By Deirdre Tynan • 07 July 2021 • 14:17
English manager Gareth Southgate.
Brimming with confidence, Gareth Southgate, says his side is poised to score an iconic win in Wembley Stadium and are on their way to the EURO 2020 finals on Sunday.
The EURO 2020 semi-final could see the English side make history by reaching a tournament final for the first time since the 1966 World Cup.
“Wembley has a fantastic history but a lot of those memories would be from the old stadium. I don’t expect Denmark to come being fearful of Wembley. They’ve got experienced players and they’ll enjoy playing there but we’ve got to make the game one that they don’t enjoy,” Southgate said.
“The history of the stadium relies on those iconic moments. There have been less of those headline events at the new Wembley, whereas this tournament is one of those moments where we’ve had the chance to have some very high-profile games already and achieve some big moments.
“There’s some sort of pictures on the wall as you drive into the dressing rooms of iconic England moments but some of them aren’t even from finals. [David] Beckham’s free-kick against Greece was a qualifier. Our players over the last two tournaments, they’ve been able to create some really special memories, especially for youngsters. Bless them, they think it’s like this all the time with England,” he added.
Up to 66,000 fans will be in the stadium to cheer on the rival teams on July 7 including their “lucky mascot” Prince George.
Southgate warned that Denmark would be worthy and dangerous opponents.
England drew nil all against Denmark in the Nations League year before losing 1-0 in a match also played in Wembley.
“I just think we were in an interesting period: midway through the pandemic, no fans in the stadiums. I can’t say I enjoyed the autumn matches at all. The Covid restrictions on the camps were really inhibiting, with lads not able to sit and chat. So much of what we are about as a team is this social part and this connection with each other,” he said.
“It was a miserable experience for players. We’re asking players to perform freely on the pitch when every other part of their life was totally restricted. It’s been a joy to be in a bubble now where we’ve been able to sit outside all the time. We’ve had the freedom in the camp. It’s made a massive difference to how we’ve been able to work,” Southgate added.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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