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The wait is finally over. The English men are in the grand final for the first time since 1966 Victory over Denmark 2-1 in overtime at Wembley.
The former players and experts were full of praise for Gareth Southgate’s team as they ended a 55-year wait by reaching the Euro 2020 final.
‘This is not a team, this is a family’
As England players and staff celebrated by singing Sweet Caroline in front of their fans, the former England midfielder Karen Carney, who was on the field for BBC Radio 5 Live, said the scenes were “magical”.
“England came to this tournament and they knew they believed in the house [that they could do well], and it won’t go to the finals as if it’s a shock, “she said.
“This is a team. It’s not really a team, it’s a family. They’re absolutely all together at the moment. I have the most.
In time we will always go ‘where have we been?’ and this is so emotional down here. Gareth Southgate approached Raheem Sterling and gave him the biggest caress I’ve ever seen. It’s magical. Absolutely magical. “
Former right-back of England Gary Neville added to ITV: “I have to say Gareth Southgate, the players, the staff – everyone understood that well today.
“We’ve never done that in our lives. We’ve had so much pain, so much betrayal and now we’re going to the finals. It’s not almost guys, they’ve actually done something this year.”
“Finding words to describe something that will make the whole country excited is impossible,” the Chelsea chief said. Emma Hayes.
“Gareth Southgate’s staff and the boys have to take all the credit for bringing us so much joy.”
‘I’ve never felt the atmosphere like today’
England played in front of the biggest crowd in the tournament so far, with 64,950 spectators at Wembley.
Carney he said it was the best atmosphere so far: “It’s so loud. Everyone is buzzing singing songs.
“It starts down here in such a positive way – it’s amazing. We have more people in every game and it’s getting louder and louder. It’s so nice and now it’s back to normal.”
“I’ve never felt the atmosphere like today,” Micah Richards added. “The fans are absolutely electric. Don’t forget we’re home at Wembley. We’ve talked a lot about Russia, but this is at Wembley everyone can see and the scenes just electrify me. I’m amazed by this stadium. I’m afraid I’m just here.”
“The fans continued throughout the game,” he said Hayes. “They picked up the team when the players slipped.”
But was it a penalty?
Much has been said about the decision to award the penalty that led to England’s winning goal, after Joakim Maehle fouled Raheem Sterling.
“We’re all England fans, but we have to say how it is. I think the referees and decisions in this tournament have been fantastic, but I don’t see how that hasn’t been undone,” Richards admitted.
“How many times over the years has England not had the slightest bit of luck? Today they were lucky. Yes, we don’t want to win by a dubious sentencing verdict, but at the end of the day, if it takes us to the final, you know we have to take it.”
“Suspicious penalty, I’m still not convinced, but who cares? We’re in the final,” added the former England winger. Chris Waddle at 5 Live.
Prospects for the final “mouth watering”
England have one last hurdle and experts think Sunday’s final against Italy will be one to remember.
Carney said, “I think the two best teams are in the final and it’s going to be amazing – it really is. The margins are going to be really small and it’s just going to be breathtaking.”
“If you look at Italy, they came in free spirits. They had nothing to lose, they had an outside chance. A lot of people thought they didn’t do anything, but they have this amazing undefeated board. They play with the spirit, they just enjoy it,” Waddle added.
“They will be determined to win it. They will use all their experience. They are a powerful side with a lot of energy around them. They may defend in numbers, but they have a pace at the break and it will be a very difficult match for England.”