Fifty-five years later: England 2 Denmark 1 (and now the Final)

Fifty-five years later: England 2 Denmark 1 (and now the Final)

In 1966 I was 11, and my dad took me to Wembley to see England lift the World Cup. Then, some people thought it was all over; 55 years later, it isn’t NOW! Unfortunately, I won’t be going this time around, but I will be watching it on TV like most.

Just a side note, before we continue, if we lift the Euro Championships trophy, then those players stocks will hit the roof. This will be good news for Levy, as he can also demand what he wants for Kane, or he will be forced to stay for another season.

Yes, England’s 55-year wait to reach a significant Football Cup Final is over at last after our great victory over Denmark at Euro 2020; on a night of nerve-shredding tension, not only on the pitch but for the millions watching the game around England and the world.

I didn’t think Gareth Southgate had it in him; however, we all saw his side beat a 55-year jinx so that we can meet Italy in the Final at Wembley (it is coming home, Sweet Caroline!).

Because of COVID, Wembley’s capacity was limited to 66,000 fans, but that didn’t stop them from creating a brilliant atmosphere, a frenzied mood, excitement and total joy, and that was just before the final whistle.

The Game

The first strike was to Denmark after we conceded our first tournament goal to Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning free-kick after 30 minutes. But nine minutes later, we quickly replied as their Denmark captain Simon Kjaer hit the ball into his own net.

But full credit to Schmeichel, who played like a hero as the Danes pursued the winner, saving brilliantly from Harry Maguire and Harry Kane as the game went into extra time.

Then it was finally time; our England captain Kane stood over the ball on the penalty spot, looking around him, thinking like a predator, waiting to bounce. All this was possible as Raheem Sterling had been fouled by Joakim Maehle.

Even though it was a penalty, Denmark played the game of the hard done by and sulked, complained and showed their unhappiness with the decision, but “the computer (VAR) said yes”.

But nothing was simple in the tension of the moment, as Kane suddenly struck straight at the keeper, he saved it! But there was a rebound; Kane finally got the ball in the back of the net. It was all over bar the shouting. The crowds went wild; we at home were having fits and going berserk. Before you knew it and the euphoria had started to die down, the final whistle was blown, it was over. Then we did the excitement all over again. We were through to the final. Fifty-five years after our first historic Final, we made it to another one.

Our Kane has now equalled Gary Lineker’s long-standing record of 10 goals for England at major tournaments.

What an unforgettable night; my memories went back to that afternoon 55 years ago. I felt light-headed then (at the age of 11), and now light-headed all over again at the age of 65.

England went into this semi-final on a wave of expectation and optimism after the last-16 victory against Germany at Wembley, followed by the categorical 4-0 annihilation of Ukraine in the quarter-final in Rome.

Southgate’s team had none something no England manager had done since Sir Alf Ramsey’s World Cup winners. Can we do it again and go that extra mile and capture another great trophy? Are we entering a golden period under Southgate’s boys? Hopefully, yes to both questions.

At least Kane is back at his best, which is good as he will be facing two great Italian central-defensive players in Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Kane and the team are going to need their wits about them to overcome a strong Italian side.

Harry Maguire is now back where Southgate wants him, as defensive leader. Sterling also had a good tournament, which reflected in the run that earned us a match-winning penalty, hitting at the heart of Denmark’s outstanding defence until he finally drew the crucial mistake. As for the others, they all played their part magnificently.

Full marks to the brave Denmark players, though; they are a massive credit to their coach Kasper Hjulmand. Denmark didn’t roll over and die but made it an awkward night for us, but might just curse the failure to defend their lead to half-time against opponents who were on the ropes when they went ahead. This was a painful night for coach Hjulmand, his team and Denmark as a whole.

But what a great evening, whether there or at home, the English nation celebrated as one. Even the Danish fans applauded us. Next up, Sunday and the Finals. Whether at home or in Wembley, get behind the team; we can do it; after all, it is at home!

All the best, Glenn

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