Semi-Finals Build Up
England will try to make history as they aim to reach their first final in 55 years. In recent times the semi-finals have been the hurdle which they have failed to clear. This is the ideal time to eradicate the ghosts of the missed opportunities of previous campaigns haunting them.
After a dominant display in a 4-0 victory against Ukraine, confidence has rarely been higher in the national team. England are still yet to concede, and with Harry Kane looking like he is getting back to his best, it will take a lot to stop the Three Lions. England find themselves in a familiar position as they have now reached the semi finals in consecutive major international tournaments. However, they must be wary, as they come up against a similar calibre of opponent as in the 2018 World Cup.
Just like Croatia three years ago in the semi-finals, Denmark are an in form team, fancied as dark horses for the tournament. After the shock cardiac arrest of star-player Christian Eriksen, the Danes have showed much resilience and strength all around the pitch. Their experienced back three of Kjaer, Christensen and Vestergaard won’t be easy to get past. Maehle has posed a huge threat down the left flank, with the defender getting an impressive two goals and an assist in the campaign so far. The central midfield battle between Delaney and Hojbjerg against Rice and Philips will also be an interesting watch. Denmark are the team which has caught everyone by surprise and they certainly shouldn’t be underestimated.
England Team News
Bukayo Saka missed out against Ukraine after picking up a knock but is now fit enough to face Denmark. His replacement in their last match, Sancho, showed much quality throughout the game and Southgate will face a hard decision on who to start. However Saka is arguably the more likely to start, as his defensive capabilities will be needed against the threat that Maehle provides. Starting Saka will also allow Walker to drift into the centre of the defence, so that England will have three central defenders to match up against Denmark’s front three.
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Phillips, Mount, Sterling, Kane, Saka (4-3-3)
Denmark Team News
Yussuf Poulsen featured for Denmark against Czech Republic, after missing out previously due to thigh problems. The Leipzig striker is key for the Danes and has scored twice for them already. But his replacement, Kasper Dolberg, has shown that he is a more than capable replacement, after scoring three in his last two. Danish manager, Kasper Hjulmand, will have a hard decision to make upfront, but sticking to his line-up from the last two games seems the more likely option.
Predicted Line-up: Schmeichel, Christensen, Kjaer, Vestergaard, Maehle, Delaney, Hojbjerg, Stryger, Braithwaite, Damsgaard, Dolberg (3-4-3)
Although England are favourites, I think this will be their toughest test of the tournament so far. Denmark have been fearless so far, performing well above expectations. They’ve swept away Russia and Wales and dominated a star-studded Belgium in the first half of their group game. Even with Eriksen missing, they have quality throughout this team. England have been relatively comfortable in their performances thus far, showing much maturity. Remarkably, they haven’t conceded yet in their fives games so far. They also have the home advantage, with 60,000 fans allowed into Wembley. England have shown they can contain and silence teams, whilst scoring enough to get the job done. I think England will narrowly edge this one, although I don’t think they will keep their clean sheet run.
This is an incredible chance for England to progress past the semi-finals and this time I don’t think they will let the opportunity slip. Prediction: 2-1 to England.