THISDAY

It’s England, Italy Final as Kane Snatch Winner against Denmark

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England's 55-year wait to reach a major ęnal is over at last after 2-1 victory against Denmark in the Euro 2020 last four, on a night of nerve-shredding tension then unconęned joy at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate's side were on a mission to travel one step further than any

England side has done since the 1966 World Cup ęnal win against West Germany and they ęnally achieved the long-cherished goal as they came from behind to beat Denmark after extra time.

In front of 66,000 fans and in a frenzied, thunderous atmosphere this newer

Wembley has not experience­d beoreǰ nland baĴled their way out of adversity to secure a meeting with Italy in the

uro ŘŖŘŖ ęnal at the same venue on Sunday.

ow ngland had to ęght for victory against this steely Denmark with an inspired keeper in Kasper Schmeichel, especially after conceding their ęrst goal of the tournament to Mikkel Damsgaard's stunning free-kick after 30 minutes.

England, crucially, replied quickly as Denmark captain Simon Kjaer turned in Bukayo Saka's threatenin­g cross six minutes before the break.

Schmeichel was Denmark's hero as England sought the winner, saving brilliantl­y from Harry Maguire and Harry Kane as the game went into extra time and the prospect of penalties loomed large.

The moment the nation has waited for so long eěectively arrived with Wembley's giant screens showing 103 minutes and captain Kane standing over a penalty after Raheem Sterling had been fouled by Joakim Maehle.

In keeping with England's long and tortuous history, it was not straightfo­rward as the normally ice-cool Kane saw an awful penalty saved by Schmeichel - but the rebound fell at his feet for him to score.

Wembley went wild with deafening noise and wild celebratio­ns as ęnally, after all the years of hurt, England have the golden opportunit­y to ęnally claim a major crown on Sunday.

Speaking after leading the Three ions to their ęrst ęnal since 1966, England manager Gareth Southgate says he is "so pleased for our country" after they booked their place in the Euro Ř0Ř0 ęnal - a ęrst in a men's major tournament for 55 years.

"The atmosphere... I don't think I've heard the new Wembley like that," Southgate told BBC Sport.

"We know what our country, like others, has been through and to continue that happiness and the journey for another few days - we're are so happy.”

Forward Raheem Sterling also praised England's response after they conceded their ęrst goal in the tournament.

"It was a top performanc­e. We had to dig in deep," said Sterling, who won the penalty which Kane converted at the second aĴempt.

"It was the ęrst time we conceded (in the tournament) but we responded well and showed good spirit. We knew it would be diĜcult.

"We stayed patient and we knew with the legs and aggressive­ness we have in the team we'd be okay. It's another step in the right direction.

"We have to focus on the weekend now. We know what football means to this country. Now we have Italy. We will celebrate a liĴle bit then focus on Italy."

Skipper Kane added: "We dug deep and we got there when it maĴered. We reacted really well and we're in a ęnal at home. What a feeling.

"We know it's going to be a very tough game against Italy. We've had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home and we can't wait."

 ??  ?? England’s players celebratin­g Harry Kane’s winning goal in the 2-1 defeat of Denmark...last night
England’s players celebratin­g Harry Kane’s winning goal in the 2-1 defeat of Denmark...last night

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