ROME: England return to Wembley with two wins after a debut European league title after recording their biggest win in tournament history with a 4-0 demolition of Ukraine in the quarter-finals in Rome.
After successfully negotiating a trip to the Stadio Olimpico, Gareth Southgate’s side will have the support of some 60,000 fans when they face Denmark for a place in the final on Wednesday.
Three years after a bitter World Cup semi-final loss to Croatia, England have the chance to overcome that disappointment and end a long wait for silverware.
With the rest of the competition to be played out in London and the Covid-19 restrictions severely limiting traveling fans, they are unlikely to have a better opportunity to add to the 1966 World Cup victory.
“Teams have to go a little way and they have to feel pain sometimes to progress,” Southgate said.
“We have had a great night’s sleep over the past four years, but we’ve had some painful ones as well and that has certainly helped us prepare for another tournament.”
Unlike Russia, where Harry Kane’s hot start quickly became a distant memory as England entered the knockout stage, the Tottenham striker appears to have regained his form at the perfect time.
While the attack began on another famous night in the Italian capital, 24 years after a goalless draw, qualification for the 1998 World Cup has been secured, the defense remains intact.
“To come here, prepare differently, play in a historic stadium on a night that was beautiful for football with the weather that inspired the players,” Southgate said.
“They gave a fantastic performance, not only the players who started but the players who entered the game.”
“The recognition at times like tonight was that we didn’t want to take a step back. We really wanted to grab an opportunity. I thought the players were decisive and ruthless all night,” he added.
England have tied their tally of four goals in their previous four games in just 90 minutes as they tear up a vulnerable Ukrainian backline.
Jadon Sancho looked sharp on his first start of Euro 2020, with Raheem Sterling impressive again, and Mason Mount showed no signs of rust after missing the last two games after being forced to step up. in quarantine.
Such was the dominance of England’s display that Jack Grealish, who played a pivotal role coming off the bench in the victory over Germany, was kept in reserve with Phil Foden.
“We’re on the right track for sure, but we haven’t done anything yet,” Kane said.
“We have a huge semi-final to look forward to now at Wembley. What an opportunity, what a time to be involved.
“We have a vision of where we want to be, we are going step by step and so far everything is fine, so we are going to recover now, gain the confidence from this game but we are expecting a difficult team in Denmark. “
Denmark is riding a wave of emotion sparked by the near-tragedy of Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in his opening match.
They dream of a repeat of their 1992 triumph and could ruin the England party yet, having beaten them 1-0 at Wembley last year in the Nations League.
“It’s an amazing game to be a part of. To be able to lead a team at any game at Wembley is special, to have a semi-final is very special,” said Southgate.
“We won’t win the game because we are at home. We have to play well and we have a fabulous opportunity.
“It’s a chance to make history. We’ve never been in a European Championship final, it’s not so much pressure but it’s another challenge for these players. “
Passing Denmark and Italy or Spain would wait until July 11, rightly one of the traditional powers of Europe, the last obstacle standing in the way of England’s glory.-AFP