England’s greatest night in 55 years finally came home last night, as they defeated Denmark to advance to the Euro 2020 final. England made one change for the side that destroyed Ukraine 4-0 in Rome, with Bukayo Saka returning to the side in place of Jadon Sancho. Saka has impressed so far in the tournament and his direct and creative running down the right have provided a crucial outlet for the Three Lions.
The game was a nervy one from the word go, with both teams swapping chances in the first 30 minutes. Jordan Pickford looked shaky to start, with two crucial errors that could have resulted in goals for Denmark. He threw the ball straight to the feet of the Danish attacker 15 minutes in, but the England defence recovered and avoided a serious blunder.
England had some chances down the left-hand side, with Sterling and Shaw combining well as they have the rest of the tournament. Sterling had the best chance for England, darting past 3 Danish players before hitting a tame shot straight at Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel. He had another shot minutes later that was pushed past the post and out for a corner.
Against the run of play, it was Denmark who drew first blood. Luke Shaw was adjudged to have manhandled the Danish attacker, and the referee awarded a 25-yard free-kick. Sampdoria midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard answered his countries call, blasting a wonderful free-kick over the wall and past Jordan Pickford into the net.
The goal, like the rest of the game, was shrouded in controversy. As reported by various outlets, the Danish goal should not have stood. FIFA rules state that “Where three or more defending team players form a ‘wall,’ all attacking team players must remain at least 1 metre (1 yard) from the ‘wall’ until the ball is in play”. The Danish defence clearly moved toward the England wall before the kick was struck, blocking Pickford’s view and contributing to the goal.
England did not let the goal dissuade them, though. There had been various talks before the game about how England would react to going behind for the first time. As it was, England went on to dominate the rest of the game.
England had a variety of chances created by Saka down the right. He set up the equaliser, where Harry Kane’s wonderful ball to Saka was crossed into the box for Raheem Sterling. The ball however was blocked by Denmark’s Simon Kjaer, who’s tackled knocked the ball into his own net and drew the Three Lions level.
Kasper Schmeichel kept England at bay through the second half, with a number of wonderful saves, including a point-blank save from Raheem Sterling that the whole stadium thought was in. He prevented nearly 3 goals, according to XG, in the match last night, the highest amount in the Euro’s since records began.
England had the Danes camped inside their own box for the entirety of the second half, as they dominated the second half. Schmeichel saved Denmark on more occasions than can count, and on the break, Denmark managed to hit a few tame shots toward Jordan Pickford.
Harry Kane controlled the game, dropping deep on multiple occasions to grab the ball, and passing it all across the park. He set up Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka multiple times down the line, with England unlucky to not score.
The game ended 1-1 after full time. Denmark looked knackered and England were on the front foot the whole time. Extra time began and nothing changed, England were relentless in their attacking, with Foden and Grealish, who were substitutes, coming on and causing mass problems for the Danish defence.
The breakthrough would not come until the second half of Extra time. Raheem Sterling picked the ball up on the right-hand side, and ran toward the box, slaloming past multiple defenders. He was brought down by two Danish defenders and the penalty was awarded to England.
The penalty was poorly struck by captain Harry Kane, and it was saved by Schmeichel diving to his left. Heart-breaking for the Danish keeper, the ball was parried back into the path of Kane, who shot the ball into the net and put England back in front.
The game was quiet from then on, neither team really creating anything. England wasted time, running the clock down. The final whistle blew, and England had done it!
A wave of relief blew over Wembley stadium, followed by joyous singing.
“It’s Coming Home!” followed by “Sweet Caroline” filled the stadium, as 55 years of hurt were washed away by one joyous moment of celebration. Gareth Southgate avenged his penalty miss from 25 years ago and led England to the promised land. Italy travels to Wembley on Sunday, to see who will be the champions of Europe. You can bet on this final and many others on UK Betting Sites.