Substitute Jill Scott scored the headed winner four minutes from the end of extra time as England's women beat the Netherlands 2-1 in Tampere, Finland, to take their place in the UEFA Women's EURO final for the first time for 25 years.
Scott, who plays for Everton and whose nickname is 'Crouch' because she has adopted the Tottenham Hotspur striker's robotic celebration, bundled the ball past the grasp of Dutch goalkeeper Loes Geurts from close range.
It means England will contest the final on Thursday in Helsinki against either Germany or Norway, who battle it out in the second semi-final tomorrow.
England, whose only other appearance in the final came in the inaugural tournament in 1984 when they lost to Sweden, deserved the victory after a match they dominated. It was a semi-final in which chances and goalmouth action were at a premium, a contrast between England's attacking flair and Dutch defensive solidity.
England enjoyed most of the possession and the highlight of the first half was one slalom run from Kelly Smith, complete with Johan Cruyff-like spin, which ended with a right-foot shot that cannoned back off a defender.
England coach Hope Powell threw on Karen Carney for Sue Smith at half-time and urged her players to step up the pace. It worked, Eniola Aluko surging into the Dutch penalty area after 62 minutes to lay back a precise pass for Smith to sweep a left-foot shot into the bottom corner. It was Smith's second goal of the tournament.
The lead was to last just three minutes, however, as sloppy defending in England's ranks allowed Manon Melis to cross for Marlous Pieete who fired home a snap shot past goalkeeper Rachel Brown for the equaliser. Holland survived two hand ball appeals against captain Daphne Koster and Petra Hogewoning in the last ten minutes of normal time as England pressed forward.
And England should have gone ahead at the start of extra time when Carney worked her way to the by-line and crossed, only to have Lianne Sanderson contrive to strike the crossbar with what should have been an easy tap-in. Scott, however, popped up just in time to spare Sanderson's embarrassment and set up a potentially historic final.
Smith, who was named player of the match, said: "We're absolutely delighted. We're thrilled to be in the final. I thought it was a great team performance by us.
"Credit to Holland, they made it very difficult for us. We knew how they were going to set up and at times it was frustrating for us with them having ten players behind the ball, but our patience showed."