A penalty kick rebound converted by Harry Kane gave England a deserved 2-1 win over Denmark in Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final.
Victory helped them to set up a home showpiece against Italy on Sunday.
Kane saw his 104th minute penalty kick ——- controversially not overturned by video review; in spite of Raheem Sterling going down under minimal contact from Joakim Maehle – saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
But he made no mistake with his second attempt.
England have ended a 55-year wait to reach a major final. One more win will end the same drought since their one and only trophy; the 1966 World Cup —- also lifted at Wembley.
Denmark’s fairy tale run since the collapse of Christen Eriksen with cardiac arrest in their opening game ended; in spite of Mikey Damsgaard’s brilliant free-kick giving them a 30th minute lead. A Simon Kjaer’s own goal levelled matters before the break, With England dominant, the winner was a matter of time in coming even if Denmark survived the initial 90 minutes.
The vast majority of the 65,000 crowd inside Wembley —- the biggest attendance at a UK sports event since the coronavirus pandemic began —- could not hide their delight at seeing England continue their progress.
It was fully merited in spite of the disputed nature of the winning goal. The influential Sterling cut in from the right and tumbled. But he was well on the way to the ground even before he was grazed by Maehle.
Sterling insisted he “touched my leg so it was a clear penalty kick.”
The contact, however slight, was enough to convince the review the decision was not clearly mistaken. Kane took full advantage for his fourth goal of the tournament.
“It was a top performance. We had to dig in deep after the first goal we conceded in the tournament…We regrouped well and showed a good team spirit to come back and win the game,” said Sterling.
“It was difficult going behind. But we knew we had to stay patient. We knew with the legs we’ve got, the aggressiveness and the power we have in the team; it would be a matter of time before we broke them down.”
Denmark, playing on a wave of emotion since Eriksen’s collapse, started slowly but gradually turned matters. Young talent Damsgaard had already curled wide before finding the net with a beautiful free-kick over the wall.
It was England’s first goal conceded in the tournament and in a total of 691 minutes. However, by then goalkeeper Jordan Pickford had narrowly broken England’s personal clean sheet record. It was a record of World Cup winning-goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who didn’t concede for 720 minutes in May to July 1966.