Three key battles: England vs Denmark

Captains Harry Kane and Simon Kjær©Getty Images

Where could the game be won and lost? Our team reporters analyse the second semi-final.

England take on Denmark in the second UEFA EURO 2020 semi-final, looking to make the most of home advantage at Wembley.

Will football take another step closer to home, or will Danish dynamite finally blow apart England's defensive wall?

Harry Kane vs Simon Kjær

Simon Hart, England reporter
The Harry Kane who had just two touches in the opposition box in England's first game – and cut a peripheral figure throughout the group stage – has made way for the more familiar version: the outstanding goalscorer who, after ending his EURO drought against Germany, looked back to his ruthless best against Ukraine. The left-footed volley which nearly earned him a hat-trick that night was the sign of a striker filled with confidence once more and already he has more goals in open play in this tournament (three) than he managed when winning the FIFA World Cup Golden Boot in 2018. Denmark beware.

Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
The Danish captain is going to have a busy night at Wembley for sure. During the knockout stage, his English counterpart has found his feet and the way to the goal three times. However, Kjær has managed to keep an eye on plenty of other star forwards at this tournament, and had the better of his battles with Belgium's Romelu Lukaku and Russian focal point Artem Dzyuba. Kane is a different type of striker, but if Denmark are to stay the distance, Kjær will need to stop him just the same.

Jordan Pickford and Kasper Dolberg

Jordan Pickford vs Kasper Dolberg

Simon Hart, England reporter
England's defenders have only allowed their opponents two shots on goal per game on average, but when they have got through there has been no beating Pickford. After a strong finish to the domestic campaign with Everton, he has found peak form in this tournament, making key saves when called upon and showing greater composure, maturity and leadership – the product of his decision to start seeing a sports psychologist during the past season. Having kept clean sheets in his last seven England appearances, he has not conceded a goal for his country since 15 November last year.

Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
Just like Kane, Dolberg has scored three times since the start of the knockout phase. Known as 'Iceman' because of the permanently cool expression on his face, he has turned out to be the man with the goals for Denmark since he got the chance against Wales in the absence of the injured Yussuf Poulsen. Now is the time for Dolberg to become the first player at this EURO to put a ball past Pickford.

Luke Shaw and Joakim Mæhle

Luke Shaw vs Joakim Mæhle

Simon Hart, England reporter
Shaw made his England debut in March 2014 but has finally come of age as an international footballer in this tournament. Over the past two matches he has unleashed his attacking potential down the left side to become the first England player since David Beckham in 2000 to deliver three assists in a EURO tournament – with open-play crosses for Raheem Sterling (vs Germany) and Harry Kane as well as his gorgeous free-kick on to the head of Harry Maguire (both vs Ukraine). Indeed, no England player has created more chances (eight) than the Manchester United full-back, who combined brilliantly with Sterling in Rome on Saturday night.

Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
Even though Mæhle and Shaw will not be facing each other directly, the most successful of the two left wing-backs is more than likely to be on the winning team. Mæhle has left a marvellous impression on the tournament, with his runs up the flank producing two goals and an assist. Mæhle is among the few outfield players to have played every minute of the tournament, and it is no coincidence that he is the highest-ranked player in the FedEx Performance Zone form tracker who still has a chance of winning this tournament.

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