Trent Alexander-Arnold sent England into the Euro 2024 semi-finals after Jordan Pickford proved the hero in a 5-3 penalty shoot-out victory over Switzerland following a 1-1 draw in Dusseldorf.

Gareth Southgate's side suffered shoot-out heartbreak in the final of the last European Championship edition but banished those demons on Saturday.

Pickford denied Switzerland's first penalty from Manuel Akanji, with England – notorious for their penalty struggles – remaining perfect from 12 yards as Alexander-Arnold converted the decisive spot-kick.

Breel Embolo had earlier opened the scoring late in the second half but Bukayo Saka levelled soon after, before Pickford's decisive save set up a last-four clash with either the Netherlands or Turkiye on Wednesday.

With Southgate reverting to a three-man defence that brought so much success at previous international tournaments, England improved from the off but lacked a cutting edge.

Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden were allowed the freedom of Dusseldorf Arena in the early stages, while Saka had the beating of Michel Aebischer whenever he pleased.

Saka dribbled past the Swiss wing-back five times in the first half, the most one player has beaten another in a single match at this tournament.

Yet for all of the Three Lions' promise in attack, they failed to make it count as Kobbie Mainoo came closest, only to see the ball taken off his toes by Granit Xhaka.

Both sides failed to register a shot on target in the opening half, but Embolo only needed five minutes after the interval to test Pickford having turned Ezri Konsa.

Switzerland continued to tighten their grip on the contest, with Aebischer wasting a glorious opportunity as the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the area.

Murat Yakin's side snatched their deserved reward in the 75th minute, though, as Dan Ndoye's teasing delivery slipped past the stretching John Stones for Embolo to slide in the opener.

That Swiss joy was short-lived, however, as the introduction of Luke Shaw, Cole Palmer and Eberechi Eze sparked England into life just five minutes after falling behind.

Declan Rice offloaded to his right before Saka was afforded too much room to cut inside and curl a left-footed effort from the perimeter of the area in via the help of Yann Sommer's right-hand post.

England threatened to make another fast start in extra time, as they did in the last 16 against Slovakia, but Rice saw his attempt saved by Yann Sommer.

Yet Switzerland would go closest in the additional 30 minutes when Xherdan Shaqiri's audacious corner-kick struck the woodwork, before Zeki Amdouni fizzed straight at Pickford, who proved the hero shortly after.

Palmer slotted in the opening penalty before Pickford guessed the right way, diving low to his left to push away Akanji's timid spot-kick from the Swiss' first effort.

Both England and Switzerland converted every attempt from then on, yet Pickford's smart stop paved the way for Alexander-Arnold to whip into the top-left corner and send England into the last four.

England show nerves of steel on the big stage

The Three Lions' record on penalties at major tournaments is well known, but this is not a normal England team of yesteryear.

England had lost more shoot-outs than any other nation across the World Cup and Euros (seven), while at this competition had both the worst win rate (20% – 1/5) and the worst conversion rate (69% – 18/26).

Yet for just the second time in their 10th shoot-out at a major tournament, England scored every single one of their penalties (5/5), also doing so against Spain at Euro 1996 (4/4).

This win also marks another milestone for England, who have now won 50 of their 117 matches at major international tournaments, becoming only the sixth European nation to reach that half-century milestone.

Switzerland out in the cruellest of circumstances

It was yet more heartache for Switzerland, who bowed out of the competition in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Embolo scored his fifth goal at a major tournament for Switzerland – only Xherdan Shaqiri (10) and Josef Hugi (six) have more for the Swiss across the World Cup and Euros.

Switzerland have now been eliminated in all five of their major tournament quarter-final appearances: at the 934, 1938 and 1954 World Cups, and Euro 2020 and 2024.

However, Yakin's side have proved they have the ability to compete with the best, and they will be confident of going further in the major tournaments to come.