England eye first major final in 55 years


England are preparing to face Denmark in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Three Lions know that victory will secure them a place in a major men’s tournament final for the first time since 1966.

Gareth Southgate’s side will face Italy in Sunday’s final if they defeat the Danes in front of around 60,000 mostly England fans at Wembley.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday night, the coach said they are on a mission to change things and make their own history.

“We don’t have as good a football history as we like to believe sometimes. These players are making massive strides and breaking down barriers all the time.

“We have never been to a European Championship final so we can be the first England team to do that which is really exciting.”

Travel restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom government to curb the spread of Covid-19 means fans based in Denmark will not be able to cheer on their team at Wembley.

Instead some 6,000 tickets for the semi-final have been made available to Danes living in the UK. The Danish FA has sent 1,000 jerseys and other red and white merchandise to London for fans attending.

England, who have never won the European Championship, are looking to reach a first major tournament final in 55 years.

They have appeared in five previous World Cup or European Championship semi-finals, but only advanced once.

However, there is mounting excitement and hope has turned to expectation. The expectation is that Southgate’s side can deliver a first major tournament triumph since the 1966 World Cup.

Cars and homes are decorated with England flags while pubs have been given permission to stay open for an extra 45 minutes until midnight in case the semi-final at Wembley, which kicks-off at 21:00 (SA time) goes to extra time and penalties.

Meanwhile, England supporters have been serenading their team through the tournament with chants of ‘Football’s Coming Home’, the anthem that first became popular when the Three Lions reached the Euro 96 semi-finals.

Asked what it would mean to ruin England’s dreams of Euro glory, Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel said nothing is coming home.

“Has it ever been home? I don’t know. Have you ever won it?,” a laughing Schmeichel asked.

But England captain Harry Kane said the team was in a strong position to put that right.

“He’s right in terms it hasn’t ‘come home’ in this competition for us. We know if we can get it right then it should be enough to get us over the line.”

In 2018, his side were denied a place in the World Cup final after an extra time defeat against Croatia in Moscow, but Southgate has put that behind him.

“We are ready for the game, the players are ready, they have got tremendous experience themselves having been in this situation before,” said Southgate.

“Our preparations have been calm and we know we are playing a very good opponent. It’s going to be a really tight game and an exciting game for everybody.”

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By FARPost reporter