London – England in the Euro final “for him” against Italy! Weaned off the cup for half a century, the brave English knocked out the Danes (2-1 after extra time) on Wednesday in the semi-finals in London, capturing Wembley Stadium before facing the Italians on Sunday to go down in history.
Fifty-five years after England’s World Cup victory in 1966, the Three Lions will finally play a new major tournament final, again at Wembley, after years of starvation and disappointment.
England coach Gareth Southgate said: “I am very proud of the players. It was a great evening, the fans were fantastic all evening.”
In a very intense match, a questionable two-stage penalty kick by captain Harry Kane (104) freed the English, who was pushed into overtime after a superb free kick from Mikel Damsgaard (30) and a draw against Denmark captain Simon. Kjaer camp (39).
Despite this controversial outcome, the referee’s decision was ratified by video arbitration although there was more than light contact with Raheem Sterling and a second ball on the field at the time of the event, it was necessary to read the rescue on the faces. After this critical goal.
“There was a penalty for sure, and I went into the penalty area, he put his leg up and it was clear that there was a penalty,” Sterling pleaded after the match.
This first qualification to the Euro 1 final equals their near-perfect trajectory in this tournament organized in 11 cities from 11 countries, which they would have practically played at home, with the exception of the quarter-finals in Rome against Ukraine (4-0).
It now remains to finish in great style on Sunday (9:00 pm) against Italy, to avenge the Euro 2012 quarter-final won by the Azzurri on penalties (0-0, tab 4-2).
– Heartbreaking for Denmark –
But the spell may be lifted for the English, who have finally passed the semi-finals where they have always failed since 1966, at both the World Cup (1990 and 2018), the World Cup (1968 and 1996) or even the League of Nations. (2019).
On the other hand, it is heartbreaking for Denmark, a small country of less than six million people that dreamed of creating a surprise once again, 29 years after winning the European Championship in 1992 almost by breaking and entering.
Denmark captain Simon Kjeer said: “It has been a fantastic adventure. I’m sorry it’s over now but it is. The support we have received is beyond anything I could have hoped for.”
The defeated Danes leave but have already won the heart of world football, affected by heart failure midway through midfielder Christian Eriksen’s match at the start of the tournament.
Carrying extra spirit since this dramatic episode, it was Denmark that struck on the first Wednesday night, thanks to a masterful free kick from the amazing Mikel Damsgaard (21), one of the tournament finds (30).
But England reacted immediately: young winger Bukayo Saka, from the Ealing region, near Wembley, accelerated, dribble and made powerful passes, forcing Kier to shove the ball into his own goal under pressure from Sterling. Either the eleventh goal “CCC” that was scored in this tournament, a record for the Euro!
– Fervor at Wembley –
The intensity of the climb increased during the minutes and stops of Kasper Schmeichel, in regulatory time (38, 55) and then in overtime (94, 98).
Then, in a harmless stumble, Sterling collapsed, again, after a very light contact: a penalty kick, turned into two stages by Kane while Schmeichel was still backing off the first hit (104).
At the final whistle, the English were able to rejoice, rejoicing at the idea of football returning “home”, to the country that set the rules for the round ball, according to the words of the famous Euro 1996 anthem. Before this semi-final.
And we can expect the same enthusiasm on Sunday at Wembley for the final against Italy, despite the bleak health context and the restriction of the movement of fans, against the background of the outbreak of the Delta version of Covid-19, the most contagious.
According to the Italian Federation, up to 1,000 fans from Italy will be able to attend the European Championship final in London on Sunday, provided they respect the quarantine upon return.
They will join the British-based Italians authorized to enter Wembley in an effort to respond to the roaring English chorus.
This will be the first final match between these two great footballing nations, as a conclusion to a tournament in an unprecedented pan-European format and with a decidedly unpredictable course.