England vs Denmark – Euro 2020 Semi-Final Preview

Denmark make the trip to Wembley to take on England to see who will be coming back here for the final on Sunday. Denmark are playing with the support of every country other than England, and are looking to create a fairy tale given the events involving Christian Eriksen, but also the fact that they were long odds to make it this far before the tournament and they lost their first two games at this competition. Whatever happens this Denmark team will be seen as heroes, but they will be desperate to find a way past England and move to one game away from greatness. England are playing in front of a home crowd trying to earn the right to be playing back here in the final, where they would be one game away from winning a first ever European Championship for England, and a first major international honour since 1966, and they would have the added bonus of achieving it in the countries capital, in front of a home crowd. This promises to be an intense and emotionally charged game, with many players on either side being extremely familiar with one another, and some of them being team mates in the past and currently.

In their 5 games played at this years tournament so far, Denmark have scored 11 goals, conceded 5, had 86 shots with 36 on target, have had an average possession of 55.80%, have been given 4 yellow cards, no red cards and taken 34 corners.

England in their 5 games have scored 8 goals, conceded none, had 37 shots with 16 on target, have had an average possession of 52.80%, have been given 4 yellow cards, no red cards and taken 18 corners.

The referee for this game is Danny Makellie (Holland), who this season has taken charge of 39 games, handing out 135 yellow cards and 9 red cards, for an average of 3.46 yellow cards per game and 0.23 red cards per game. In his career so far he has refereed 234 games, where he has given 726 yellow cards and 45 red cards, for an average of 3.10 yellow cards per game and 0.19 red cards per game. At this tournament he has been the referee for 3 games. He first refereed the opening game Italy vs Turkey, where he gave 2 yellow cards. Then he took charge of Finland vs Russia where he gave 5 yellow cards, and then again in England vs Germany he also gave 5 yellow cards. So in total he has refereed 3 games at Euro 2020, giving 12 yellow cards and no red cards. The fact that when he refereed England in front of a home crowd at Wembley he gave 5 yellow cards, bodes well for anyone looking at backing cards in this game.

The bookmakers (all prices Skybet) have England as the 1/3 favourites to be back here in the final, with Denmark at 9/4. England are 4/6 to see of The Danes in normal time, with Denmark 9/2 to win inside 90 minutes, and a draw at the end of regulation time is 13/5.

This promises to be a great game, with whoever wins creating a great story for their country. England could have the opportunity to end all those years of hurt (55 years if anyone forgot!) in front of a Wembley crowd, and Denmark could have the chance to end what has been the most remarkable tournament for them in the final and lifting the trophy. Both sides will know allot about each other, with Denmark having players like Andreas Christensen, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Kasper Schmeichel, who all ply their trade in The Premier League. England have still yet to conceded a goal at this years tournament, and its a good thing at that as despite knocking 4 past Ukraine in the quarters, they come in well at the bottom of the 4 teams left at this years competition in terms of goals scored, shots, shots on target and corners. Though that is not a massive surprise given Southgate’s approach has clearly been to set up a side that are difficult to beat, and he has done just that. England captain Harry Kane has found his goal scoring boots in these last couple of games and England have rediscovered their set piece threat which was a big part of their run to the World Cup semi-finals 3 years ago. Denmark have seen off Wales and The Czech Republic in the knock out rounds, but there is no doubt this England team will be their toughest assignment so far in the knock out stage of the competition.

The middle of the park looks set for an absolute war in this game, the likes of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice have been dominant for England, and with Jordan Henderson on the bench for the most part at this competition, it’s not like England don’t have depth in the engine room. Hojbjerg and Thomas Delaney have been the ones taking the fight to the opposition in the middle of the field for Denmark, and given England’s approach to their games so far at the tournament, this again looks to be a key area in the game. Denmark’s approach of playing 3 at the back with attacking wing backs is an area that I feel will be tested in this game. I would not be massively surprised if they changed to a back 4 in this game, though I do still expect them to play the same way that has got them this way. Denmark will not want their defenders to be exposed in too many 1v1’s with the likes of Sterling, Saka, Grealish, Foden or Rashford, but if they play in the same way they have up until now that is a distinct possibility. Despite scoring more goals than England at this years tournament, Denmark have also conceded 5 goals, showing that they can be got at defensively. England will again prove exceptionally tough to break down, and I would not be surprised to see a more defensive approach from Denmark in this game, as England have proven with their defensive record and game management, that they are not the type of team you want to find yourself chasing the game against. I can see Gareth Southgate setting up in a similar way to what he did against Germany, where he makes the team as compact as possible, and trusts that with the attacking talent England have got, they will get a chance at some point and take it. When England go 1-0 up in games, that really plays into their hands, with defenders like Stones and Maguire taking their form to a new level for their country, and Jordan Pickford seemingly a completely different player in the white of England compared to the blue of Everton, added to the protective shield provided by Phillips and Rice in the midfield, it’s no wonder that teams struggle to score against England. When other sides get desperate and commit more bodies forward against Southgate’s Lions, this leads to counter attacking opportunities for the likes of Sterling, Saka, Rashford, Foden, Mount and Grealish, and when one of them gets loose, its very rare that it doesn’t lead to either an England free kick which allows them to slow the game down even more, or an England goal scoring opportunity, and with captain Kane coming back in to form, that is bad news for the opposition. I see this game playing out in a similar way to the Germany game, with England running out 2-0 winners against a dogged and determined Denmark side who go down fighting, with England moving into the final, and this group of players moving 1 game away from achieving immortality on the international football stage.

The best bets in this game are

Over 1.5 England goals, over 7.5 match corners and over 19.5 Denmark booking points – 16/5 William Hill

Declan Rice and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg both to be carded – 14/1 William Hill (We advise waiting for starting line ups to be announced before backing this bet)

Harry Kane to score and England to win 2-0 – 11/1 William Hill (We advise waiting for starting line ups to be announced before backing this bet)

Draw at half time, England to win inside 90 minutes and 1+ corner each team in each half – 5/1 William Hill


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