England has broken through its semifinal ceiling at major football tournaments. A title match awaits for the first time in 55 years.
Harry Kane converted the rebound after his initial penalty was saved in the 104th minute to give England a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Denmark in extra time in the European Championship semifinals today at Wembley Stadium.
England will return to its national football stadium on Monday NZT to play Italy and will be competing in its first final since the 1966 World Cup. That remains England’s only international title.
In the intervening 55 years, the English have lost in the semifinals four times in either the World Cup or the European Championship. For that reason, this will go down as one of the most significant victories in English football history.
Three of those — in 1990, 1996 and 2018 — were decided on penalties. That looked like where the teams were headed until Raheem Sterling wriggled into the area down the right, cut inside and fell under the slightest contact of Mattias Jensen.
VAR was needed to make a ruling with the decision a controversial one.
Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel guessed the right way to block Kane’s penalty, but the England captain reacted quickly and put the ball into the net from six yards out.
Denmark’s players, whose emotionally charged run to the semifinals was powered by a resolve to win the title for Christian Eriksen after his collapse on the field during the group stage, were almost on their knees by that point.
And Danish hopes of an equaliser were damaged by having to play with only 10 men for the second half of extra time after Jensen was forced off injured. Denmark had already used up its six substitutes by then.
England showed another side by rallying for victory after conceding a goal for the first time at Euro 2020 when Mikkel Damsgaard curled a free kick into the top corner in the 30th.
An own-goal by Simon Kjaer in the 39th evened the score, and England dominated the second half against a tiring opponent.
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