England Beats Switzerland in Penalty Shootout to Reach Euro 2024 Semifinals

 England's Trent Alexander-Arnold scores during the penalty shootout during a quarterfinal match between England and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Duesseldorf, Germany, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP)
England's Trent Alexander-Arnold scores during the penalty shootout during a quarterfinal match between England and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Duesseldorf, Germany, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP)
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England Beats Switzerland in Penalty Shootout to Reach Euro 2024 Semifinals

 England's Trent Alexander-Arnold scores during the penalty shootout during a quarterfinal match between England and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Duesseldorf, Germany, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP)
England's Trent Alexander-Arnold scores during the penalty shootout during a quarterfinal match between England and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Duesseldorf, Germany, Saturday, July 6, 2024. (AP)

Add another chapter to England's tortuous history with penalty shootouts.

Three years on from losing the European Championship final on penalties, England's players radiated confidence as they beat Switzerland in a shootout to reach the semifinals of Euro 2024.

Trent Alexander-Arnold blasted the ball into the top corner for the winner as England swept all of its penalties to win the shootout 5-3 after a 1-1 draw in extra time on Saturday.

“The team showed a lot of character, a lot of belief, heart and spirit out there,” Alexander-Arnold told the BBC. “We knew it was going to be tight but whatever it takes, no matter what, we win and that’s all that matters.”

Benched following England’s first two Euro 2024 games, Alexander-Arnold “could have easily thought his tournament was done," England manager Gareth Southgate said. “I kept talking to him. He’s going to have moments, there’s still a big part to play.”

Bukayo Saka, whose penalty kick was saved to decide the final shootout in 2021, and who was racially abused on social media in the aftermath, also stepped up to score. The 22-year-old had also equalized earlier to ensure the game went to extra time.

The other shootout scorers were Cole Palmer and Jude Bellingham, 22 and 21 respectively, and Ivan Toney, who returned in January from an eight-month ban for breaching betting rules.

England was in the lead in the shootout after goalkeeper Jordan Pickford saved from Manuel Akanji, who took Switzerland's first penalty kick.

Southgate's own England career was defined by a semifinal shootout miss against Germany when England hosted the 1996 European Championship.

When he became manager in 2016, England hadn't won a shootout in 20 years. It's won three of four shootouts in Southgate's eight-year tenure as manager, but lost the most important one in the 2021 final.

England goes on to play the Netherlands in Dortmund on Wednesday for a spot in the final.

Switzerland, which has never reached the semifinals of a major tournament, exits the European Championship on penalties in the quarterfinals for the second time running after defeat to Spain three years ago. “I'm really sad for the players,” coach Murat Yakin said.

It was the second game in a row that England left it late to win, after beating Slovakia 2-1 in extra time in the last 16.

The quarterfinal went to extra time after England forward Saka scored with a shot off the post in the 80th minute to cancel out Breel Embolo's goal five minutes earlier for Switzerland. It was the first shot on target for England in what was otherwise a cagey and cautious performance from the 2021 runner-up.

The team's drab tactics have drawn criticism from fans, including some who threw plastic cups in Southgate's direction after a 0-0 group stage draw with Slovenia.

“When it's as personal as it's been in the last few weeks, on a human level it's quite difficult,” Southgate said on Saturday, going on to defend England's “streetwise” approach to winning games.

The Swiss had the better chances to win in extra time, including Xherdan Shaqiri hitting the frame of the goal direct from a corner and Zeki Amdouni forcing a save from Pickford in the 119th.

England was without captain and striker Harry Kane for the shootout after he collided with Southgate on the touchline while challenging for a ball and appeared to be hurt. He was replaced by Toney. Kane had cramp, Southgate said.

Taking charge of his 100th game, Southgate has now taken England to at least the semifinals in three of the four major tournaments on his watch.

“We've never been to a final outside of England, we've never won a Euros," Southgate said. “So there's two bits of history we'd like to create.”



Paris Police Sealing Off Seine River Ahead of Olympics Opening Ceremony

People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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Paris Police Sealing Off Seine River Ahead of Olympics Opening Ceremony

People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
People carry their bikes up a staircase to get around a security area closed off for the 2024 Summer Olympics, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Paris. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A special kind of iron curtain came down across central Paris on Thursday, with the beginning of an Olympic anti-terrorism perimeter along the banks of the River Seine sealing off a kilometers-long area to Parisians and tourists who hadn’t applied in advance for a pass.
The words on many lips were “QR code,” the pass that grants access beyond snaking metal barriers that delineate the security zone set up to protect the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony on July 26.
“I didn’t know it started today,” said Emmanuelle Witt, a 35-year-old communications freelancer who was stopped by police near the Alma bridge while biking across town. She desperately went on her phone to fill out the online form to get her QR code, unaware that the vetting process could take several days, The Associated Press reported.
Those with the precious code – either on their phones or printed out on pieces of paper – passed smoothly past police checkpoints at gaps in the barriers taller than most people.
Those without got mostly turned away – with no amount of grumbling and cajoling making officers budge.
“That’s too much, that’s over the top, that whole thing is a pain,” grumbled Nassim Bennamou, a delivery man who was denied access to the street leading to Notre Dame Cathedral on his scooter.
“Even the GPS is confused, I have no idea how I’m going to work today,” he added.
While authorities announced the code system last year and have been meeting with local residents for months to explain the restrictions, not everyone was aware. Officers patiently explained to visitors without the pass how to reach iconic Paris monuments without going through the restricted zone.
“We had no idea we needed a QR code,” said Takao Sakamoto, 55, who was denied access to the Eiffel Tower near the Bir Hakeim Metro station. Visiting from Japan with his wife, he took a photo of the tower from a distance, behind fences and police cars. “That will do,” Sakamoto remarked with despair.
On the other hand, visitors who were lucky enough to come across officers who leniently let them pass without QR codes and others who'd equipped themselves with them were treated to the sight of near-empty riverside boulevards that, in normal times, heave with traffic.
“There's no one around!” sang a happy cyclist on a street he had largely to himself. With police seemingly everywhere, another man walking past a riverside café with fewer than usual customers loudly quipped: “You can leave your money and cell phones on the tables, there's definitely no thieves!”
“It’s surreal, it really feels like we’re the only ones here,” said Sarah Bartnicka from Canada. Enjoying a morning jog with a friend, the 29-year-old took a selfie with a police officer on the deserted Iéna bridge to capture the moment.
Paris has repeatedly suffered deadly extremist attacks, most notably in 2015. Up to 45,000 police and gendarmes as well as 10,000 soldiers are being deployed for Olympic security.
“I understand why they’re doing this,” said Carla Money, a 64-year-old American who managed to pass the barriers with her family.
Some business owners inside the security zone grumbled that sharply reduced foot-fall would hurt their bottom line.
“They’ve locked me up like a prisoner," said Raymond Pignol. His restaurant, L'Auberge Café, near the Pont Neuf that spans the Seine, is just inside the metal fencing.
The perimeter went into effect early Thursday morning and will last through the ceremony. As an exception, Paris has decided to hold the opening of its first Games in a century on the river rather than in a stadium, like previous host cities. Most of the river security measures will be lifted after the show.
Officers were under instructions to be polite and patient as employees on their way to work and others dealt with the perimeter and the passes for the first time. But Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said that after the initial 24 hours of being accommodating, officers would apply the rules much more firmly, with no more looking the other way for those without QR codes.