England vs Denmark: Euro 2020 second semi-final preview

Denmark recovered from two losses to make the last-four; England have yet to concede in the tournament.

England's Ben White, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Reece James during training before the semi-final [Lee Smith/Reuters]

When: Wednesday, July 7
Where: Wembley Stadium, London
Kick-off: 19:00 GMT

Denmark will have to do what no team has done against England at the Euro 2020 to reach the tournament final: score a goal.

The Danes recovered from two losses in their opening games of the tournament and will take on England in the second semi-final at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday.

Denmark not only lost two matches but also its best player, midfielder Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest in the team’s opening match and had to be resuscitated on the field with a defibrillator.

He is now recovering at home but could attend the final.

This is also the farthest Denmark have gotten at a major football tournament since winning the European Championship title in 1992.

England, meanwhile, have not lost a match or concede a goal so far at Euro 2020 and will be playing at their national football stadium.

Road to the semi-finals

Beat Croatia 1-0
Drew 0-0 with Scotland
Beat Czech Republic 1-0
Beat Germany 2-0
Beat Ukraine 4-0

Lost 0-1 to Finland
Lost 1-2 to Belgium
Beat Russia 4-1
Beat Wales 4-0
Beat Czech Republic 2-1

Can England make it to the final?

Since winning the 1966 World Cup, England have reached only four major semi-finals, losing at the 1990 and 2018 World Cups, as well as Euro 1968 and 1996, when Gareth Southgate infamously missed a crucial penalty in the shoot-out against Germany.

But the current side was impressive in their 4-0 dismantling of Ukraine in Rome on Saturday, heralding a wave of euphoria in the country as media showered the team in praise.

Southgate has been keen to keep the burden of history out of his team’s thinking. If he needs a way to bring his players back down to earth before the semi-final, he does not have to look back far for a warning against complacency.

An England side containing 10 of the current squad lost 0-1 to Denmark in a Nations League match at Wembley last October.

There was a similar feeling among England fans after they beat Sweden in the quarter-finals of the World Cup three years ago in Russia only to fall to Croatia in the semis.

Denmark’s turnaround

After two losses, the Danes managed to get out of Group B with a rousing 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen before thrashing Wales 4-0 in Amsterdam.

In the quarter-final, they beat a well-organised Czech side 2-1 in the heat of Baku.

In attack, Martin Braithwaite creates the spaces which Mikkel Damsgaard and Kasper Dolberg have exploited well and there is a threat from attacking wing-backs Jens Stryger Larsen and the excellent Joakim Maehle.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Thomas Delaney are a firm presence in the centre of midfield while the backline in front of goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has been solid.

‘Has football ever come home?’

England’s “Football’s coming home” anthem – roared by fans at Wembley after the Germany game – does not sit well with everyone.

Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel took a cheeky swipe at the supposedly triumphalist song, saying: “Has it ever been home? I don’t know, have you ever won it?”

Ericksen shirt presentation

England captain Harry Kane and manager Southgate shared the team’s plan to make a shirt presentation in honour of Eriksen ahead of the semi-final.

“I’m good friends with Chris and, yeah, of course, it will be sad to not see him there,” said Kane.

“He’s a big part of their success over the years and, of course, it was a terrible thing that happened to him. The main thing is that he’s doing well and he’s obviously recovering well, and I’m sure he’ll be rooting for Denmark more than he’ll be rooting for me, for sure.

“So, yeah, of course, there will be a presentation just to show our support from obviously all of us here at England.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies