England and Denmark fight for right to face Italy in Euro 2020 final

·2-min read

England take on Denmark on Wednesday night at Wembley aiming to reach their first final at a major international tournament since the 1966 World Cup.

England won that game against Germany but since then have failed to claim any silverware. England teams have reached the semis at World Cups in 1990 and 2018 and at the European championships in 1996.

The Danes, who cannot boast of a World Cup crown, can at least brandish a European championship. That prize came in 1992 when the competition was fought out between eight teams over 16 days.

Nearly three decades on, 24 nations battle for a month for the Henri Delaunay trophy.

As the tournament nears its climax, Wembley will house around 60,000 spectators after the British government eased the social distancing rules aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t expect Denmark to come being fearful of Wembley,” said England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of the semi-final.

“They’ve got experienced players and they’ll enjoy playing there but we’ve got to make the game one that they don’t enjoy.”

The omens, though, favour the Scandinavians who drew 0-0 with England in September during the Nations League and won 1-0 at Wembley the following month.

Christian Eriksen scored the winner in October. However the midfield playmaker will be absent on Wednesday night after suffering a heart attack during Denmark’s opening game of the tournament against Finland on 12 June in Copenhagen.

Motivation

Eriksen’s teammate, Thomas Delaney, told Uefa.com: "At the start of the tournament, we gave ourselves the goal of coming back to Wembley. With everything that we've been through, it's always been our number one goal.”

Denmark coach, Kasper Hjulmand, added: "It'll be like playing an away game. We're happy that people will be there though obviously we would have loved it if half the stadium was dressed in Danish colours. Our motivation is to silence the spectators, but we know it's going to be difficult."

The winner will meet Italy in Sunday’s final after Roberto Mancini’s men beat Spain on penalties.

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