KEIR RADNEDGE at WEMBLEY: Some 25 years ago Gareth Southgate missed a crucial penalty at Wembley and England lost a Euro semi-final shootout to Germany. Now he has led England to the Euro 2020 final as manager. Destiny was surely awaiting ahead of the 2-1 extra-time win over Denmark.
England will face an outstanding Italy in Sunday’s final and the Italians will have had one more day in which to rest and recuperate.
In the meantime England can enjoy the moment.
Southgate said: “I always felt we would get there tonight but I knew it might be a tortuous path. We’ve been so smooth through the knockout stages we knew we would have a hurdle to overcome. We knew Denmark are a great side, they had huge support with them.
“The great thing about this group of players is that they’ve had so many different experiences and found so many different ways to win matches that they didn’t panic at the those moments, they withstood, they came back and clawed their way back into the game.
The big advantage was having our fans in those moments of the game where we had to dig in and towards the end where we had a little wobble where all we needed to do was to keep the ball. When you’ve waited as long as we have that was inevitably going to be part of the mind set.
“In the end it’s a wonderful evening for our fans, for our public and for our country.”
Southgate was full of praise for the beaten Danes.
He said: “They ran out of steam at the end but they’ve had an incredible tournament and I have to give my congratulations to them.
“To a man they have been amazing and the captain Simon Kjaer has been an incredible person. What he did on the day Christian Eriksen went down, tonight was our night but he’s been an incredible leader through this.”
Now Southgate and his coaching staff will have to put this match behind them before they focus on Sunday.
He said: “This group of players have been fantastic to work with, their togetherness, those not in the team supporting their team mates, they deserve what’s happening. They’ve been a joy to work with.
“We have one more step against a fantastic team who are unbeaten in however many matches we know the size of the task, we know they have those two warriors at the back who have seen all this before. But what a brilliant moment for us. Let’s savour tonight then we can think about that on the coach back to Burton.”