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England are through to the final of Euro 2020 after a thrilling extra-time win over Denmark on a pulsating night of drama at Wembley.
England laid the ghost of semi-finals past to rest last night. But oh did they put us through the wringer first in an absolute epic.
One down to a thunderous free kick from Mikkel Damsgaard, they equalised when Denmark’s Simon Kjaer scored an own goal.
But with the tension reaching fever pitch and the game still deadlocked going into extra time, it was captain fantastic who delivered.
Harry Kane copped all sorts of criticism for his slow start to the Euros. But it was his finish – after Kasper Schmeichel saved his penalty – that finally won the game.
So England will now meet Italy in their first major final for 55 years, and their first ever in this tournament. It’s within touching distance now…
In the days before football when the Danes came here as Viking raiders, we used to have to pay them to go home. They didn’t go quietly this time.
The shock winners of Euro 92 actually lost their first two games of this tournament but became a Band of Brothers after Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest.
And they burst England’s bubble when Luke Shaw gave away a free kick and Damsgaard absolutely rifled it home in the 30th minute.
Jordan Pickford, who had just beaten Gordon Banks’s England record of 720 minutes without conceding, got his fingers to it but couldn’t stop it.
Weaker teams might have folded under the pressure. Not Gareth Southgate’s men.
Raheem Sterling, doing his best Cristiano Ronaldo impression all night, was denied by Kasper Schmeichel when he had to score.
And then, bedlam. 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.
Schmeichel somehow clawed away a fabulous Harry Maguire header from a free kick and tipped over a Mount cross and the tension rose.
There was controversy too when Kane went down in the box under a challenge from Christian Norgaard.
England appealed for a penalty but Dutch referee Danny Makkelie gave a free kick the other way – and VAR Pol van Boekel was happy with the decision.
By the end of normal time the Danes were clinging on for dear life, but when the ball fell to Kane in front of goal he couldn’t find the finish.
The Tottenham star forced Schmeichel into another big save at the start of extra time after a wonder ball from Walker.
But it wasn’t until Sterling slalomed his way into the box that Denmark finally cracked, with 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.
And when it was over Southgate and his heroes stood and sang along with them as the party really got started.
The omens had been against them because the Three Lions had lost in six of their previous seven games that had gone to extra time in major tournaments.
Consider that another barrier smashed. England have made history – but they aren't done yet.
- Euro 2020
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