Harry Kane and Kasper Schmeichel were the standout performers as England came from behind to beat Denmark 2-1 to reach the UEFA Euro 2020 final.
England were the more dominant of the two sides in the early exchanges, with a few dangerous deliveries being floated into the Denmark box, albeit without much in way of a finishing touch. But, Denmark soon found their feet and started putting the Three Lions under sustained pressure. The deadlock was broken by the Danes as well, and it came through a moment of brilliance.
At the half-hour mark, Mikkel Damsgaard stepped up to take a free-kick from 30 yards out, making no error in beating Jordan Pickford for the first goal that England have let in at UEFA Euro 2020. Shortly after, though, England hit back thanks to an own goal by Simon Kjaer under pressure from Raheem Sterling following a low cross by Bukayo Saka. At half-time, the game was evenly poised at 1-1.
Post the interval, a more end-to-end game ensued, with both the goalkeepers being kept busy, but England started dominating in due course once again. However, Kasper Schmeichel was inspired in goal as Denmark forced extra-time. In the added 30 minutes, the Three Lions were once again in the ascendancy until they were finally given a sight of the win after Raheem Sterling won a rather contentious penalty.
Up stepped Harry Kane to take the spot-kick, which was saved by Schmeichel only for the ball to rebound back to the England captain, who tapped it in to score what would be the winner. A valiant fight and a dream run by Denmark, thus, ended, with England now set to face Italy in the final on Sunday following the Azzurri’s win over Spain. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Jordan Pickford: 7/10
A busy evening for Pickford, who had more work to do than he has put in in any other game. Made a couple of top saves, with the one to deny Kasper Dolberg being notable. One shocking moment of distribution saw him gift the ball to Denmark, although he came out unscathed on the occasion. Could not have done anything to deny Mikkel Damsgaard from a peach of a free-kick. Made two big saves to help England to the win.
Kyle Walker: 7/10
A solid showing by Walker, who showcased his superb recovery pace on several occasions to snuff out the danger smartly. Kept the dangerous Joakim Maehle quiet, for the most part, winning five of the six duels he contested while also playing a couple of key passes. Has started coming into his own with each passing game.
John Stones: 7/10
Stones once again formed a solid partnership at the heart of England’s defence alongside Harry Maguire. Not as busy as Maguire at the back, but Stones was extremely efficient when playing out from the back, which ensured that there were no slip-ups during build-up play.
Harry Maguire: 8/10
Desperately unlucky to not have scored, with his well-placed header being saved brilliantly by an inspired Kasper Schmeichel. On the defensive front, Maguire was an immovable object and apart from a period when he appeared to be rattled and got an unnecessary yellow card, the Manchester United captain did nothing wrong. Won a staggering 13 duels while making 5 interceptions. Rock.
Harry Maguire’s game by numbers vs. Denmark:
112 total touches
90% pass accuracy
9/12 aerial duels won
9 ball recoveries
6 passes into the final third
3/5 long passes
3 shots [2 on target]
2/3 tackles won
Unbelievable CB. ??? pic.twitter.com/ubkWkWCTSz
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) July 7, 2021
Luke Shaw: 7/10
Coming on the back of a stunning display against Ukraine, this was more of a leveller for Shaw. The 25-year-old conceded the free-kick that was converted by Damsgaard for the opener. However, he hardly gave an inch thereafter and completely negated Jens Stryger Larsen as well as Daniel Wass. Won ten duels while also being a major outlet down the left flank. Will be a big factor in the final.
Kalvin Phillips: 8/10
A bundle of energy, Phillips was the catalyst in ensuring England were hardly on the back foot in the game, even when Denmark appeared to be in the ascendancy. Aggressively pressed high up the pitch, completing two interceptions and three tackles while retaining a 90 percent passing rate. Top-notch effort.
Declan Rice: 6/10
Rice endured a difficult first half, wherein he had a lot on his plate in the face of Denmark’s charge. Settled down better post the interval, which is when he ensured there were no slip-ups from England, as he snuffed out whatever little Denmark created. A 95 percent passing rate helped matters even more.
Bukayo Saka: 7/10
Back to full fitness, Saka replaced Jadon Sancho on the right side of England’s attack and was in his elements for the most part. Involved in the build-up to the equaliser, Saka was first released by Harry Kane before he played the low cross that was bundled into his own net by Simon Kjaer. But, there were a few wasteful moments thereafter before he was taken off for Jack Grealish.
Mason Mount: 6/10
Not the best of performance by Mount, whose influence was neutralised superbly for the most part by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. While he was not lacking for effort, the young playmaker was simply not allowed to express himself as much as he usually does. That being said, he did complete most of his attempted passes.
Raheem Sterling: 8/10
Kane was all over the place (in a good sense) in the game and Sterling invariably took advantage of the pockets of space vacated by the England captain to put the Denmark defence under pressure. It is with such movement that he forced Kjaer to score the own goal to make it 1-1. Continued to pose a lot of threat and won the penalty – albeit rather contentiously – to send England on their way to the final.
Harry Kane: 9/10
No one has scored more goals at major tournaments for England than Harry Kane ? pic.twitter.com/S1NbbBQbvA
— Goal (@goal) July 8, 2021
It has been clear for some time that Kane has been coming into his own after a forgettable group stage. And after proving to be an elite goalscorer in the 4-0 win over Ukraine, the England captain proved to be an elite creator, playing 3 key passes. In particular, his pass to release Bukayo Saka in the build-up to the equaliser was simply delightful.
Continued to push forward in search of his fourth goal of the game and the break finally came in the most fortuitous of moments, as he got the rebound handed to him on a silver platter after Kasper Schmeichel had denied him from the spot in extra-time. Nevertheless, he did his part and will now look to claim the Golden Boot as well as win the entire tournament for England in Sunday’s final.
Jack Grealish: 7/10
On for Saka, Grealish came within whiskers of setting Kane up for a winner in the dying embers of regulation time and tested the inspired Schmeichel himself before being taken off for the second half of extra-time as Gareth Southgate set up a defensive formation.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
Sent on in place of Rice, Henderson was critical in ensuring England continued to have a stable base in the middle of the park. Completed 96 percent of his attempted passes while opening up play with a couple of superb long passes. Job well done.
Phil Foden: 7/10
On for Mount, Foden produced probably his best performance at UEFA Euro 2020, creating a couple of chances while completing all but two passes. Definitely an upgrade on the player he replaced.
Kieran Trippier: N/A
Introduced for the final 15 minutes, Trippier did enough to see the game out as Southgate looked to snuff out Denmark’s forward play efficiently.
Kasper Schmeichel: 9/10
After some mind games in the build-up to the game, Schmeichel needed to back it up with a solid performance. And the Denmark no. 1 was colossal between the sticks for his side, with his saves to deny Raheem Sterling and Harry Maguire standing out. However, he could not do anything about the equaliser from England, with Simon Kjaer scoring an own goal.
Stood like a rock in goal, making as many as nine saves and even denying Harry Kane from the spot during extra-time. Alas, the rebound fell right back towards the England captain, who tapped the ball in to score the winner. Did not deserve to be on the losing side at all.
Kasper Schmeichel made nine saves against England, including a penalty, the most by a Denmark goalkeeper in a single European Championship game.
An absolutely phenomenal effort. ? pic.twitter.com/6YA0Ol4Ykl
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 7, 2021
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
A game of hits and misses for Christensen, although the hits outweighed the misses easily here. The 25-year-old made four clearances and won four of the five duels he contested, but also had the tendency of giving too much space in front of him at times. Taken off for Joachim Andersen, as has become the norm at UEFA Euro 2020, late in the second half.
Simon Kjaer: 7/10
One of the players in focus in our preview, it was imperative that Kjaer produced a solid showing at the heart of Denmark’s defence to guide them to the UEFA Euro 2020 final. However, it proved to be a difficult evening for the Denmark captain, who struggled against the movement of Sterling and scored the own goal to bring England back into the game. Solid enough rest of the game, but the own goal pulls his rating back a little.
Jannik Vestergaard: 8/10
The best defender for Denmark, Vestergaard was solid enough for the most part at the back to keep a check on the output of his marker while being imperious in the air (4/4 aerial duels won). Made seven clearances and a couple of blocks while completing five tackles. Not enough to earn Denmark a win, though.
Jens Stryger Larsen: 5/10
After a much-improved performance against Czech Republic, this was a game to forget for Jens Stryger Larsen, who was completely outplayed by Sterling. Also appeared to be rattled when he had the ball at his feet, and lost the ball as many as 15 times. Taken off for Daniel Wass, although the move did not pay off for Kasper Hjulmand.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 8/10
His partner did not enjoy the best of outings against England, but Hojbjerg was once again a solid figure in the middle of the park. In particular, it was his output while negating the influence of Mason Mount that was impressive. Where he did not impress was with some of his sloppy touches on the ball, losing possession 18 times as a result. Set up one chance and had a shot saved as well.
Thomas Delaney: 6.5/10
After a top-notch display against Czech Republic, this was a rather sub-par performance by Delaney as he was outplayed by Kalvin Phillips for much of his stay on the pitch. This was more prevalent in his passing, which was wasteful in crunch situations (30/43 completed). Lost as many as seven duels as well. A poor end to a solid campaign.
Joakim Maehle: 5/10
Maehle has been one of the players of the tournament but went out of UEFA Euro 2020 on a bit of a whimper. England hardly allowed him any moments wherein he could whip in dangerous crosses or even drift infield to force a save out of Pickford.
Instead, he had a lot of defending to do, which was a bit out of his comfort level. Did win 11 duels but most of England’s big openings came down his flank, including the moment when Raheem Sterling forced a foul out of him for the penalty in extra time.
Martin Braithwaite: 7/10
Braithwaite was as Braithwaite usually had been all through the tournament, putting in the hard yards for his team and grafting along in search of a goal that never really came. Denied by Pickford late on, but it was a rather straightforward effort for the England goalkeeper.
Kasper Dolberg: 6/10
Dolberg produced probably the last shot that really forced Jordan Pickford into a big save and he was taken off midway through the second half. Other than that moment, the 23-year-old flitted in and out of the game, struggling to beat England’s defence and get into scoring positions. A tough night for the young striker.
Mikkel Damsgaard: 8/10
1 – Mikkel Damsgaard has scored the first direct free kick goal of the #EURO2020 . Timely. pic.twitter.com/j3n834YoQS
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) July 7, 2021
A bundle of energy as he so often is, Damsgaard put the England defence under sustained pressure all throughout. The moment of the game for the young forward, though, was the free-kick that he unleashed to open the scoring for Denmark. Yet again, though, Damsgaard was one of the first Danish players to be taken off.
Yussuf Poulsen: 5/10
On for Damsgaard, Poulsen proved to be a downgrade on the energetic young forward as he was utterly wasteful in possession – lost the ball a staggering 17 times in 53 minutes – and did not manage to muster up a single shot throughout his stay on the pitch.
Christian Norgaard: 6/10
On for Dolberg, Norgaard saw a fair bit of the ball in the hour or so he spent on the pitch. And while he completed all but one pass he attempted, the 27-year-old hardly managed to set a quick tempo when pushing Denmark forward, which was right in England’s ballpark.
Daniel Wass: 5/10
On for the struggling Stryger Larsen, Wass, unfortunately, continued from where the incumbent had left off, struggling to keep a hold of either Sterling or Grealish. Did complete most of his attempted passes, but could not create anything of note with his deliveries.
Joachim Andersen: 7/10
This has been a familiar sight at UEFA Euro 2020 and Andersen once again replaced Christensen late in the second half to produce a fairly solid cameo. There were a few hiccups, but more often than not, he stuck to his guns admirably, winning four duels while making a big block as well.
Mathias Jensen: N/A
A difficult cameo for Jensen, who hardly carried any influence after replacing Delaney and left his side battling the final stages of the game with ten men after sustaining an injury.
Jonas Wind: N/A
On for the second half of extra-time, Wind barely got a touch on the ball despite Denmark looking to take England on in search of a late equaliser.
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