After five decades of hurt, England will once again play in the final of a major men’s soccer trophy after the controversial, thrilling victory over Denmark, 2-1, in extra time in front of 60,000 fans inside Wembley to advance to the Euro 2020 final. It marks their first appearance in the Euro final in 10 attempts after losing semi-finals twice. Follow us for more sports predictions and odds.
“I’m so proud of the players,” Coach Gareth Southgate, who guided England to the 2018 World Cup semifinals in Russia, told the UEFA website. “It was an incredible occasion to be a part of. The fans were incredible all night.” The last time they made it to the final of a major tournament was during the 1966 World Cup where they won their first title. The Three Lions will now face Italy in the final this weekend.
Southgate’s men had to come from behind to seal the place in the final. Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning free kick opened the scoring before Bukayo Saka’s low cross turned into his own goal by Simon Kjaer. After a goalless second half, Raheem Sterling won a penalty following a minimal contact from Joakim Mæhle that was confirmed VAR, with Kane taking the penalty in the 104th minute.
Kane’s spotkick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, but the England striker pounced to score from the rebound and seal the win. “We know we haven’t won nothing yet, but you have to enjoy winning,” said Kane. “There is always that feeling in the back of your mind we’ve got one more to go, so you don’t want to get too carried away. … We’re obviously excited about a final on our home ground.”
Not since the 1960s have England reached a final and a semi-final in back-to-back tournaments while, in previous European Championships, they had only ever won one knockout tie – against Spain on penalties in 1996. For the first time, they will be in the finals of Euro and will try to bring football home as they take on Italy, who defeated Spain earlier this week to seal their place in the final.
“We suffered in Moscow (in the 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat by Croatia) on a night like this and we’ve managed to put that right. It’s an incredible occasion to be a part of. The fans were incredible all night. There was mayhem on the pitch and I was part of it. We’ve got to enjoy the fact we’re in the final but there’s one more massive hurdle to conquer,” Southgate added.
Italy have now reached their 10th major tournament final, progressing to the final of the European Championship for the fourth time. Roberto Mancini’s side are also looking to win the European Championship for the first time since 1968 and secure their first major trophy since winning the 2006 World Cup.
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