England come from behind against Denmark, will face Italy in Euro final

England won their first semi-final since the 1966 World Cup when Harry Kane’s extra-time goal, following up after his penalty had been saved, earned a 2-1 victory over Denmark on Wednesday (Thursday AEST) that sent them into Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against Italy.

On a night to remember in front of almost 60,000 fans, most of them delirious with joy, England reached the European Championship final for the first time, though they had to come from behind as a Simon Kjaer own goal cancelled out Mikkel Damsgaard’s superb free kick for the Danes in the first half.

Phil Foden (left) and Harry Kane celebrate the latter’s decisive goal at Wembley.Credit:AP

The home side were on top throughout but struggled to break down the battling Denmark defence, until they were awarded a penalty in the 103rd minute after Raheem Sterling went down with minimum contact to allow captain Kane to decide it.

It was a tough way for Denmark to end their emotional ride from the fear and distress of Christian Eriksen’s opening game collapse to their first semi-final since their shock Euro 92 win, but their exhausted players left Wembley with socks rolled down but heads held high.

England will return on Sunday, 55 years after lifting the World Cup there, but they did it the hard way.

They had reached the semis without conceding a goal and it needed something special to pierce their rearguard as Damsgaard fired a powerful, dipping 25-yard free kick over the wall and beyond the diving Jordan Pickford – the tournament’s first goal direct from a free kick – after 30 minutes. The crowd were stunned, that had not been in the script, and the question of how England would respond to their first real taste of adversity would now be addressed.

England celebrate in front of a raucous Wembley crowd.Credit:Getty

The extra 30 minutes became a virtual attack v defence exercise, as Schmeichel saved again from Kane and Jack Grealish.

Sterling continued to drive into the box and was eventually brought down by Joakim Maehle for the VAR-reviewed penalty that Kane stuck poorly and Schmeichel blocked, only for the captain to tuck home the rebound.

England then had to negotiate the last 15 minutes and managed it to spark the loudest, and surely most confident rendition of Football’s Coming Home, ever to ring around Wembley.

Italy booked their ticket to the final after keeping their nerve from the penalty spot to edge Spain 4-2 in a shootout following a compelling 1-1 draw at the end of extra time on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST).

Reuters

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