England won their first semi-final since the 1966 World Cup, when Harry Kane’s extra-time goal, after saving his penalty, gave them a 2-1 victory over Denmark on Wednesday that sent them to Sunday’s final. Euro 2020 against Italy.
In one night to remember in front of about 60,000 fans, most of whom are delighted, England reached the European Championship final for the first time, although they had to come from behind as Simon Kjaer’s goal canceled out the wonderful free Mikkel Damsgaard kicks for the Danes in the first half.
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The hosts were at the top but tried to break up Denmark’s defensive battle, until they were awarded a penalty in the 103rd minute after Raheem Sterling came down with minimal contact to allow captain Kane to decide.
It was a difficult way for Denmark to end their emotional journey out of fear and embarrassment over the collapse of Christian Eriksen’s game in their first semi-final after winning Euro 92, but their exhausted players left Wembley in wrapped socks. but the heads were high.
England will return on Sunday, 55 years after the World Cup upgrade there, but they did it the hard way.
They had reached the semi-finals without conceding a goal and needed something special to pierce their rear bumper as Damsgaard threw a powerful, free kick 25 meters over the wall and over the Jordan Pickford dive – the tournament’s first goal directly from a free kick – after 30 minutes. The crowd was surprised, which was not in the script, and the question would now be considered how England would respond to the first real taste of their adversity.
The response was calm and patient as they returned to the upward trajectory. Raheem Sterling was denied a free kick by Kasper Schmeichel before the equalizer in the 39th minute when Bukayo Saka hit the post and fell over a low cross that Kjaer received over his own line in an attempt to stop the ball. to reach Sterling.
Schmeichel was again on hand with an excellent dive in addition to Harry Maguire’s head and England started turning the screw.
However, despite all the pressure and relentless passing and investigation around the box, England tried to dig a clear opening and the fight went into extra time.
The extra 30 minutes became a virtual attack on the defense, as Schmeichel saved again from Kane and Jack Grealish.
Sterling continued to drive into the box and eventually fell to Joakim Maehle for the penalty revised by the VAR that Kane badly stuck and Schmeichel blocked, only for the captain to score the rebound.
Then England had to negotiate for the last 15 minutes and managed to ignite the strongest and certainly surest tradition of “Football’s Coming Home”, to ever hit Wembley.