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Graham Hunter anticipates


6:39 am
July 7, 2021


Fresh Meat

Posts: 7


Who stars in your combined England and Denmark team ahead of their semi-final meeting? Click on any player and scroll sideways to reveal the options in full.

Three key battles: England vs Denmark
Wednesday 7 July 2021

Where could the game be won and lost? Our team reporters analyse the second semi-final.

Captains Harry Kane and Simon Kjær
Captains Harry Kane and Simon Kjær

England take on Denmark in the second UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final, looking to make the most of home advantage at Wembley.

Will football take another step closer to home, or will Danish dynamite finally blow apart England’s defensive wall?

Watch Kane’s quarter-final double
Harry Kane vs Simon Kjær
Simon Hart, England reporter
The Harry Kane who had just two touches in the opposition box in England’s first game – and cut a peripheral figure throughout the group stage – has made way for the more familiar version: the outstanding goalscorer who, after ending his EURO drought against Germany, looked back to his ruthless best against Ukraine. The left-footed volley which nearly earned him a hat-trick that night was the sign of a striker filled with confidence once more and already he has more goals in open play in this tournament (three) than he managed when winning the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot in 2018. Denmark beware.

Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
The Danish captain is going to have a busy night at Wembley for sure. During the knockout stage, his English counterpart has found his feet and the way to the goal three times. However, Kjær has managed to keep an eye on plenty of other star forwards at this tournament, and had the better of his battles with Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku and Russian focal point Artem Dzyuba. Kane is a different type of striker, but if Denmark are to stay the distance, Kjær will need to stop him just the same.×1z7

Jordan Pickford and Kasper Dolberg
Jordan Pickford and Kasper Dolberg
Jordan Pickford vs Kasper Dolberg
Simon Hart, England reporter
England’s defenders have only allowed their opponents two shots on goal per game on average, but when they have got through there has been no beating Pickford. After a strong finish to the domestic campaign with Everton, he has found peak form in this tournament, making key saves when called upon and showing greater composure, maturity and leadership – the product of his decision to start seeing a sports psychologist during the past season. Having kept clean sheets in his last seven England appearances, he has not conceded a goal for his country since 15 November last year.

Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
Just like Kane, Dolberg has scored three times since the start of the knockout phase. Known as ‘Iceman’ because of the permanently cool expression on his face, he has turned out to be the man with the goals for Denmark since he got the chance against Wales in the absence of the injured Yussuf Poulsen. Now is the time for Dolberg to become the first player at this EURO to put a ball past Pickford.

Luke Shaw and Joakim Mæhle
Luke Shaw and Joakim Mæhle
Luke Shaw vs Joakim Mæhle
Simon Hart, England reporter
Shaw made his England debut in March 2014 but has finally come of age as an international footballer in this tournament. Over the past two matches he has unleashed his attacking potential down the left side to become the first England player since David Beckham in 2000 to deliver three assists in a EURO tournament – with open-play crosses for Raheem Sterling (vs Germany) and Harry Kane as well as his gorgeous free-kick on to the head of Harry Maguire (both vs Ukraine). Indeed, no England player has created more chances (eight) than the Manchester United full-back, who combined brilliantly with Sterling in Rome on Saturday night.

Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
Even though Mæhle and Shaw will not be facing each other directly, the most successful of the two left wing-backs is more than likely to be on the winning team. Mæhle has left a marvellous impression on the tournament, with his runs up the flank producing two goals and an assist. Mæhle is among the few outfield players to have played every minute of the tournament, and it is no coincidence that he is the highest-ranked player in the FedEx Performance Zone form tracker who still has a chance of winning this tournament.

There’s team spirit and then there’s Denmark’s team spirit
England vs Denmark EURO 92 flashback
After a shocking start, the spirit within this team has just grown and grown. Seeing Yussuf Poulsen’s reaction in the stands after Kasper Dolberg, his direct rival for a place in the starting line-up, scored against Wales said it all. The players are there for each other, and nobody questions that the team comes before the individual. All the players know that they are “a part of something bigger”, as the Danish Football Association’s motto says.

Knowing that your team-mates have got your back no matter what makes a difference. That’s how dark horses like Denmark have made it to the semis, and why they could still go further.

The 12th man
Lots of teams at EURO 2020 can call on impressive support, but the backing for this Denmark team has been like nothing I’ve ever seen. Every time they play, time stands still. Right now, the only available time slot for a COVID vaccination in Denmark is when the final kicks off. The Danish ‘roligans’ – literally ‘peaceful hooligans’ – blew the roof off Parken Stadium when Denmark played at home during the group stage, and brought their passion to Amsterdam and even distant Baku in the knockout rounds.

Damsgaard and Denmark dreaming big
Meanwhile back at home, it seems like every little square or local village hall has been turned into a public viewing facility on matchdays, and traffic has stood still on city streets at full-time as fans come out to celebrate in the streets. Martin Braithwaite put it best after the quarter-final win against the Czech Republic: “I wish I were [on Copenhagen's City Hall Square]! I would love to be able to be part of it.”

Denmark keep coming back stronger
The Hydra of Greek myth was a nine-headed water serpent; every time an assailant chopped one of its heads off, two more grew back from the fresh wound. It is a story that has kept coming back to me when I have been thinking about the national team during EURO 2020. Following Christian Eriksen’s medical emergency, Denmark lost their most recognised player and their leader on the park. In his absence, 21-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard – the youngest player in the squad – has stepped up to fill that sizeable creative gap.

Denmark team-mates quiz
When Poulsen and Daniel Wass were ruled out for the round of 16, Kasper Dolberg and Jens Stryger just took over. When Thomas Delaney’s tank is empty, Christian Nørgaard slips in to replace him to perfection. The starting XI is great, but the back-up players continue to take Denmark to a new level.