England will be up against Denmark in the semi-final of Euro 2020. They will get to play the high-voltage fixture in front of their own fans at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London.
There’s no shortage of confidence in the England camp when they prepare to take on the Danes. The Three Lions routed Ukraine 4-0 in the quarter-final in Rome on Sunday and capped off what has been a wonderful tournament for them so far.
Ahead of the semi, England manager Gareth Southgate has stressed that his side have ‘a very special opportunity’ to send the country to joy. “England matches bring families and communities together,” said Southgate.
Speaking to BBC’s Dan Roan, he added: “The opportunity to bring happiness and create brilliant nights for our fans, our nation, is a very special one that you have when you play with England.”
Coincidentally, Wembley Stadium was also witness to England’s last appearance in the semi-final of the European Championship in 1996.
“They are matches that you remember where you were and some of the nicest messages you get are that people appreciate how the players have been – that they feel they can connect with them – they should be very proud of that.”
If Gareth Southgate and his boys beat Denmark in their semi-final, it would be England’s first appearance in the final of a major international tournament since their 1966 World Cup victory. Asked about his opinion, the England manager said, that it’s more about what the victory would mean to the entire country.
“If you’re a coach it’s a bit like being a parent – you’ve gone past the moment when it’s about you and it’s about what you pass on to others.
“We are better prepared for this semi-final in that we’ve lived it before.
“And although that doesn’t determine winning or losing a game of football, there are a lot of factors that we are aware of and we have dealt with before that help you to prepare in a better way.”
At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, England rode on their easy bracket to the semi-final where they were defeated by Croatia in extra-time. This time around, however, they seem more ready and better prepared.
“So for example after the game in Rome the celebrations were at a certain level, while probably in Russia to get through the first knockout game, and the quarter-final, took a lot of emotional energy.
“In Rome, everyone was quite calm about what was going on and we knew we hadn’t achieved what we wanted to yet, so those things are what prepare you for a big match like this,” Southgate concluded.