England Reach Final at Euro 2020
England advanced to its first major tournament final since claiming victory at the 1966 World Cup. The squad defeated Denmark 2-1 in a gripping Euro 2020 encounter at Wembley on Wednesday evening. The Three Lions had to come from behind to claim victory, as the game went into extra-time before a controversial penalty decided the end result.
Raheem Sterling was under pressure in the box from a melee of Denmark players and eventually went down. A penalty was immediately awarded by referee Danny Makkelie and the decision was also confirmed by VAR. The drama was intensified after the spot kick from Harry Kane was saved by the Danish goalkeeper, Kasper Schmeichel. However, the Tottenham Hotspur striker pounced on the rebound and managed to score the goal to put England in the lead at 2-1.
The own goal from Simon Kjaer cancelled out the incredible freekick from Mikkel Damsgaard during the first half in the match where Denmark produced another phenomenal performance that has exemplified their Euro 2020 tournament. This after the collapse of Christian Eriksen during the squad’s opening game.
For the Three Lions, the match had loads of similarities to its European Championship semi-final against Germany in 1996 as the game was also played in front of a jam-packed Wembley Stadium. However, this time around the tie ended in a far more positive result. Gareth Southgate missed the penalty against Germany in 1996 but fortunately guided his team to their first European Championship final 25 years later.
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Wembley Packed with an Unbelievable Atmosphere
There were 60,000 spectators that entered Wembley Stadium after the UK government gave the go ahead for the semi-finals on Wednesday evening. Those who were lucky enough to get hold of tickets experienced at atmosphere that will go down in history, especially after the events that took place in the last 16 months.
It was no surprise that the majority of fans were England supporters, dancing and singing their way down Wembley Way before creating a party atmosphere as ‘Sweet Caroline’ engulfed the stadium grounds. Supporters of the Denmark team might have been the minority but they certainly made their presence obvious at one side of the stadium with hundreds of Danish flags.
A sense of anticipation and nervousness along with a wall of noise greeted the players as they walked through the tunnel. After the lockdown restrictions form the Covid-19 pandemic, it felt like one massive outpouring of emotion, echoing through Wembley stadium. During those opening minutes the Three Lions, in particular, seemed inspired by the overwhelming support.
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Several Opportunities from Both Sides
After an exciting start, the match settled down with Denmark on the defense while England did all the attacking. Raheem Sterling had a few half chances while the crowd roared for the men in white. All the good work that England produced early on was undone after goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had a moment of madness.
After an easy save, his weak throw was intercepted. However, Denmark was unable to capitalize on the gift and couldn’t place the ball in the back of an empty net. After the golden opportunity, Denmark grew into the match and managed to take the lead thanks to an incredible free-kick from Damsgaard 30 minutes into the game. It was a perfect set-piece as the ball whipped over the wall before dipping into the net with no chance of a save from Pickford. The goal immediately silenced the crowd but only for a moment.
England was electrified and Raheem Sterling received yet another opportunity to equalize for the Three Lions. However, Schmeichel yet again produced another magical save. Shortly after, Bukayo Saka provided the perfect cross for Sterling only to be turned in by Kjaer as an own goal. The second half started in a similar fashion as the first with England in search of another goal.
Harry Maguire nearly found the back of the net with a powerful header only to be denied after Schmeichel made yet another phenomenal save. After that, there weren’t a lot of clear cut chances as nerves seemed to take control during the second half, leaving everything up to extra-time.
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Nerves of Steel in Extra-Time
After the break, the pressure from England only intensified as they continued to ask questions of the Denmark defenders. Harry Kane had an opportunity that was well saved before Grealish provided a stunning shot that just caught the keeper’s palms.
The pivotal moment came when Raheem Sterling went down in the box under pressure. Even though contact was minimal, it was enough for the referee to grant a penalty. Harry Kane’s first attempt was stopped but managed to stab the rebound into the net, sending the country into delirium.
England will now face Italy in the Euro 2020 Final on Sunday evening. Who do you think will clinch the European Championship title? Visit our bookmaker review section at BookiePro and make your predictions by claiming an assortment of promotional offers to further increase your chances of winning big!