MATCH REPORT: ENGLAND VS DENMARK, THREE LIONS WIN A TOUGH SEMI-FINAL TO SET UP A DATE WITH DESTINY AGAINST ITALY ON SUNDAY

met in the second semi-final of to determine who meets Italy in the final. While the Three Lions are yet to concede and have been solid, are buoyed by sheer passion and talent.

The Three Lions started on the front foot, looking to create some fast chances. Sterling and Kane’s linkup play with pace was looking to cause a few problems for the Danish defence. Sterling’s tame effort was held by Schmeichel in the game’s first shot on target. However, Denmark were also looking to make headway of their own with England making a few slip-ups at the back to invite pressure.

 

 

That pressure paid off in exquisite fashion. Earning two quick free-kicks in succession, the latter of which from about 25 yards. Up stepped Damsgaard who just placed the ball up and over into the top right corner of Pickford’s net. Denmark took the lead just past the half-hour mark through the first goal conceded by England at Euro 2020.

 

 

England tried to muster up an immediate response, with Sterling’s shot saved at point-blank range by Schmeichel. They were not to be denied though, with Saka slipping in behind the Danish defence. His pass was bundled into the goal by a combination of Sterling and Kjaer, with the defender being credited with the own goal.

 

 

That was all the action for the first half, with the late goal buoying English hearts while Denmark will know they are still very much in this contest. One thing is for certain- there will be more goals in this one.

England thought they had taken the lead within five minutes of the restart once again. Mount’s free-kick was nodded in by Maguire, who was adjudged to have fouled Kjaer. Denmark went right up the other end and Dolberg drew a fine low save from Pickford. However, the striker was found offside.

 

 

Maguire went close from another Mount set-piece, with Schmeichel needing to dive expertly to his right to keep it out. Dolberg once again tested Pickford while Shaw’s cutback at the other end came off Hojberg and behind. Both teams were now seriously going in search of that second goal. Denmark responded by making a triple substitution while Gareth Southgate brought on Jack Grealish past the hour mark.

 

 

The game was getting stretched as it entered the final 10 minutes as the teams got desperate. The spectre of extra-time and penalties were called upon last night with this match also looking like a real possibility now. England were absolutely bossing the ball now, with Denmark having to defend at all points. That proved enough to take the game to an additional thirty minutes.

 

 

The first shot on target came within three minutes as Kane’s drive from a tight angle was palmed away by Schmeichel. Next up was Grealish with Schmeichel punching the midfielder’s shot away after a corner broke to him. The goal did arrive albeit in fortuitous circumstances.

Sterling was deemed to have been upended by Maehle inside the penalty box, which looked really soft on the replays. The onfield decision stood, but in another twist, Schmeichel saved Kane’s initial effort. However, the ball fell right in the path of the Spurs striker who could not miss on the second attempt.

 

 

Both teams played out an even last 15 minutes, with Denmark trying and failing to get the leveller. England managed the game really well, keeping the ball in tactical places and running the clock down to make the final against Italy.

Here are the three key takeaways from the match:

 

ENGLAND BETTER ON THE NIGHT

England’s pace and pressing was a constant thorn in the Danish side. They were able to move the ball up the pitch time and again, with Denmark’s defence a tad slow. That slowness was exploited by all of the English front three with Saka, Sterling and Kane getting in behind often. It also led to the two outstanding chances of the first half, the second of which was scored. That came after Denmark had opened the scoring from an unstoppable free-kick.

 

 

As the second half went on, their midfielders grew more into the game by dominating their counterparts. Phillips and Rice were winning more challenges now while the defence continued to look compact to take them through to extra time. They were again the better side in extra-time and earned a penalty through Sterling.

Though Kane’s strike was saved, he tucked home the rebound to staunchly assert the English dominance. There were to be no more goals as England finally made it to the final of a major tournament since 1966.

 

HARD LUCK FOR THE DANES

Denmark started the game slowly but took a stunning lead through Damsgaard’s stunning free-kick. Though they would have liked to dominate after that, England’s growing presence meant they were immediately on the backfoot. Schmeichel produced a great save but was helpless as a cross deflected off Sterling and Kjaer, going down as an own goal. He kept up a fine game with some more good saves while his teammates struggled to impose themselves.

 

 

They had their moments in between the second half but could not capitalise as the match headed to extra time. Once again, they were having to defend mightily and will feel really hard done by with the penalty decision. Schmeichel still did his utmost, with the save but the rebound fell directly to Kane who scored. They tried their best in the second half of extra time but England stood firm to deny the Danes a magical run to the final of the Euros once more.

 

HOME OVER ROME?

The final is now set. Italy vs England, arguably two of the best teams in the tournament. However, it will be interesting to see how well the aged centre-backs of the Azzurri deal with the fast-paced English attack. They certainly gave Denmark plenty of problems, with both their goals coming due to their speed in getting behind the backline.

With Spinazzola out and Di Lorenzo looking shaky, it is the best chance now for this well-rounded English squad to finally bring it home.

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