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The wait is finally over. England’s men are in a major final for the first time since 1966 after a Victory 2-1 against Denmark in overtime at Wembley.
Former players and pundits have praised Gareth Southgate’s squad as they ended a 55-year wait by reaching the Euro 2020 final.
“It’s not a team, it’s a family”
As England players and staff celebrated singing Sweet Caroline in front of their fans, the former England midfielder Karen Carney, who was on the pitch for BBC Radio 5 Live, said the scenes were “magical”.
“England came to this tournament and they knew they believed internally [that they could do well], and they won’t go to the final like it’s a shock, ”she said.
“It’s a team. Actually, it’s not a team, it’s a family. They’re absolutely all together right now. I get goosebumps.
“In time, we will always go” where were we? and it’s so moving here. Gareth Southgate went to see Raheem Sterling and gave him the biggest hug I’ve ever seen. It is magic. Absolutely magical. “
Gary Lineker said: “It happened a long time ago. It finally happened. I doubted I would see him again one day in my life at some point.”
Former English right-back Gary Neville added on ITV: “We’ve never done this before in our life. We’ve had so much pain, so much disappointment and now we’re going to a final. They’re not almost guys, they actually went and have done something this year. “
“I never felt an atmosphere like I felt it today”
England have so far played in front of their biggest crowd of the tournament, with 64,950 spectators at Wembley.
Carney said it was the best vibe yet: “It’s so loud. Everyone is singing the songs.
“It starts here in such a positive way – it’s amazing. With every game we have more people and it’s getting stronger and stronger. It’s so nice and it’s back to normal now.”
“I have never felt an atmosphere like the one I felt today”, Michael Richards added. “The fans are absolutely electric. Remember we are at home at Wembley. We have talked a lot about Russia but it is at Wembley that everyone can see it and the stages are just electrifying, I am just in awe of this stadium. I am amazed to be right here. “
“The fans throughout the game, they continued,” said Hayes. “They lifted the team up when the players were slipping.”
But was it a penalty?
Much has been said about the decision to award the penalty which led to England’s winning goal, after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Joakim Maehle.
“We are all England fans but we have to say it like we are. I think the referees and the decisions in this tournament have been fantastic but I don’t see how it hasn’t been canceled, “Richards admitted.
“How many times over the years have England not been so lucky? Today they are lucky. Yes, we don’t want to win by a questionable penalty decision, but in the end, if it takes us to a final, you know we have to take it. “
“Doubtful Pennal, I’m still not convinced, but what does it matter? We’re in the final,” added the former England winger. Chris Waddle on 5 Live.
Prospects for an “appetizing” finish
England have one final hurdle to overcome and experts believe Sunday’s final against Italy will be unforgettable.
Carney said: “I think the top two teams are in the final and it’s going to be appetizing – it really is. The margins are going to be really small and it’s going to be breathtaking.”
“If you look at Italy, they came in as free spirits. They had nothing to lose, had an outside chance. A lot of people thought they hadn’t done anything but they have this incredible unbeaten record. . They play with a spirit, they simply enjoy it “, Waddle added.
“They’ll be so determined to win. They’ll use whatever experience they have. It’s a powerful team with a lot of energy about them. They can defend in numbers but they have the pace at the break and that’s fine. be a very difficult game for England. “