England advances to the Euro final after Kane’s extra-time goal

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England won their first semi-final since the 1966 World Cup when Harry Kane’s extra-time goal, which came after his penalty was saved, gave them a 2-1 triumph over Denmark on Wednesday and advanced them to the Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday.

England reached the European Championship final for the first time in front of approximately 60,000 spectators, the majority of whom were ecstatic with excitement, despite having to come from behind after a Simon Kjaer own goal cancelled out Mikkel Damsgaard’s spectacular free kick for the Danes in the first half.

The hosts were on top throughout but were unable to break down the tenacious Danish defense until a penalty was granted in the 103rd minute after Raheem Sterling was brought down with minimal contact, allowing captain Kane to decide the game.

Denmark’s fatigued players exited Wembley with socks rolled down but heads held high, after their dramatic journey from the anxiety and agony of Christian Eriksen’s opening game failure to their first semi-final since their shock Euro 92 success.

On Sunday, England will return to the stadium where they won the World Cup 55 years ago, but they did it the hard way.

After 30 minutes, Damsgaard scored the tournament’s first goal direct from a free kick, sending a powerful, dipping 25-yard free kick over the wall and past Jordan Pickford. The crowd was taken aback; that had not been in the script, and now the question of how England would respond to their first taste of adversity would be addressed.

As they made their way back into the ascendancy, they responded calmly and quietly. Kasper Schmeichel denied Raheem Sterling at point-blank range before Bukayo Saka hit the byline and fizzed over a low cross that Kjaer pushed over his own line in an attempt to avoid the ball reaching Sterling in the 39th minute.

  Photo: Reuters

England began to turn the screw when Schmeichel made another stunning diving stop to swat away a Harry Maguire header.

Despite all of the pressure and constant passing and probing around the box, England was unable to create a clear opening, and the game went into extra time.

The extra 30 minutes turned into a virtual attack vs. defense battle, with Schmeichel saving Kane and Jack Grealish once more.

Sterling kept driving into the box, ultimately being pulled down by Joakim Maehle for the VAR-reviewed penalties, which Kane missed and Schmeichel blocked, only for the captain to tuck home the rebound.

The final 15 minutes were subsequently negotiated by England, who managed to elicit the loudest, and perhaps most confident, performance of “Football’s Coming Home” ever heard at Wembley.

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