watkins’ late goal was the first by an England substitute at the European Championship. Germany topped the list with four, followed by the Netherlands and Spain (three) and Turkey (two). Eight others were tied with England (one).

However, in terms of assists, the Three Lions are back on two, with Palmer’s on Wednesday joining Toney’s nod to Harry Kane for the winning goal against Slovakia in extra time in the round of 16.

Austria, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands also managed a pair of substitute assists, while Croatia and Turkey had one each.

England top the list of goals scored in the shoot-outs with three successful penalties, while France also scored the same number.

Switzerland have two, having been part of the same 12-yard showdown as the Three Lions, with Manuel Akanji’s miss seeing them knocked out in the quarter-finals.

Palmer, Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold all scored from the penalty spot, while Bukayo Saka banished memories of Euro 2020 and Jude Bellingham performed with panache as England fired all five goals past Yann Sommer.

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Of course, not every team has had a shootout, but that doesn’t mean Southgate’s substitutions haven’t had an effect.

Impact of changes on Euro 2024

Most sub-goals at Euro 2024:

Germany 4

Netherlands, Spain 3

Turkey 2

Albania, Austria, England, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Serbia, Switzerland, Ukraine 1

Most sub-assists at Euro 2024:

Austria, England, Germany, Spain, Netherlands 2

Croatia, Turkey 1

Goals for sub-shootouts at Euro 2024:

England, France 3

Switzerland 2

England dramatically defeated the Netherlands 2-1 to secure a place in their second consecutive European Championship final

England dramatically defeated the Netherlands 2-1 to secure a place in their second consecutive European Championship final

Ivan Toney (right) assisted the winning goal in the match against Slovakia after coming off the bench

Ivan Toney (right) assisted the winning goal in the match against Slovakia after coming off the bench

It’s important to note that Saka, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford missed their penalties in the 2021 final after being brought on in extra time with little time to prepare, suggesting Southgate may have learned that lesson.

The numbers show that the arrival of Toney and Palmer has been a very useful move for Southgate. Both players scored in the shoot-out and provided an assist, so their contribution has paid off.

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