Next stop the Final! England in wild celebrations after Euros semi-final win

·4-min read

Harry Kane declared England are “one more game” from history as the jubilant nation’s focus turned to the team’s most important football match since 1966.

The Three Lions last night booked their place in the Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday at Wembley with yet another stirring victory over strong opposition from Denmark.

It was the captain who scored the winner when he pounced on the rebound from his extra-time penalty to make it 2-1 to England.

After the semi-final, played in front of more than 60,000 nervous but ultimately euphoric England fans, including the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William, Kane added: “We got there when it mattered. We reacted really well and we’re in a final at home. What a feeling. We know it’s going to be a very tough game against Italy. We’ve had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home.”

Beyond Wembley, 25.8 million fans tuned into the game on ITV, making it the most watched live TV event of the year so far. That was almost five million more than the 20.9 million who saw the quarter-final victory over Ukraine.

An audience of 20.6 million watched England beat Germany before that and audiences have continued to rise as the team has progressed — with Sunday’s final expected to pull in even larger numbers. At this rate it should surpass the 26.5 million who watched England lose the 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia.

The success of the Euros coverage surpasses other major events such as the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, which was viewed by 18 million people. The desperate scramble for tickets for Sunday’s final began the second that referee Danny Makkelie blew his whistle to signal the end of extra time last night.

Today a pair of tickets with full hospitality in the Uefa Bobby Moore lounge were being advertised for a total of £40,707 on a resale website.

The seats themselves were £15,656 each with a “service fee” and tax of £4,969 on top. Even the cheapest tickets were £4,550 each.

The end of the match triggered wild scenes of celebration in the West End where ecstatic crowds filled Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.

At one stage around 20 fans climbed on the roof of a No 9 bus stranded in crowds of supporters as it tried to turn down Haymarket. They were later cleared from the bus by police in riot gear.

All eyes are now once again turning to Wembley where England will square up to the Azzurri for the chance to lift the Henri Delaunay trophy. It is only the second time in their history that the Three Lions have made it to a major final, the previous occasion being the 4-2 World Cup win over West Germany more than half a century ago.

It gives Gareth Southgate, Kane and his men the chance to emulate the achievement of Sir Alf Ramsey, Bobby Moore and the rest of the 1966 squad after so many “years of hurt”. Last night Southgate told ITV that England had managed to “put right” the decades of disappointment and under-performance, which included his own penalty shoot out miss in the semi-final of the Euro 96 tournament at Wembley.

City economists have forecast that a win on Sunday could unlock up to £10 billion of spending as the nation indulges in a euphoric binge after the grim years of the pandemic and the divisive Brexit process.

Marks & Spencer said on Thursday that it expects sales of pizza and ready meals to jump 40 per cent ahead of the Euros final, while crisps and savoury snacks will be up 50 per cent and dips sales will double.

The chain has already seen sales of fish and chips surge 30 per cent on match days and is selling more than 400 sharing bags of hand-cooked British crisps per minute.

Former England stars today paid tribute to Southgate and his team. Tony Adams, who captained England at the Euro 96 tournament, said he was “proud” of Southgate. “I’m very proud of him, proud of all the guys to be honest with you,” Adams told Good Morning Britain.

Former England striker Teddy Sheringham said he never doubted current Three Lions No 9 star Kane, who failed to score in England’s three group games but has now scored four goals in three knock-out matches.

“First of all I never doubted Harry for one moment,” Sheringham told talkSPORT.

“He is the leader, he knows he is good and it is very hard to tell people in the newspapers ‘yeah I’m good, I am the best centre-forward in the world’ without being a flash git.

“But he is saying it in a way where he knows he is good, in fact he is better than that, he is great, and he knew it would come.”

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