England skipper Harry kane celebrates with his teammates after scoring from the dreaded spot
England skipper Harry kane celebrates with his teammates after scoring from the dreaded spot
AFP

Wembley: Wembley stadium has been lucky for few and unlucky for many, and on late Wednesday night the packed stadium proved fortunate for England, as Gareth Southgate and his boy edged past the fighting Danish Dynamites 2-1 to book their place against Italy in the Euro 2020 final on Sunday.

England skipper Harry Kane put away the rebound after Kasper Schmeichel saved his extra-time penalty to take England past Denmark and into the final of Euro 2020.

Mikkel Damsgaard had given Denmark the lead with a glorious free-kick after 30 minutes, but England got back on terms before half-time, Simon Kjær while trying to avert danger, a Bukayo Saka centre only managed to put the ball into his own net under pressure from Raheem Sterling.

England started with purpose, but Denmark pressed relentlessly to cut supply lines and scrap for openings, and had created a couple of half-chances before a foul 25 metres out invited the menacing Damsgaard to score the first direct free-kick of the tournament. His brilliant effort flew past the diving Jordan Pickford on the half-hour mark: the first goal England had conceded in 480 minutes at Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate's men were momentarily crestfallen, but should have levelled when Kane squared for Sterling, Schmeichel blocking his close-range attempt. The equaliser came soon afterwards, though, Saka redirecting Kane's ball across goal from the right for Kjær to nudge into his own net in a futile bid to deny Sterling. It was the first own goal that has ever gone England's way at a Euro.

England has broken through its semifinal ceiling at major soccer tournaments. A title match awaits for the first time in 55 years.

England will return to its national soccer stadium on Sunday to play Italy and will be competing in its first final since the 1966 World Cup. That remains England's only international title.

In the intervening 55 years, the English have lost in the semifinals four times in either the World Cup or the European Championship. For that reason, this will go down as one of the most significant victories in English soccer history.

Three of those, in 1990, 1996 and 2018, were decided on penalties. That looked like where the teams were headed until Raheem Sterling wriggled into the area down the right, cut inside and fell under the slightest contact of Mattias Jensen.

Denmark's players, whose emotionally charged run to the semifinals was powered by a resolve to win the title for Christian Erisken after his collapse on the field during the group stage, were almost on their knees by that point.

And Danish hopes of an equaliser were damaged by having to play with only 10 men for the second half of extra time after Jensen was forced off injured. Denmark had already used up its six substitutes by then.

English FA charged

London: UEFA has charged the English Football Association with three offenses from its European Championship semifinal win over Denmark. The disciplinary cases were opened over the use of a laser pointer by fans, fireworks being set off and for disturbing the Danish national anthem.

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