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England vs Denmark Euro 2020 reaction: 5 big talking points from the Three Lions reaching the final

Harry Kane
(Image credit: PA Images)

England have reached a final of a major tournament for the first time since 1966, after Harry Kane's extra-time goal gave them a 2-1 win over Denmark.

FourFourTwo were at Wembley to witness the action - here are our five big talking points from the match.

Southgate's redemption

Twenty-five years ago, Gareth Southgate lined up for England in a European Championship semi final at Wembley, and missed the penalty that denied the Three Lions a place in the final.

It seemed like fate that his tenure as England boss should bring him back to Wembley, for another Euros semi, with a shot at redemption.

Not since 1966 had England reached the final of a major tournament, the one and only time they’d done so. If there was one person who deserved this victory more than anyone else, it was Gareth Southgate. What a job he has done as England manager.

England didn't have it all their own way in this game, but Southgate kept his players calm going into extra time, and they kept attacking until a goal finally came.

Fans roared England to victory

More than 60,000 people were allowed inside Wembley for this match, up from the 41,973 who attended England's victory over Germany in the round of 16.

The atmosphere that day was unforgettable, arguably the best that the new Wembley has ever seen, despite the stadium being only two-thirds full.

This time Wembley Way was swarming with activity before the match, with people absolutely everything you looked. 

Inside the stadium, flag-waving Danish fans packed the stand behind one goal, and by kick-off, empty seats were few and far between right around the stadium.

Like against Germany, the roars of the crowd really spurred England on at times as they sought the goal that would take them to the final. As the minutes went on, those roars grew increasingly fevered, the atmosphere increasingly intense.

Early in extra time, though, the crowd joined together to sing Three Lions. It seemed like a moment, a statement, as if to say to the players ‘Keep going, we believe in you’.

In the next few minutes, England continually knocked on the door, then found the goal they were looking for. Wembley erupted. Undoubtedly, the crowd helped to push the Three Lions over the line.

England didn’t tire this time

So many times in previous major tournaments, England have tired just when it really mattered.

They dominated the early stages of their World Cup semi final three years ago, almost going 2-0 up against Croatia before fading and succumbing to defeat.

That didn’t happen this time. The opposite happened: as the game went on, Denmark grew increasingly weary, and England grew ever more dominant. Having very capable subs to bring on like Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Jordan Henderson helped too.

It’s a tribute to the way Southgate has managed his players during this tournament, sometimes rotating players to keep them fresh, and even giving Harry Kane a rest on a couple of occasions. They’ll need all the energy they have left on Sunday.

Kane in golden boot contention

Remember when Harry Kane hadn’t scored in almost four full matches at the start of this tournament?

The striker broke his duck against Germany, bagged two against Ukraine and netted his fourth goal of these Euros here, to move to within a goal of top scorers Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick.

He perhaps had a bit of luck - his penalty certainly wasn’t the best, but he was alert to the rebound to turn it home, like a true striker.

Kane was also far more involved in this game than he was during the group stage fixtures, providing the smart pass that set Bukayo Saka away for England’s equaliser. You wouldn’t back against him to net another goal in the final.

Bring on Italy

Italy sealed their place in the final of Euro 2020 with a penalty shoot-out victory over Spain last night, and they'll provide stiff opposition for England on Sunday.

Neither of the two finalists were at their absolute best for stages of these semi finals, and they seem fairly evenly matched, as undoubtedly the two most impressive teams at the tournament.

Italy beat England on penalties in the quarter finals of Euro 2012, and in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup, but neither of those games were at Wembley.

The Azzurri will certainly have a decent number of fans at the match, but England will hopeful that with a large home crowd behind them, football really can come home.

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Chris Flanagan
Chris Flanagan

Chris joined FourFourTwo in 2015 and has reported from 20 countries, in places as varied as Jerusalem and the Arctic Circle. He's interviewed Pele, Zlatan and Santa Claus (it's a long story), as well as covering Euro 2020 and the Clasico. He previously spent 10 years as a newspaper journalist, and completed the 92 in 2017.