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England's possible line-ups against Denmark: FFT writers pick who they'd start in crucial Euro 2020 semi-final match

England vs Denmark line-up Euro 2020 semi-final
(Image credit: Getty Images)

England play Denmark hoping to reach the final of an international tournament for the first time since 1966, and the first time ever at a European Championship. The two meet at England's home ground, Wembley, on Wednesday 7 July for this semi-final clash, with a place in the final of Euro 2020 up for grabs.

Denmark shocked the continent to win Euro 92 nearly 30 years ago, and are looking to do the same again this tournament. They endured an understandably shaky start to Euro 2020, after Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening game against Finland - they went onto lose that game 1-0. However, Denmark rallied, and despite losing their second group match against Belgium, they became the first nation to progress to the knockout stages having lost both of their opening games. 

They have beaten Wales and Czech Republic in the last-16 and quarter-finals on route to the semis, and will undoubtedly pose a tough test to England playing their 3-4-3 formation. 

Denmark shocked the continent to win Euro 92 nearly 30 years ago, and are looking to do the same again at this tournament. They endured an understandably shaky start to Euro 2020, after Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening game against Finland - they went on to lose that game 1-0. However, Denmark rallied, and despite losing their second group match against Belgium, they became the first nation to progress to the knockout stages having lost both of their opening games. 

The two substitute goalkeepers, Conor Coady, and Ben Chilwell are the only members of England's squad that haven't played a minute in the tournament so far, with 22 players receiving game time.

Six players have started all five games that England have played, suggesting they're all shoo-ins for Southgate starting team. Both Harry Maguire's and Luke Shaw's performances warrant them playing from the off, but who knows what tactical masterstroke the England manager has up his sleeve for Denmark. 

Therefore, predicting his starting line-up is something of a mystery, but our writers have given it a good crack nonetheless. Here's who they reckon should start...

Ryan Dabbs (@ryandabbs_)

England XI

(Image credit: Future)

In an ideal world Henderson would start the game against Denmark. The Liverpool captain has bags of big game experience, and is on a major high after scoring his first ever international goal. It’s unfair on Phillips to miss out, but the midfield needs that bit more know-how, especially with Rice and Mount both still only 22-years-old. They both start for more obvious reasons.

The back-five remains unchanged after keeping a clean sheet in every game at the tournament so far, while Shaw’s impressive performance against Ukraine solidifies his spot in the starting line-up.

In the attacking areas, Foden comes in to replace Sancho after failing to appear for England since their game against Scotland. The Manchester City man can exploit Denmark’s three-man defence, likely attacking Jannik Vestergaard in wide areas. Saka is unfortunate to miss out, while Grealish could have another influential impact off the bench, just like he did against Germany. 

Kane and Sterling are both obvious choices for the final two positions, with the former scoring three in his last two games to silence his critics. A fit and firing Kane heading into the semi-finals is exactly what Gareth Southgate would have wanted, and suggests his skipper is peaking at exactly the right moment in Euro 2020.

Mark White (@markwhlte)

England XI

(Image credit: Future)

Matching Germany's shape worked at Wembley and I think it's important to pay Denmark the same level of respect in this one. They've been fantastic in this tournament.

I'd give Mason Mount the job of sticking on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and irritating him - since he's been oddly creative in this tournament. The rest of the side picks itself at this stage: of course, on the ball, both Kane and Mount need to find the pockets that Andreas Christensen won't harry them in. 

With the depth that England have, they can change this game in the second half by bringing in Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka or even Jordan Henderson depending on what's needed. My biggest fear for Gareth Southgate is that he has another Scotland on his hands: a team with less quality, sure, but far more aggression. It's vital that England show the same intensity that they did against Germany and don't underestimate this Danish side.

For all the talk of how Denmark are "riding on emotion" following what happened to Christian Eriksen, let's call them what they are: a meticulously drilled outfit with excellent quality in key areas of the pitch. England will have to be at their best to overcome them. 

Conor Pope (@Conorpope)

England XI

(Image credit: Future)

This is the closest to what we might consider Gareth Southgate’s first-choice XI for Euro 2020. Denmark will tough opposition – tougher than a lot of people seem to think (or hope), and so going with the 'first team' is the best idea.

While England scored four at the weekend, the Danes have done that twice already; a back four with two protective midfielders should be the plan. That also means no marauding full-backs for the Three Lions on Wednesday night, sorry.

Jordan Henderson’s appearance off the bench on Saturday night raises him as an option – but whether he is at full fitness isn’t clear, and his influence would be better used late in the game to keep heads clear.

Jadon Sancho’s start against Ukraine makes the case for his inclusion too, but really it is the Kane-Sterling axis that can’t be disturbed at this point. A return for Phil Foden seems likelier, with Jack Grealish – is this still a debate going on? – an option off the bench to run at tired defenders in the last 20 minutes.

Ed McCambridge (@edmccambridge

England XI

(Image credit: Future)

With the goalkeeper, defenders and midfield three (including Mount) pretty much settled in most people's minds, it seems the only major bone to pick are who starts alongside Kane and Sterling in attack - especially now the clamour to start Grealish on the left has dimmed. The Aston Villa man is best used off the bench and Sterling has proved irreplaceable there so far.

Foden on the right hand side appeared the smart choice from the outset. The Manchester City youngster is tidy on the ball and was unlucky not to score against Croatia in the Three Lions' opening game. Sancho was bright against Ukraine and Rashford will be disappointed not to have played more. 

The right answer, though, is Saka. The Arsenal utility man has the right blend of Grealish's ball-carrying ability, Foden's lightness of touch and Rashford's speed and work-rate. Denmark could pose a greater threat than any team has managed so far and Saka's willingness to track his man, get stuck in and ghost past defenders could be the difference.  

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