England beat Denmark 2-1 in extra time to reach the final of the European Championship for the first time on Wednesday.
Former England player Gary Neville was all praise for Gareth Southgate and his players as the Three Lions booked a Euro 2020 final ticket on Wednesday night. England beat Denmark 2-1 in extra time to reach the final of the European Championship for the first time. They will play Italy in the final on Sunday. “It’s incredible,” Neville told Sky Sports News. “It’s a day that you sometimes never think will come through all the pain and dismay we’ve had in tournaments over the years, but we’ve finally got to a final.
“The atmosphere at Wembley was absolutely amazing. Gareth Southgate said it was the best atmosphere he’s seen at the new Wembley. Obviously, he was at Euro 96 for that Holland game where we beat them 4-1 and it was special against Holland, special against Spain in the quarter-finals, but last night it seemed more special. Maybe it was because I was in the crowd and I was up on that second tier. You were in amongst it and also the fact we’ve had no real fan presence in stadiums for 18 months, it just felt like it was a massive outpouring of emotion,” he added.
Fighting back from a goal deficit, Harry Kane’s late penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel. But the English skipper turned in the rebound to set up a Euro 2020 final date against Italy. “It was mesmerising at points in the game and even pre-match. I’m not surprised that in the first half an hour the players were a little frantic and didn’t really demonstrate composure in their performance.
“They were a little bit affected but you couldn’t not be. The noise around you was just absolutely incredible. It’s okay to say football players should remove themselves from the atmosphere and the emotion but they had been feeling it for the last two or three days. They’ve had families and friends ringing them and they’ve obviously got into the stadium and they are down there by the pitch, and you can just feel it. Then, they did settle down after half an hour, but the crowd were an absolute joy and a dream.”
Neville also went on to praise the players for their performances throughout the tournament. He particularly remembered the victory against Germany in the last-16 and said how moved he was with the win. “I’ve watched England many times over the last 10 years and I’m normally quite cold about football. Sometimes I’ll get a bit worked up about Man Utd games, but I watched the England vs Germany game last Tuesday and I felt quite emotional during that match.
“Last night, like everyone else, I am absolutely overjoyed and delighted that we won but it actually wasn’t the most important thing. It’s the fact I genuinely trust the manager that we’ve got. I genuinely think the players are a good bunch of lads who love playing for England, who have removed all the cynicism and cliques that I was part of for many years with England. So, credit to them. They deserved what they got because of the way in which they have handled themselves. Not just on the pitch, but off the pitch as well.”