Gareth Southgate said England’s momentous victory over Denmark had “put right” their painful defeat by Croatia in the World Cup semi-final three years ago as he hailed an “incredible occasion” for his team and the country.
Southgate said his players were forced to show resilience in a “different sort of battle” against a physical Denmark side and said they will need to overcome another “massive hurdle” against Italy in Sunday’s final.
“The most pleasing thing is that we have given our fans and nation a fantastic night and the journey carries on for another four days,” said the England manager.
“We suffered in Moscow on a night like this [in 2018] and we have managed to put that right. We are in a final and we have to enjoy that fact but there is one more massive hurdle to conquer.
“I am so proud of the players. An incredible occasion to be a part of. We knew it would not be straightforward. We said we were going to have to show some resilience and we have done that tonight. The players have done an incredible job.”
Kane: ‘The best one-two I’ve ever played’
Harry Kane, who scored with the rebound of his saved penalty in extra time, said: “Unbelievable. What a game, a tough game. Credit to Denmark – they put on a really tough game for us. But we dug deep and we got there when it mattered.
“I thought the boys were excellent all over the pitch, we reacted really well to going 1-0 down. A final. At home. What a feeling.
“It wasn’t the best executed penalty I’ve ever had. But that’s football. Sometimes you miss and it falls your way. And, thankfully, it did today.”
On the penalty, Kane added: “Damn right it’s the best one-two I have ever played. It was a bonus to see it bounce back.
“This is right up there in my career, the first time in our history to get to a European final. It’s one of the proudest moments in my life, for sure.”
Walker: ‘Tonight it swung our way’
Kyle Walker said of the winning goal: “Listen, things swing your way, things don’t. I’ve been in football matches where it hasn’t and tonight, if you’re saying it was a 50-50 call, it swung our way.
He added of Sunday’s final: “I’ve been very fortunate to pick up a few medals over the years. But I can assure you that this one, for your country, is something special, is something so close to your heart.
“We all need to cherish this moment. But we all need to concentrate now. It’s one last step, one last step to make history for this country and get some credit that we deserve, really.”