England to the Final: Another step on the long road back

critical goal. Harry Kane (right) saw a penalty saved by Danish goalkeeper Schmeichel, but the England striker scored on the rebound.Reuters photo

England were much better than Denmark in the semi-finals, especially over time, winning 2-1 after extra time thanks to a Harry Kane penalty. Goalkeeper Schmeichel stopped the ball but didn’t get a chance the second time.

The penalty kick was easily awarded by referee Makkelie, after Sterling dribbled again, losing the ball anyway and Maehle briefly touching his knee. Sure, Sterling loved the duck. Makelele, who also whistled well, would have made a stronger impression if he hadn’t taken the penalty. The VAR also did not reverse her decision. The match was decided by the way with the deserving winner. For example, McKelley helped bring football back home.

So England will play in the final against Italy at Wembley on Sunday in front of thousands of their countrymen. England then played the entire European Championship at home except for one match. In this sense, the country is heavily favored, in this exotic tournament, which is played in eleven countries.

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The country will be match-ready in dazed for the first final since 1966 in the final tournament, when the English beat West Germany 4-2 with national coach Alf Ramsey, still at old Wembley. Since then, there have been many times of intense mourning, most notably at the last European Championship in England in 1996, when chants about bringing football back home swelled. England then lost the semi-finals on penalties to Germany, with Southgate missing the current national coach.

The match came to a standstill over time, although England were getting stronger, especially due to better fitness and extra quality off the bench. Jack Grealish, the Aston Villa creator who was a surprise to many on the bench, replaced Saka more than twenty minutes before the end of original time. Foden also came in on the sprawl, another such talent that, according to critics, gets very little playing time. Denmark did little more than back off and kick balls away. When the score was 2-1, Grealish was able to take the lead again.

England noted that the Danes, for whom the tournament was an emotional rollercoaster due to the failure of Christian Eriksen by a heart attack, almost never got one leg for the other. Respectable England, with little to no flavour. The squad assembled perfectly, although goalkeeper Pickford was a source of disruption in the first half. Also: strong defenders, two midfield controls, speed on the wings, great striker, good substitutions. Lots of physical strength too. No goals against, that’s the old saying. Only when it was necessary, as was the case after the first goal in the tournament on Wednesday, after eight hours of play, did England press on what appeared to be an attack.

Football team and passion

Denmark, a team that was already a unit and had grown through Eriksen’s cardiac arrest into a bundle of football and emotion, were equal in the first half. Play carefully too. Technically, the match could not match the previous day’s match between Italy and Spain, which was also not expected.

It was one of those games that needed a cliched goal. Not only because of that, Damsgaard’s free kick half an hour later was phenomenal, with the instep, over-jumping, and tall Harry in the wall, Kane and Maguire, falling under the crossbar in time. Goalkeeper Pickford, who several times confounded his defense with strange actions, only got his finger on the ball.

England know that winning the tournament will make an impression on an already high audience more than another unfortunate or unnecessary elimination. England repaired the damage before the break. Kane lowered himself again, the way he would often get the ball back. He made a superb deep pass to Saka, whose low cross from Sterling could have led to Sterling’s goal had it not been for Captain Keir’s attempt to save the ball and put it in his own goal.

The second half was more open than before the first half, without many chances. The save by goalkeeper Schmeichel with a header from Maguire, the most dangerous English player, was fantastic, because Kane was never in the attacker. But he was there to receive a penalty. Two goals: an own goal and a controversial penalty kick the second time, a gift from McKelley. But she doesn’t care, in England. The Danes were quite exhausted, but said goodbye with honor, as the moral winner of the tournament.

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