England Reach Their First-Ever Euros Final With Defeat Of Denmark

It might, just actually, be coming home.

Cover image via AFP/Free Malaysia Today

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After initially looking shaky, England got the goal they needed in extra time

In a hotly contested UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2020) semi-final held this morning, 8 July, at 3am Malaysian time, England narrowly edged past Denmark 2-1 after extra time.

Remarkably, the Danes had taken the lead first, against the run of play, in the 30th minute, after 21-year-old Mikkel Damsgard curled in a beautiful free kick in front of the home fans.

It was the first free kick scored at this edition of the Euros, and was incidently also the first goal England had conceded all tournament.

Mikkel Damsgard after scoring the first goal via a beautiful free kick.

Image via Goal (Twitter)

However, just eight minutes later, an own goal by Simon Kjaer reinstated belief into the Three Lions, with them being able to hold on until the end of regulation time.

Once in extra time, England were awarded a dubious penalty after a perceived foul on Raheem Sterling in the box after one of his trademark mazy runs. Up steps captain Harry Kane, who smashes in the rebound after Kasper Schmeichel had saved his initial effort.

Harry Kane (middle) smashes in the rebound in extra time.

Image via Goal (Twitter)

The match was unique as 60,000 fans were allowed into Wembley to see the game in person, after lockdown measures were eased

The 80,000 seater stadium was allowed to operate at 75% capacity for the Euro 2020 semi-finals, the largest crowd assembled for a sporting event in the UK for over 15 months.

This followed the UK government increasing the capacity from 22,500 for the group fixtures held in Wembley, and 45,000 for two knockout games played in the last 16 previously.

Wembley did not play host to any quarter-final games, with England playing their only game away from home in Rome, beating Ukraine 4-0.

England will now face Italy, in what is their first-ever Euros final appearance

The final will represent massive progress for the team, after manager Gareth Southgate had led them to an impressive semi-final showing at the World Cup three years ago.

Indeed, the game against Italy this Monday morning will be their first-ever Euros final appearance, with their previous best record in the tournament was achieving a semi-final place at Euro 1996, also on home soil.

Having done one better, England is hoping that the indomitable Italy will be off their game, if they have any hope of taking the whole title home. The last time they reached a final of any kind was the World Cup in 1966, coincidentally the only time England has ever hosted the competition.

The last time England made a final, at World Cup 1966, they beat West Germany 4-2, clinching their only title to date.

Image via FIFA (Youtube)

It's coming home! Read up on essential football jargon so you know how to fit in with your 'kaki bola' friends:

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