(EFE) .- England flirted with fear and the semifinals lost in the past before a brave Denmark and willing to resist, which endured them for 104 minutes, until Harry Kane, with a controversial referee, sent the ‘Three Lions’ to his first final in the history of the European Championship (2-1).
The English have had to wait 61 years to savor this pleasure, but, finally, the inventors of football are watching the glory closely, after an extension suffered as a childbirth and a match against Italy away from touching metal 55 years later.
A controversial penalty goal by Kane in extra time, after a match in which Mikkel Damsgaard put the Danes ahead with the first free-kick of the tournament, and in which Simon Kjaer made the own goal, made it possible to win more important one of Gareth Southgate’s in a long time.
England was used to going out to rule. To feel comfortable on your Wembley pitch. But Denmark has become the ‘tickler’ of the Euro and prevailed at the beginning with personality, grit and good manners. For several minutes they tied up the English, who did not understand what was happening. It was a new script for them.
There were close-ups from Damsgaard and Braithwaite and Pickford was unsure. He missed his first four passes. England had a hard time stretching because their midfield wasn’t working and Mount was missing. Only Kane’s descents unblocked a team, whose passivity was executed by a whip from Damsgaard.
The Dane caught a free kick outside the box and curved it enough for Pickford to miss. The goalkeeper could do more, but the shot was beautiful. It smelled of ‘maracanazo’ at Wembley with the first Euro free-kick. A moral one also because it meant the first that England fit in the tournament and that broke a streak of 691 minutes without fitting in an official match.
And amid all the fear of a horrible defeat for England, one of the worst in their history if it happened, came Kane’s calm. The forward received in three quarters, in his role of 10, turned around and took a straight golf kick, to Maehle’s back, and for Saka to penetrate like a knife. The Arsenal man despaired in the stands, taking it long to give it to Sterling on goal. He did it late, when the play was dying and Sterling did not arrive, but Kjaer did, who got the ball into his goal.
With the draw, England gained a point of calm, but not of control. Denmark again had a very strong 20 minutes after the break, but without a bite, while England felt more powerful when facing the defense of five Danes. Maguire, chanted by the stands, had her head, but a great stretch from Schmeichel prevented the goal.
Despite the English push, before a scared Denmark, the party asked for an extension. And England continued the siege. Kane tried it, Grealish, who had started 20 minutes to go, Sterling … The Danes waited behind a miracle or some penalties that would save them, while Southgate threw more dynamite on the field. Phil Foden inside, the whole team on the Danish pitch.
And by its own weight the moment arrived, a sterling boarding on the wing, after a sensational pass from Foden ended with the Englishman on the ground, while the Danes protested that there were two balls in the field, and that the contact had been negligible. The VAR reviewed it, but did not change the decision of the Dutch Danny Makkelie. Penalty for England. With suspense, because Kane failed him, but he was left with the frank rejection to push.
England will return to their temple next Sunday, tasked with beating Italy and certifying the title 61 years later. Avoided the ‘maracanazo’, wait for the glory.