Calmed down yet? didn’t think so…
After possibly the most tense 120 minutes of any England fans life, the Three Lions came away from their semi-final with Denmark victorious, with a extra-time Harry Kane penalty securing the win and booking their place in an international tournament final for the first time since 1966.
Gareth Southgate and his England side were able to wipe away the agonizing pains of the semi-final defeat in the 2018 World Cup at the hands of Croatia, as well as banishing the memories of two semi-final loses to Germany in 1990 and 1996, the latter of which has haunted Southgate following his penalty miss in that very fixture.
However, before this, we had a game full of twists, turns and shocking moments.
Following victory in the quarter-finals against Ukraine, Gareth Southgate opted to make only one change to his starting line-up, with dynamic Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka recalled to the starting XI in place of Jadon Sancho.
England started brightly, backed by an immense atmosphere at Wembley as an estimated 67,500 fans packed into the national stadium. Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount carried England forward early as the Three Lions looked to pile the pressure on Denmark early.
However, Denmark stood firm and retaliated against England, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Martin Braithwaite both having attempts at goal before the near unthinkable happened.
The hope and anxiety in the ground and around the country was palpable after Denmark began to claw their way back into the game. England thus far were yet to concede at the Euro’s, but when 21-year old Mikkel Damsgaard stepped up 25-yards out for a free-kick, tensions rose.
The Danish international sublimely struck the ball with the inside of his foot, clearing the England wall before dipping the free-kick back down and past a despairing Jordan Pickford.
England struggled after this, looking as though the occasion had got the better of them. Gareth Southgate called for calm as the stunned crowd tried their best to get behind the boys.
England’s confidence increased as the minutes past and were unlucky not to equalise through Raheem Sterling, who saw his effort from a Harry Kane cross saved by ‘Keeper Kasper Schmeichel – but this opened the door for England.
Only a minute later, jubilation at Wembley.
In the 39th minute, Saka was played through by Kane, he played the ball across the box and as Raheem Sterling charged in for his fourth goal of the tournament, Danish captain Simon Kjaer turned the ball into his own net. 1-1.
As the second half began both teams had their moments, with Schmeichel excellently denying Harry Maguire’s header, and Jordan Pickford denying Kasper Dolberg.
From here England picked up the pace and began to dominate, Jack Grealish was sent on in the 68th minute to create chances and freshen up the attack, with Raheem Sterling seeing his shot blocked after some nice work from Grealish.
England pushed on, with a strong penalty shout after a foul on Harry Kane being waved away by referee Danny Makkelie and an excellent block from Denmark’s Andreas Christensen preventing a ball through to Grealish in a threatening position.
In the dying minutes, efforts from Maguire, John Stones and Kalvin Philips were all saved or ended up wide of the goal, with Harry Kane failing to get a shot off after a Grealish ball.
- England v Denmark- England’s latest test could be their most difficult of the tournament. – ArchBall UK
- Euro 2020: Why this time it may actually be coming home.
- Harry Kane shines as England beat Ukraine 4-0 in Euro 2020 quarter-final.
Into extra-time, with Phil Foden and Jordan Henderson were introduced in place of Declan Rice and Mason Mount, and England continued to be the better side, Schmeichel continued his excellent game by denying Kane and Grealish – as Sterling also fired over the bar. However, England would find the breakthrough.
In the 104th minute, a powerful run into the box from Raheem Sterling threatened the Danish goal, only to be ended by a trip from Joakim Maehle and – after a VAR review – England were awarded with a penalty.
Kane stepped up and tamely fired the shot into the path of the diving Schmeichel, however the England captain was quickly in to convert the rebound. 2-1 England. Scenes.
Wembley went into raptures, pubs all around the country erupted – it can only be imagined how may drinks flew into the air at the sight of Harry Kane securing his fourth goal of the Euro’s.
The Danes kept fighting but ultimately just ran out of gas as England controlled the ball for near enough the final five minutes of the game before Makkelie blew his whistle, provoking an outpouring of emotion all around the country
England are through to the Euro 2020 final.
They will face Italy on Sunday at Wembley as Southgate’s boys look to end 55-years of hurt and bring Football back home. Where it belongs.