Home Sports Harry Kane reveals he ‘knew’ Bukayo Saka would step up when England ‘needed it most’ to exorcise the ghosts of his Euro 2020 penalty miss against Switzerland

Harry Kane reveals he ‘knew’ Bukayo Saka would step up when England ‘needed it most’ to exorcise the ghosts of his Euro 2020 penalty miss against Switzerland

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Kane said that
  • Bukayo Saka shined as England beat Switzerland in the Euro 2024 quarter-finals
  • Man of the match Saka exorcised the demons of the Euro 2020 final penalty shootout
  • Listen to It’s all just beginning! EUROS DAILYBukayo Saka was the shining light for England against Switzerland, it was nice to see him score his penalty too.

Still just 22, out of his position as a makeshift full-back and with the demons of a missed penalty in the Euro 2020 final hanging over him, Bukayo Saka could have been forgiven for cowering at the occasion.

But despite the demands placed on him, the Arsenal star rose to the occasion against Switzerland and helped guide England to the semi-finals.

Saka scored a superb equaliser in the 80th minute after Breel Embolo had given the Swiss the lead in the 75th minute.

Three years after his penalty miss at Wembley against Italy sealed England’s disappointment in the final of last year’s European Championship, he stepped up to calmly take his penalty in the shoot-out. He was rightly awarded the man of the match award as the outstanding English player of the night.

England captain Harry Kane, who had another quiet night against the Swiss, acknowledged how outstanding Saka’s performance had been.

Kane said he “knew” Saka would feel comfortable taking a penalty despite “what happened in the past” during the EURO 2020 final, when Saka missed the decisive spot-kick to give Italy victory.

Kane gives Saka a helping hand, who caused 'problems throughout the game' for the Swiss with his pace

Kane gives Saka a helping hand, who caused ‘problems throughout the game’ for the Swiss with his pace

Saka, England's 'starter' against Switzerland, scores his goal 'fully deserved' according to Kane

Saka, England’s ‘starter’ against Switzerland, scores his goal ‘fully deserved’ according to Kane

“What a performance, the whole game,” Kane said. “He played in a position he’d played in before, but wasn’t used to. He was our real outlet on the ball, causing them problems throughout the game.”

Kane added: ‘He scored the goal he deserved with a fantastic finish, he got us back into the game when we needed it most. And without the ball, the work he put in, the effort he put in. The blocks, the tackles, right up until the 120th minute.

“And then he stepped up like he did. I know the mentality he has and I knew he would feel comfortable in that situation despite what happened in the past. It was a fantastic night for him and he deserved it.”

Once again, Gareth Southgate and Kane were rescued late on by one of England’s young stars after coming within minutes of being eliminated in normal time by a team significantly lower in the world rankings.

Saka’s sublime 80th-minute goal came just one round after Jude Bellingham’s world-class overhead kick equalised in stoppage time against Slovakia.

The 30-year-old England captain, who had already left the field at the end of the match, described the second equalising goal at the end as “unbelievable”.

‘It was a rollercoaster of emotions to come back after being 1-0 down so late in the game.

‘We did what we’ve been doing throughout the tournament and found a way to get through.

'What a performance': Kane praised man of the match and goalscorer Saka

Saka plays for the crowd after his outstanding performance.

Bukayo Saka was the standout player of the match with his late goal that forced extra time.

“The more time we spend in competition and the way we do it, the more and more we become convinced that we are finding ways to win. We are enjoying it, we are enjoying the journey.”

Saka’s goal and penalty helped England reach their third semi-final in four attempts under Southgate.

And the chance against Holland in the semi-final to be one step closer to lifting the title that Kane and his team are savouring.

“We’re proud to be in another semi-final because we know how much it means to everyone watching from home. We want to make everyone proud and it will be no different on Wednesday.”

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