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Euro 2020 soccer: England beats Denmark, reaches final

Harry Kane (C) of England celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against Denmark during the UEFA Euro 2020 semifinals Wednesday at Wembley Stadium in London. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/EPA-EFE
Harry Kane (C) of England celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against Denmark during the UEFA Euro 2020 semifinals Wednesday at Wembley Stadium in London. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/EPA-EFE

July 7 (UPI) -- Harry Kane scored an extra-time goal as England edged Denmark 2-1 in their semifinals match Wednesday at Wembley Stadium to advance to the 2020 European Championship soccer final against Italy.

During the first period of extra time, Kane slotted home a rebound after Denmark goaltender Kasper Schmeichel saved Kane's initial penalty-kick attempt. The goal gave England the lead in the 104th minute and earned them a spot in the Euro final Sunday.

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"Unbelievable. What a game, though, credit to Denmark," Kane said after the win. "We dug deep and 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 and we can't wait."

England entered the match as favorites to win the tournament out of the remaining teams, but Denmark grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute when Mikkel Damsgaard lasered a precise free kick past English netminder Jordan Pickford.

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The goal was the first scored from a direct free kick at this summer's Euro Championship and ended Pickford's run of clean sheets at the tournament. He blanked Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic during the group stage, then held Germany and Ukraine scoreless in the knockout rounds.

England, however, quickly drew level through Simon Kjaer's own goal when he slid to deflect a cross intended for Raheem Sterling. In doing so, he redirected the ball into his own net to make it 1-1 in the 39th minute.

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Kane then scored his fourth goal at the 2020 Euro tournament -- which was postponed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic -- to clinch the victory.

"It was a top performance," said Sterling, who drew the penalty kick when he was brought down by Joakim Maehle in the box. "We had to dig deep. It was the first time we had conceded in the tournament, [but] we regrouped well and showed a great team spirit to win the game.

"We just had to stay patient. We knew that with the aggression we had in the team, the pace, the power, it was a matter of time before we brought them down and we got the penalty in the end. It is another step in the right direction."

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England, playing in their first major tournament final since defeating West Germany at the 1966 FIFA World Cup, now faces an Italy team that has won all of their matches to this point in the tournament. Italy beat Spain 4-2 on penalties Tuesday in the semifinals.

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