LONDON – After playing two semi-finals and losing both, England captain Harry Kane knows he must be cautious.
“We don’t have as good a story as we sometimes like to believe,” the forward said Tuesday.
It has been 55 years since England reached a final, winning their only World Cup title at Wembley Stadium in 1966. England are one step away from another final, however, facing Denmark in the semi-finals of the Championship. Europe on Wednesday.
“These players are making great strides and breaking barriers all the time. We have broken barriers in this tournament and we have another chance to do it tomorrow, ”said Kane. “We have never been to a European Championship final, so we can be the first.”
And they can do so by learning lessons from the setbacks of the previous semi-finals – against Croatia in the 2018 World Cup and the Netherlands in the 2019 Nations League.
England coach Gareth Southgate reflected on the “two very different experiences” of those defeats.
“Croatia, it was the furthest we’ve been (since Euro ’96) and I think we would recognize that we could have made changes during that game to improve the situation,” Southgate said.
“But still, we weren’t as brave with the ball once we got ahead. We advanced so early in the game and I think the tournament played out differently for us. Fatigue definitely became a factor in the second half. We had had overtime in one of our games before that, we had had a very consistent team, so now we are in a slightly different place in terms of depth and team strength. “
In 2019, in the new UEFA competition, Southgate cited the disruption caused by Liverpool and Tottenham playing in the Champions League final just before the Nations League mini-tournament.
“We made fatigue mistakes in overtime,” Southgate said. “It was two different experiences, but it has given us an understanding of how to prepare for those big games and how they feel. And I think that’s part of a journey that teams sometimes have to go through. “
At least England have avoided extra time in their five games so far at Euro 2020. And they haven’t conceded a goal either.
“We’ve never been to a final (like this group) so the pressure is whatever you choose,” Southgate said. “I think it is something motivating, it is a challenge for us.
“If we were a country that had won five titles and we had to match what had happened before, I might feel different, but we are not. Denmark won it (in 1992), so perhaps there is more pressure on Denmark to repeat it. But it is not the way we see the game. We know it’s about acting on the day. “