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Euro 2020 matchday 27: Italy await for England or Denmark

Ukraine v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Quarter Final – Stadio Olimpico
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

England will look to reach the final of the European Championship for the first time when they play Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday.

The Three Lions will be looking to reach their first major final since winning the 1966 World Cup, while the Danes will hope to take the next step towards repeating their surprise success at the Euros in 1992.

The winners will play Italy in the final back at Wembley on Sunday night after the Azzurri beat Spain in a penalty shoot out. Here, the PA News agency takes a look at the second semi-final.

Can England write their own history?

Ukraine v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Quarter Final – Stadio Olimpico

England manager Gareth Southgate hopes his team can write another piece of history by reaching the final (Nick Potts/PA)

Gareth Southgate believes the history of the England team is not as good as the nation likes to think but feels his team have broken down barriers on their run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

The Three Lions had not won a knockout game at a European Championship in 25 years before beating Germany in the last 16 a week ago. Now they are preparing for their second major semi-final in just three years under Southgate – with the England boss happy that his players are writing their own story.

“We don’t have as a good as football history as we like to believe sometimes,” he said on the eve of the match.

“These players are making massive strides and breaking barriers all the time, we have broken barriers in this tournament and we have another opportunity to do that tomorrow.”

Talk is cheap – Kane

Ukraine v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Quarter Final – Stadio Olimpico

Harry Kane hopes England perform against Denmark on Wednesday night (Nick Potts/PA)

Captain Harry Kane admits England must prove they can deliver at Euro 2020.

The Three Lions host Denmark in Wednesday’s semi-final with 60,000 fans due at Wembley and the expectation of a nation on their shoulders as they look to reach a first European Championship final, and Kane knows actions speak louder than words.

“It’s a chance to go out there and prove it, we can talk as much as we want but the bottom line is we have to go out there and perform,” said the striker.

Can England handle the pressure?

Wales v Denmark – UEFA Euro 2020 – Round of 16 – Johan Cruijff ArenA

Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand thinks the pressure is on England (PA)

Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand wants to take advantage of the pressure and expectation England are facing.

“Of course there is a lot of pressure on England but we also know that we have to take advantage of this situation,” said Hjulmand.

“There is some psychological factors in the game. They have a lot of supporters but we also have to remember that they have a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations, so I don’t think it’s going to be so easy for them.

“We just believe that we can take advantage of the pressure England feel.”

Denmark have unshakable spirit

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The Danes’ tournament got off to the worst possible start when midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during the defeat to Finland in their opening match. Another loss to Belgium followed but Hjulmand’s team progressed and have rallied to reach the last four.

“I think we look very strong,” Hjulmand said. “We lost our best offensive player in Christian and I don’t think it’s an advantage to play without Christian.

“But of course something happened and especially the support and the compassion we’ve been given from the Danish people. It’s really something that makes us do as much as we can.

“Right now we are closely linked – the team and the people of Denmark, the whole country, young and old.”

Italy await in the final

Britain Italy Spain Euro 2020 Soccer

Italy players celebrate after winning their semi final on penalties (Frank Augstein/AP)

Gianluigi Donnarumma and Jorginho were the heroes as Italy booked their place in the final with a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Spain at Wembley.

The Azzurri have been among the frontrunners since they opened the tournament on June 11 and they will be there when it finishes against either England or Denmark on Sunday, hoping to win a second European Championship and first since 1968.

They faced their toughest test yet against Spain, who were the better side, but when it ended 1-1 after 120 pulsating minutes, Donnarumma saved Alvaro Morata’s penalty and Chelsea midfielder Jorginho sent Italy through to another final.

Morata went from hero to villain as he had earlier climbed off the bench to equalise for Luis Enrique’s side with 10 minutes of normal time remaining – becoming his country’s all-time leading goalscorer at the Euros with six – after Federico Chiesa had put Italy in front against the run of the play.

Jorginho keeps his cool

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Quote of the day

“Has it ever been home? I don’t know, have you ever won it?”

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel playfully took aim at England after questions over football “coming home”.

Stat of the day

Jordan Pickford celebrates victory over Germany

Jordan Pickford has one trophy wrapped up already (Nick Potts/PA)

England keeper Jordan Pickford has kept five clean sheets at Euro 2020 – no keeper has ever kept more in a single staging of the competition before, and he is already certain of the Golden Gloves.

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