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Friday, December 1, 2023

Wembley is bursting at the seams: England to European Championship final against Italy

The Three Lions beat the Scandinavians in the Euro 2020 semi-finals on a highly controversial extra time penalty.


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Euro 2020. 1/2 finals

England – Denmark – 2: 1 d.v. (1: 1, 0: 0, 1: 0)

Goals: Damsgor, 30 (0: 1). Kier, 39 – into own gates (1: 1). Kane, 104 (2: 1).

Missed penalty: Kane, 104 (goalkeeper)

England: Pickford, Walker, Shaw, Stones, Maguire, Rice (Henderson, 95), Mount (Foden, 95), Saka (Grealish, 69. Trippier, 106), Phillips, Kane, Sterling.

Denmark : Schmeichel, Kjer, Westergaard (Wynn, 105), Christensen (Andersen, 79), Struger Larsen (Wass, 68), Mehle, Delaney (Jensen, 88), Heibjerg, Braithwaite, Dolberg (Nergaard, 67), Damsgaard ( Poulsen, 65).

Warnings: Maguire, 49. Wass, 72.

Is football coming home? A packed Wembley certainly thinks so. After the win against Denmark, the English fans went completely crazy. See the best images of the frenzied crowd of fans.

The England squad for the first time in their history have reached the European Championship final, beating the Danes in extra time.

The British scored the winning goal, however, according to many experts, the game was only won after a very dubious penalty. However, in fairness, it must be said that the Scandinavians played with an advantage over the British only in the first half-hour, when they scored the first goal.

You have those evenings when history is already in the air, well before time has had a chance to do its work. Wednesday was typically such an evening, heavily loaded by the 55 years that preceded it, culminating in a folk festival such as you rarely see it.

Screaming and crying people fell over each other after Harry Kane’s decisive 2-1, all over the Wembley stands. It was like a whirlwind, a wild group dance of limbs swinging around, high into the ridge of the immense stadium.

Harry Kane hits from eleven meters REUTERS

On the pitch, the English players barely knew where to go with their joy afterwards. Kane, Raheem Sterling, Harry Maguire: they immediately realized that this was more than a football win. Here a national obsession was dealt with.

Italy will be the opponent in four days, but nothing has been won yet. However, reaching the final is a milestone in itself for the English. On Sunday, the first final battle since 1966, more than half a century ago, awaits. Not at the old Wembley this time, but in the new National Stadium, located on the same hallowed ground.

Beautiful atmosphere

The duel was technically of a lesser level than the semi-final of the evening before, but the intensity and the atmosphere made up for everything. Even before kick-off, the noise reverberated through the stands in North London.

From ‘Sweet Caroline‘ to ‘Football’s coming home‘ and the ‘God Save the Queen‘, the 60,000 English fans roared word for word. Once started, with every whiff of threat the sound swelled, deep growling and roaring, rippling along with the match from start to finish.

Nevertheless, Denmark only really held its ground in the churning stadium for the first half. The opening phase was for an opportunistic England, but soon after, Kasper Hjulmand’s side took control. After exactly half an hour of play, there was the first goal. Young winger Mikkel Damsgaard beautifully curled a free-kick over the wall, high over the poorly reacting Jordan Pickford: 1-0.

Mikkel Damsgaard celebrates his 1-0 against England AFP

The goal put Wembley in a state of dismay, but the home team and the crowd quickly recovered. After 39 minutes it was even. Kane freed Bukayo Saka and he swung in a low cross for Sterling that Kjaer deflected into his own goal to send Wembley into a frenzy.

A storm of noise blew through the stadium, the singing rose again loudly, but the duel was far from being decided. However, England kept getting closer and closer to finishing the game. They dominated and they fought, with the constant threat of a Danish counterattack, but with increasing conviction.

After 74 minutes, all of Wembley screamed for a penalty when Kane went down in the penalty area. Makkelie refused to bow – even then. England increased the pressure even further. Kane was close in extra time, Schmeichel was fired from all sides, but the decision was made after 102 minutes.

It was a dramatic night at Wembley (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sterling slalomed his way into the box and Joakim Maehle tripping him to concede a penalty.

Schmeichel actually saved it, but Kane kept his cool to forced the rebound home and spark scenes of pure joy.

There were only 60,000 in the stadium but they sounded like twice as many and were just as much a part of this game as the shattered players on the pitch.

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