England reaches the final of Euro 2020.
A historic night at Wembley. 55 long years since an entire nation has been yearning, waiting, yearning, everything up to this final moment of UEFA Euro 2020. England topped Denmark in a thrilling semi-final on Wednesday night to set the stage for a highly anticipated match with Italy. Victorious by 2 goals to 1, the nation reached the final of the European Championship for the first time in history, ending Denmark’s inspiring streak. He comes home?
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 7, 2021
An impressive free-kick by Mikkel Damsgaard gave Denmark an early lead. In a moment of brilliance, Damsgaard fired a bullet cannon onto the English wall, which sank below the bar and beat Pickford in a sensational fashion. The midfielder passed the ball well over the wall and, with brilliant instep and technique, provided Denmark with their well-deserved goal in the 30th minute. England fell for the first time in this tournament and 5 minutes after breaking the record of an English goalkeeper having not conceded a goal in the longest period of time, Pickford let Damsgaard’s stunner slip away. With his goal, Damsgaard also scored the first direct free-kick of Euro 2020. How would England respond to this initial pressure from a promising Danish squad?
What a heroic salvation! England had been closing in and seemed to be on to something with their swift forward attacks from Damsgaard’s free kick. A breakthrough almost came in the 38th minute, when Raheem Sterling nearly sent a low delivery to the back of the net for Denmark. Kane laid a low ball in the box for Sterling to carry it forward, who passed Christensen, now just a couple of yards from Schmeichel. Just as the English striker was trying to punch the ball into the left corner, Schmeichel spread out along the goal line, denying a menacing English attack. Schmeichel saved Denmark with an incredible save, leaving Sterling in awe as English fans held their breath for a miracle at Wembley.
And the miracle came, just 48 seconds later. Captain Kjaer deflected the ball into his own net in the 39th minute, in a dramatic own goal for Denmark. The pressure from England finally paid off when Saka opened up a Danish defense down the right flank. The winger delivered a powerful cross to the penalty area in an attack almost identical to the previous one. Sterling was available to send the ball home, but Kjaer, running back to stop the ball, found himself staring at the Danish goal. In any defender’s nightmare, Kjaer sent the begging ball flying over the top of the net to bring the Three Lions’ level at Wembley.
Head up, Maguire
Schmeichel proved his brilliance once again, and yes, he certainly had to. With more than 15 attacks forward, England did not neglect this historic event. The Danish defense appeared to be tired but managed to stay alive thanks to an incredible block from Kasper Schmeichel in the 10th minute of the second half. Mount delivered a precise cross in the area from the right flank, hoping to pick an English head. He did it wonderfully, finding Maguire, who shot skyward, launching a lean header into the left corner. The ball appeared to be veering in, but Schmeichel jumped a staggering distance to get it out of harm’s way seconds before it had crossed the line. Denmark seemed to be holding on, about to turn away from an English side, hungry for more.
Don’t keep Kane out
Minutes before the first half of overtime, Sterling used his rhythm down the right flank only to face a challenge from Maehle inside the penalty area. The referee instantly awarded England a highly controversial penalty that could be a serious game-changer. A VAR check confirmed the penalty, but contact with Sterling was minimal, and the debate over whether the penalty should have been awarded will likely continue for days after the game. In an effort beyond inspiration, Schmeichel lunged to the left, reading Kane’s tight shot. He made a solid save but ended up returning the ball to Kane, who lunged forward on the rebound. Having only to touch a single ball, Kane couldn’t miss this time. In a desperately unfortunate situation for Denmark, captain Harry Kane took advantage of a rebound, sending England within 15 minutes of a Euro final.
Wembley saw incredible scenes: fans running through the halls, dirtying the stadium in their jerseys, and screaming their hearts out. England had ended 55 years of struggle and difficulties. The Three Lions had written their own history and eliminated a brave team from Denmark, who had undoubtedly been incredible in this tournament, especially after Christian Eriksen’s unfortunate cardiac arrest in the first match. For Gareth Southgate and his boys, Sunday’s game against Italy will be the biggest event in English football since 1966. Too long have they cried. They have suffered too long. They have endured too long. But tonight, after 55 long years, English fans will sleep soundly. The words “He’s coming home. He is coming home. Football is coming home ”, will line up in all the streets, bars, and alleys of London, now only dependent on Sunday’s exciting UEFA Euro 2020 final with Italy.
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