Denmark’s dramatic run at these European Championships ended in a weak penalty award in extra time in favor of Raheem Sterling, converted by Harry Kane at the second time of asking after the immense Kasper Schmeichel made the initial save. It was a rather harsh fate for a team whose journey began in near-tragedy when Christian Eriksen suffered an on-pitch heart attack, but who proved that they are quite worthy of their 10th place on FIFA’s current rankings.
But tonight, they had little answer for Raheem Sterling, who switched flanks away from Andreas Christensen to find the requisite joy to be able to put England on his back once again. He may not have been on the scoresheet officially, but he was key to every dangerous England attack, whether by forcing an own goal from Simon Kjaer, winning the aforementioned penalty, or generating set pieces for Mason Mount to deliver onto Harry Maguire’s head.
So, happiness for Mount & Co (Reece James didn’t feature while Ben Chilwell wasn’t even named in the matchday squad), and disappointment for Christensen & Co, who did receive a warm applause from their fans after the game as well. Christensen was terrific once again, just as he’d been all tournament, but unfortunately picked up another mid-game injury that forced him off ten minutes from the end of regulation. The Chelsea center back appeared to tweak his hamstring in the second half, getting it wrapped, but then completed the injury when making an excellent flying interception a la Thiago Silva in the Champions League final. Hopefully Andreas gets a few weeks to rest and recover (and sign a new contract).
England will take on Italy in Sunday’s final and hope to win a first ever European Championship, and the first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.