Soccer-England riding knockout experience, says Kane

Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - England Training - Blankenhain, Germany - July 9, 2024 England's Harry Kane with teammates during training REUTERS/Lee Smith

DORTMUND, Germany (Reuters) - Harry Kane says England can draw on the experience they have gained in reaching the quarter-finals and beyond in their last four tournaments when they take on the Netherlands on Wednesday, with a second successive Euros final there for the taking.

After shocking performances at the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Euros, England under Gareth Southgate reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, the Euro 2020 final, the World Cup quarters in 2022 and are now in the Euro 2024 semis against a Dutch team in the Euros last four for the first time in 20 years.

Kane has straddled both those eras, reduced to taking corners in the depressing round of 16 defeat by Iceland in 2016 and then captaining his country through the most sustained period of tournament success in their history.

"I think you just use the past experiences to help you," Kane told journalists on Tuesday. "We've got a lot of players who have experienced big games at international level and big games at club level and we'll use all that experience.

"Over the course of your career you learn how to prepare in the best way possible and to control the nerves and control the excitement.

"During the game you need the experienced players, you lean on the leaders in the team who have been there and done that to help the players who haven't but, ultimately, it's about going out there and taking the opportunity with both hands.

"We have the chance to reach back-to-back finals in the European Championship, which would be an amazing achievement, and we have the opportunity to do that."

For all his upbeat words, Kane has been far from his best at the tournament in Germany, scoring twice but generally struggling to come up with any sort of strikes on goal and labouring in his efforts to get into dangerous positions.

He said, though, that part of his role has been to disrupt opposition defences to make space for others - not that anyone else in the team has been notably exploiting it in a series of games of precious few meaningful attacks.

"It's the rhythm of the game," Kane said. "Maybe Jude (Bellingham) or Phil (Foden) might end up in the middle and I might drift out to the left.

"As a striker, you want to try to give as much space as possible to your midfielders and your number 10s and then there are times when you want to drag defenders out into spaces they might want to come to.

"There will be times tomorrow when I need to be more of a focal point and be in the box more and there will be times when I'll drop deep and try to make it uncomfortable for defenders."

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ken Ferris)

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