England’s Gareth Southgate: ‘We’re so pleased for our country’on July 7, 2021 at 10:24 pm

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England manager Gareth Southgate says he is “so pleased for our country” after booking their place in the Euro 2020 final.

The Three Lions lost to Croatia after extra time in the semi-finals of the World Cup three years ago.

But they came from behind to beat Denmark 2-1 on Wednesday, meaning they will be in a men’s major tournament final for the first time in 55 years.

“We’ve managed to put that right,” Southgate told ITV.

“I’m so proud of the players. It’s an incredible occasion to be a part of. We knew it wouldn’t be straightforward.

“When you’ve waited as long as we have to get through a semi-final, the players – considering the limited international experience some of them have – have done an incredible job.”

An own goal from Denmark captain Simon Kjaer cancelled out Mikkel Damsgaard’s opener, before Harry Kane grabbed victory for England in extra time by slotting home the rebound after his penalty was saved.

England will face Italy in the final, which will be played at Wembley in front of about 60,000 fans on Sunday.

“The most pleasing thing is we’ve given the fans and nation a fantastic night and the journey carries on for another four days,” said Southgate.

“We’ve got to enjoy the fact we’re in the final but there’s one more massive hurdle to conquer.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said Italy were a “fantastic team”.

“We know the size of the task, we know they have those two warriors at the back who have seen all this before,” he said.

“But what a brilliant moment for us. Let’s savour tonight then we can think about that on the coach back.”

Forward Raheem Sterling praised England’s response to conceding their first goal in the tournament.

“It was a top performance,” said Sterling, who won the penalty which Kane converted at the second attempt, after Kasper Schmeichel saved his initial effort.

“We had to dig in deep. We responded well and showed good spirit. We knew it would be difficult.

“We stayed patient and we knew with the legs and aggressiveness we have in the team we’d be OK. It’s another step in the right direction.”

Skipper Kane added: “We got there when it mattered. We reacted really well and we’re in a final at home. What a feeling.

“We know it’s going to be a very tough game against Italy. We’ve had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home.”

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