Carragher claims France, Spain ‘will want to play England’ in Euro 2024 final as FIVE Southgate questions linger

Jamie Carragher remains ‘baffled’ by how England are playing at Euro 2024 and has explained why he thinks semi-finalists France and Spain will be hoping Gareth Southgate’s side are the team they end up facing in the final.

England beat Switzerland 5-3 on penalties on Saturday to reach the semi-finals of the European Championship after a 1-1 draw in normal time. Some viewers thought the under-pressure Southgate set his side up better than before, but others still spotted the same issues that have been overshadowing England’s campaign so far.

There were only three shots on target by England all game, and despite some tactical tweaks, things still looked fairly out of sync in the final third.

Yet Southgate has got his side to a second consecutive Euros semi-final and will now be aiming to make that two finals in a row.

Nevertheless, former England defender Carragher has cut through the positivity to explain how his country are ‘defying football logic’ with their advancement to this stage.

Carragher told the Daily Telegraph: “As was the case with the Portuguese eight years ago, England are defying football logic to still be in the conversation. It is highly unusual for a strong nation to play so consistently poorly in a major tournament and reach the semi-finals.”

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The ex-Liverpool man elaborated: “Relieved as I and millions of others were to see Trent Alexander-Arnold convert the winning spot-kick against Switzerland, there is also an overriding sense of disbelief that England are in this position.

“We cannot escape reality. We cannot dress it up any other way. 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.”

While Southgate’s changes have been few and far between at the tournament, even within individual games, Carragher believes there are still as many as five unanswered questions about the best selection the England manager could make.

He explained: “There are dilemmas all over the pitch, starting with the set-up. Should Southgate persist with three at the back? If so, is Luke Shaw ready to replace Kieran Trippier? Will Marc Guehi come back for Ezri Konsa?

“What about Cole Palmer? What more must he do to earn a starting position when the attacking players who have kept their places for five consecutive matches are not delivering as a unit? England have been over-reliant on sensational moments from Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka.”

France or Spain ‘confident’ about England final

England now have a semi-final against the Netherlands to prepare for, while France and Spain will go head to head on the other side of the draw.

And Carragher insists England would be the preferred opponent for either finalist on current form.

He concluded: “What baffles me is how so little in the England team is functioning correctly.

“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 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.”

Whether England even get to the final will depend on how they do against the Netherlands on Wednesday, after the Dutch came from behind to beat Turkey in Saturday’s other quarter-final.