Denmark took the lead in its Euro 2020 semi-final against England courtesy of a stunning free kick before the hosts hit back soon after.
The home crowd at Wembley was rocked when 21-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard scored with a strike described by commentators as “extraordinary” and “Danish dynamite”.
Damsgaard got the ball over the wall and down again in time as it sailed into the top-left corner, evading Jordan Pickford’s desperate dive.
“They have been absolutely stunned by that Damsgaard free kick,” one TV commentator said of the English fans inside the stadium.
Euro 2021: Denmark have scored first in their semi final clash against England behind a stunning free kick from 21 year old Mikkel Damsgaard….
Euro 2021: Denmark have scored first in their semi final clash against England behind a stunning free kick from 21 year old Mikkel Damsgaard.
But less than 10 minutes later those same fans found their voice. Captain Harry Kane slotted a lovely ball in behind the Danish defence for Bukayo Saka, who slipped a pass across the face of goal for Raheem Sterling.
Denmark defender Simon Kjaer slid to try and stop the ball reaching Sterling, but he only succeeded in putting the ball in the back of his own net and it was 1-1 — which is how it remained at halftime.
England’s goal came just minutes after Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel made an incredible save from close-range, denying Sterling from a couple of metres out.
England wasn’t down for long.Source:Getty Images
A flurry of action started the second half as Denmark peppered the Englad goal. Pickford made a smart save low to his right to prevent a low drive going in, while at the other end Schmeichel pulled off a brilliant stop as he too moved to his right to prevent Harry Maguire getting on the score sheet from a corner.
Maguire received a yellow card for being too agressive in an aerial challenge.
Approaching the 70th minute, England coach Gareth Southgate replaced Saka with attacking weapon Jack Grealish, who has played a starring role for England this tournament as a super sub doing his best work in the front third.
Star shreds England with five words
Saka returned to the England starting line-up for this morning’s clash against Denmark as Gareth Southgate’s men aim to reach a first major tournament final in 55 years.
Saka missed the 4-0 thrashing of Ukraine in Saturday’s quarter-final due to a minor injury, but has impressed in his two starts of the tournament so far against the Czech Republic and Germany.
Southgate opted for a back four rather than switching to five at the back to match up Denmark’s preferred system like he did in the 2-0 last-16 win over Germany.
Denmark are unchanged from their quarter-final win over the Czechs in Baku. Kasper Dolberg keeps his place up front after scoring three times in the last two games with RB Leipzig’s Yussuf Poulsen left on the bench.
Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel brought the laughs the day before the game when asked at a press conference what it would mean to his team to “stop it coming home” — a reference to the phrase “It’s coming home” used by English football fans to denote impending success on the world stage.
“Has it ever been home?” he said. “I don’t know, have you ever won it?”
England won the 1966 World Cup, but have never won the European Championship.
Meanwhile, England football legend Gary Neville has expressed fears England will become the “nearly men” of world football if they lose a second successive major semi-final.
England surprisingly reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup in Russia and that led to increased expectations at this tournament, especially as all but one of their games have been in London.
This has already been a landmark event for England, who are yet to concede a goal, with a defeat of Germany in the last 16 their first knockout win over the Germans since the 1966 World Cup final — the last time they won a major tournament.
Is it coming home?Source:Getty Images
England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, Mason Mount; Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane (capt), Raheem Sterling Coach: Gareth Southgate (ENG)
Denmark: Kasper Schmeichel; Andreas Christensen, Simon Kjaer (capt), Jannik Vestergaard; Jens Stryger Larsen, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Thomas Delaney, Joakim Maehle; Martin Braithwaite, Kasper Dolberg, Mikkel Damsgaard Coach: Kasper Hjulmand (DEN)
Referee: Danny Makkelie (NED)
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