England v Denmark Review: Euros 2020
July 8th, 2021 | Football
What a historic night for England. They’ve reached a final of a major tournament for the first time since 1966. Years of fine margins going against the England team, strange tactical decisions from managers and inconsistent results and performances. But throughout this tournament and last night, England have been clinical in the final third, defended well, made the most of fine margins and got their fair share of luck, all things you need if you want to do well in a tournament.
It wasn’t England’s best performance, but it did the job in an important game. England started really well for the first ten or fifteen minutes, but then went through a rough patch, which ultimately ended up in some free-kicks getting conceded and Denmark taking the lead. It was a brilliant free-kick and was hit with pace, but the scrappy rough patch of play prior to it led to the free-kick being conceded. So now England had to answer the question all England fans wondered “What if we go behind? How will the lads respond?” The answer? Brilliantly. The leaders in the team, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire stepped up and calmed the lads down. The moment England went 1-0 down, you could see Harry Kane telling his teammates to keep their heads and encouraging them to stay calm and patient, play the game not the occasion. England turned up the heat. They drove forwards, passed the ball quicker, the centre-backs and Luke Shaw keep carrying the ball forward, pushing Denmark further back. This pressure led to a couple of chances including Raheem Sterling being denied from around four yards out and a couple of moments where the final pass or decision wasn’t quite right. But only nine minutes after Denmark’s England pressure ultimately proved too much for the Danes as a brilliant England move forced an own goal from Denmark Captain Simon Kjaer. Harry Kane fed Bukayo Saka in the inside-right channel before the youngster put in a dangerous ball across the six-yard-box which if Kjaer hadn’t put into his own goal, it mostly like would’ve been tapped in by Raheem Sterling. England continued their pressure until half-time, which came at a good time for the Danes.
The second half was much better from England. The three-lions pushed and continued flurries forward throughout the half, with Denmark seemingly playing for extra-time. The Danes sat back with their back five system and hardly threatened the England goal in the second half. They didn’t even defend that well from set-pieces and open play, with Kasper Schmeichel being responsible for the game going to extra-time, brilliantly denying Harry Maguire, tipping a Mason Mount chipped cross/shot over the bar and looking assured throughout the game.
England couldn’t force a goal in the 90 minutes, so the game went to extra time. But they picked up from where they left off. Dominating the ball, being patient and spending pretty much the whole time in and around Denmark’s box. Eventually, the pressure took its toll on the Danes again and Raheem Sterling went down under pressure from Maehle and won England a penalty. Harry Kane, the in-form captain, world-renowned penalty taker, had a tame spot-kick saved but was alert enough to tuck home the rebound past the in-form Kasper Schmeichel.
At half-time of extra-time Gareth Southgate, who has again silenced his doubters, made the decision to change system from the 4-2-3-1 to the 3-4-3 by bringing on Kieran Trippier for Jack Grealish, who impressed off the bench and saw out the game. England controlled the second half of the second half of extra time really well. The first ten minutes or so they defended well and sat quite deep, but regained their composure for the last five minutes or so, with Jordan Henderson being key to that. Of course Denmark were down to ten men in the second half due to an unfortunate injury and Denmark not having any subs left. But still, credit to the lads on managing the game and defending well when necessary.
Overall it was a close game decided by fine margins, but I still think England were the only team who attacked and looked like they wanted to win the game in the 120 minutes and deservedly won the game to advance to the final against Italy. (Upcoming article previewing the final).
England Player Ratings: Pickford (4), Shaw (7), Maguire (8), Stones (7), Walker (8), Rice (7), Philips (8), Sterling (8), Mount (6), Saka (7), Kane (8).
England Subs Ratings: Grealish (7), Henderson (7), Trippier (6), Foden (8).
Denmark Player Ratings: Schmeichel (8), Vestergaard (6), Kjaer (7), Christensen (7), Maehle (4), Delaney (6), Hojbjerg (7), Larsen (7), Damsgaard (7), Dolberg (6), Braithwaite (5).
Denmark Subs Ratings: Andersen (6), Norgaard (6), Wass (5), Wind (6), Poulsen (6), Jensen (6).
MOTM: Kyle Walker
It was a tight call picking man of the match for this game. I thought Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Harry Maguire were fantastic for England. Kasper Schmeichel was outstanding in goal for the Danes and was closest to being Man of the Match out of the aforementioned players. But my man of the match is Kyle Walker. He was brilliant defensively, helped teammates out with his recovery pace, was good on the ball and kept his concentration. He was physical, aggressive and has shown why he is England’s first-choice right-back. He also seamlessly slotted into a back-three in the second half of extra-time when Kieran Trippier was subbed on right-wing-back.
Please note: The football articles that feature on this site are being written by Jack Dixon as part of his work experience. He is a teenager and looking for work experience within the football industry. He is currently studying for his media and art A-levels.