England beat Denmark 2-1 in thrilling match to reach Euro 2020 final

7 July 2021, 18:21 | Updated: 8 July 2021, 09:08

Kane after scoring England's second goal
Kane after scoring England's second goal. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

England have reached their first major final in 55 years after beating Denmark 2-1 in extra time in a thrilling Euro 2020 semi-final at Wembley.

Harry Kane's dramatic winner came after his penalty - won by Raheem Sterling - was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, but he buried the rebound just before half-time in the additional period.

The goal sent supporters across England into delirium, including the majority of the 60,000 fans who watched the game from the stands.

Gareth Southgate's team will play in-form Italy in Sunday’s final.

Sterling celebrates after his equaliser
Sterling celebrates after his equaliser. Picture: PA

The last time England reached a major final was in 1966, when they defeated West Germany to lift the World Cup.

They have never reached a European Championship final before now, with their last semi-final, in 1996, ending in a missed penalty from Southgate during a shoot-out against Germany.

READ MORE: Fans flock to pubs hours ahead of England's Euro 2020 clash vs Denmark

Schmeichel had been the hero for the Danes, keeping out Kane, Harry Maguire and Sterling with a series of fine stops.

With the sides locked at 1-1, Kane was denied when he broke into the penalty area and fired a shot across the Danish goalkeeper minutes into extra time, as England piled on the pressure in search of a winner.

Damsgaard's brilliant free kick gave Denmark the lead
Damsgaard's brilliant free kick gave Denmark the lead. Picture: PA

The game was played at a frenetic pace, with both sides looking dangerous at times.

Denmark had started slowly but grew in confidence as the first half wore on, with Pierre-Emile Hojgberg forcing Jordan Pickford into a save and Martin Braithwaite shooting wide immediately afterwards following an error from the England goalkeeper.

Mikkel Damsgaard curled a strike wide before he struck a superb free-kick beyond Pickford just before the half-hour mark to give Denmark the lead.

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An own goal from Simon Kjær brought the scores level five minutes before half-time, putting it into his own net under pressure from Sterling after a low cross from Bukayo Saka.

England's best first-half chances had fallen to Sterling, who moments before the equaliser was denied by a brilliant Schmeichel save following Kane's cross.

He came close to connecting with another excellent cross from Kane early in the game, before shooting straight at Schmeichel when well positioned in the penalty area.

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Maguire went closest for England in the second half when his header was kept out by another stunning save from Schmeichel.

As the tension grew, the Denmark goalkeeper kept out a Mason Mount cross which threatened to dip under his crossbar, before Kane had a penalty shout rejected by referee Danny Makkelie.

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Maguire was again denied in stoppage time before the final whistle blew and the game entered extra time.

England had yet to concede a goal at the Euros and a patriotic spirit has swept the nation, with fans showing they are right behind the team.

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Cars and homes have been decked with England flags, while supporters flocked to pubs and bars and packed the fan zone in Trafalgar Square.

Hundreds of fans flooded the Olympic Way route to Wembley Stadium before kick-off chanting "It's coming home" and "Southgate you're the one".

After the game, Kane tweeted: "Support tonight was unreal!!! Thank you England!"

Raheem Sterling added: "Final Bound ... Come on England!!!"

Prince William, the president of the Football Association, was among those watching the game from the stands, as was Prime Minister Boris Johnson and wife Carrie.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official Twitter account posted: "What a game, what a result! A huge team effort.

"The whole country will be behind you on Sunday."

Mr Johnson said: "Tonight England played their hearts out. What a fantastic performance from Gareth Southgate’s squad. Now to the final. Let’s bring it home."