We have finally reached the business end of the summer. EURO 2020 has reached its penultimate stage as the second semi-finals between Denmark and England at the ever-so-iconic Wembley Stadium. EUROs has had some surprises, some upsets. Some high-intensity clashes and some goalless draws too. The fag end of the tournament is where you expect the bar to be at the highest level. As the world of football comes closer to the day of judgment, we all are equally curious to know as to what is coming home, a trophy, or yet another semi-final exit.
Why should you watch the match?
This is an unpredictable match. Knowing England’s nature of not performing up to their capabilities in the knockout stages makes it more exciting. The real deal here is the mentality with which the Danes will approach this match. This is their first appearance in a semifinal in the EURO competition. The last time they reached this stage, they went on to lift the trophy. Going back in time, their most recent five head-to-head clashes have been rather competitive. Both teams have had an equal share of wins, while one match ended in a stalemate. The last meeting ended in an upset, with Denmark scoring the decisive goal, whilst keeping a clean sheet as well.
England has had a great start to their campaign, defensively. They are yet to concede a goal in the tournament. Wise pundits often say that attack wins you matches, but defense wins you championships. And the resolute England defense seems to be on their way marching towards the trophy. They had a quiet start on the attacking front, scoring a solitary goal in their first two matches of the group stage. But after beating the Czech Republic and topping the group table, England beat their rivals Germany in a comfortable, yet late 2-0 win at Wembley in the RO16. Quarter-Finals came against a relatively easier opponent, Ukraine, as Gareth Southgate’s men headed the team home with a 4-0 win.
Gareth Southgate could match Denmark’s 3 at the back formation as he did against Germany. This keeps one attacker out of the starting XI.
(EURO 2020): WDWWW
Formation – (3-4-1-2)
Defenders: Walker, Maguire, Stones
Midfielders: James, Phillips, Rice, Mason, Shaw
Attackers: Sterling, Kane
Players to watch out for
Captain Kane will be looking to carry forward his goalscoring run into the semifinals. With three goals coming in just the last two matches, he will be looking to lead the scoring charts for the team once again. However, the supply to the center forward will be the key in the number 9 taking his chances at goal. He could nevertheless score the decisive penalty too.
Raheem Sterling seems to have found his rhythm this Euros. Scoring decisive goals throughout the tournament, he has been the torchbearer of this England team in scoring goals. With 3 goals, he is the joint highest goal-scorer alongside the talisman Harry Kane. The in-form Manchester City attacker will be going into the fixture with brimming confidence.
Denmark had a shaky start to the tournament. One not even imagined in their wildest dreams, the Danes found themselves without their Talisman Christian Eriksen, who suffered a cardiac arrest while being on the pitch against Finland. Due to the UEFA Guidelines, the remainder of the match was held the very same day. Denmark suffered a 1-0 defeat against Finland. The next match against the heavyweights Belgium ended in a similar result. Denmark qualified for the knockouts after securing a whopping 4-1 win against Russia. And they haven’t looked back, ever since. Bantering Wales in a 4-0 win in the RO16 showed that the Danes meant business this summer. Their most convincing triumph came against the in-form Czechs, as they held on to a 2-1 win, displaying grit and determination.
(EURO 2020): LLWWW
Defenders: Christensen, Kjaer, Vestergaard
Midfielders: Larsen, Hojbjerg, Delaney, Maehle
Attackers: Braithwaite, Dolberg, Damsgaard
Players to watch out for
In crucial matches, the battle is won in the midfield. Against a strong English midfield trio of Kalvin, Rice, and Mount, the Tottenham Hotspur Midfielder will have to present his A-Game. In the absence of Eriksen, Hojbjerg has been finding more forward passes than usual. This shows his adaptability and calmness in controlling a game. His contribution will be very much crucial, should the Danes reach the final of the EURO 2020.
Kasper Dolberg has been in supreme hot form, filling the shoes of Poulsen, who has been sidelined due to injury. A brace against Wales and one against the Czech Republic is the perfect platform one could ask for, coming into the all-important semi-final.
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