England face Denmark in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 at Wembley on Wednesday night.
Gareth Southgate’s side will be looking to make history under the arch, while the visitors continue on their quest to emulate their surprise 1992 European Championship success.
Here we look ahead to some of the key talking points ahead of the game.
1966 and all that …
England are on the cusp of reaching their first major final since winning the World Cup in 1966. Many have tried but none have succeeded since Sir Alf Ramsey’s wingless wonders lifted the Jules Rimet trophy 55 years ago. If Southgate can guide his side into Sunday’s final, they will still have a major task on their hands to emulate their predecessors but it will be considered a fine tournament for the Three Lions even if they fall at the final hurdle.
Wembley may have been knocked down and rebuilt since 1966 but England have almost certainly benefited from the majority of their Euro 2020 fixtures being played at home. All three Group D clashes as well as the pulsating 2-0 win over Germany in the last 16 took place at Wembley. After a detour to beat Ukraine in Rome this past Saturday, England return home for the Denmark clash and will be roared on by an increased crowd, expected to be in and around 66,000 supporters.
Denmark are not only ranked No 10 in the Fifa rankings but also go into the game – as Southgate said – “riding a wave of emotion”. Their tournament could have ended when Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch during their opening game of the finals against Finland. The Inter Milan playmaker was rushed to hospital as his teammates cried, lost the game and had to regather themselves for the remainder of the competition – something they have done to such a degree that they have made it all the way to the last four.
The Shawberto Show
Luke Shaw laughed off criticism from former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho earlier in the finals and has since excelled on the left side of the England defence. So much so he has been likened to Roberto Carlos, who commented on an Instagram post by Shaw and told the PA news agency that the England ace has “everything to get to the top”. Shaw provided two assists in the 4-0 win over Ukraine and will be keen to play his part against Denmark.
No goals allowed
While Shaw has been assisting at one end, he has also been a component of an England defence which is yet to be breached during Euro 2020. It is now five clean sheets and counting for Southgate’s side, with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford still unbeaten this summer. Adding their two warm-up wins, England have already set a new record for consecutive clean sheets and another on Wednesday will all but secure them a place in the final.
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