“It’s coming home. It’s coming home. It’s coming. Football’s coming home“The chorus of Three lions, made up of comedians David Baddiel and Frank Skinner along with the band Lightning Seeds, accompanied the English national team at their Eurocup in 1996. But the notes faded after the semi-final, as a missed penalty against Germany by coach Southgate pushed aside the team. pross of his first final in a European Championship. A disappointment that he has balanced because now he can boast of leading England to the final duel, with Italy on the other side of the net. So the song of Sweet caroline of Neil Diamond continues to thunder at Wembley – it sounds when they step on the grass – and in the streets. And in this team there is no one who is sweeter than Sterling, also a Kane who has gone from less to more. Although Denmark, with a lack of Damsgaard and with Schmeichel under the sticks, almost explains the opposite.
On one of those days off from the Danish camp, coach Hjulmand faced a game that consisted of recognizing his players through photos of him as children. Not one failed. And when they showed him the last one, he smiled and asked: “Weren’t they pictures of children?” A joke for Damsgaard, with accentuated boyish facial features. But with his boots on he makes football child’s play. Also a hammer for England, the only one to beat him in the Euro since he added the five pristine duels. The laurel took him with that foul, hard and over the barrier that Pickford did not reach.
A affront they couldn’t pass up Sterling and Kane at their home in Wembley. The former grew up just three blocks from the stadium and just looked out the window to dream of defending the shirt he now wears; the second played for a few months there while Tottenham finished the works on their new stadium. And that before the sensational Danish defensive wall – Vestergaard, Kjaer, Christensen – was difficult.
Kjaer explained it by demonstrating the vagaries of football in two plays of equal professionalism with mixed luck. In the first, he jumped over the barrier and, with his eyes open – something unthinkable in amateur football – finished off the shot with a header. In the second, he tried to avoid Sterling’s goal on goal and scored at his own goal. Guilt of the neighborhood boy. But that play, like almost all the others in England, had its catapult in Kane, who tried to start and even put the end point of collective football.
It so happened that Hjulmand removed Damsgaard shortly after the hour and Denmark went out in attack. But it is that the bigger blow, the better response from the Danish team, as he explained after Eriksen’s forced goodbye due to the cardiac arrest he suffered against Finland, now at the expense of knowing if he will be able to wear shorts again. Sterling ran and tried with his diagonals, now from the right because Southgate moved a piece by putting Grealish; and Kane showed the lever that moved England, a woodpecker that appeared in the areas that were not expected, a forward with an easy but insufficient trigger [en esos momentos] to surpass Schmeichel. He was not the only one who was left with the desire.
A nod to Gordon Banks
Sterling tested it with a shot from outside the area, another to the bulge from the girl and one more that narrowly missed the goal. A despair that was compensated by Kjaer’s goal, but also savored, for example, by Maguire on a header off a corner kick. But Schmeichel, in the image and likeness of his father at the 1992 European Championship, became huge under the sticks and drew up a Gordon Banks stop – saving the distance – against Pele in the 1970 World Cup. Less spectacular but just as effective was another stretched out against the same rival after a lateral foul. And the flashes He saved them, already in extra time, for that shot by Kane crossed from the vertex that he took out with a stretch at ground level. There was more. A shot from Grealish, another from Foden … Until Sterling fell in the area and a penalty was awarded.
Kane looked at Schmeichel, snorted and hit him to the left of the goalkeeper, who was in time to block the shot. But the rebound fell back to Kane, who celebrated the triumph and made history by leading an England that will continue to sing for the first time to the final of a European Championship. Sweet caroline.
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