Joyous scenes in Portsmouth as fans toast historic England victory over Denmark in Euro 2020
FOOTBALL fans were celebrating in the streets of Portsmouth last night as England stormed into the final of Euro 2020 – their first major championship final in 55 years.
In a nerve-shredding game that went into extra-time, the Three Lions overpowered a determined Denmark to clinch a thrilling 2-1 victory, bagging their spot in Sunday’s final against Italy at Wembley.
The stunning display means Gareth Southgate’s side – which counts Purbrook’s own hero, Mason Mount, in its ranks – has travelled one step further than any other England team since the 1966 World Cup final win against West Germany.
It was a victory that left England fans across Portsmouth ecstatic, with pubs exploding with excitement as Harry Kane thumped the winning goal past Denmark’s heroic keeper Kasper Schmeichel.
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Rob Dick, 45, was in tears as he watched the final whistle being blown on a TV at the Artillery Arms, in Milton.
He said: ‘I don’t know what to say, I’m lost for words. I can’t believe it.’
Hope was high as England stepped onto the pitch to take on the Danes in front of 60,000 fans, at the home of English football, having not conceded a goal during the entire tournament.
And in pubs across the area, the atmosphere was frenzied, with fans thunderously chanting: ‘it’s coming home, it’s coming home, it’s coming – football’s coming home’.
But despite a strong opening display by the men in white, a steely Denmark were first to hit the back of the net, with Mikkel Damsgaard smashing in a stunning free-kick after 30 minutes.
England, crucially, replied quickly as Denmark captain Simon Kjaer turned Bukayo Saka’s threatening cross into his own net six minutes before the break.
The goal sent fans at the Milton Arms in Milton into overload, with punters cheering and throwing their drinks in the air in the pub’s beer garden; celebrations were so frenzied, fans managed to trip the electrics and cause the TV to turn off.
Among the crowd was 16-year-old Blake O’Neill. Despite first blood going to the Danes, the teenager was still confident the Three Lions could clinch victory.
Speaking to The News, he said: ‘I have known nothing but failure from England but I really think this team is something special. They’re world-beaters and are truly world class.’
The second half was a nervy affair with England seemingly on the front foot but unable to penetrate the Danish defence, despite a few chances.
And then extra-time was required, with the killer of previous English dreams looming in the distance – penalties.
But then in the 103rd minute England were awarded a penalty after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Joakim Maehle.
In keeping with the Three Lions’ long and tortuous history, it was not a straightforward spot-kick as England captain Kane’s weak attempt was saved by Schmeichel – before the rebound fell at Kane’s feet for him to score.
Punters at The Artillery Arms in Hester Road, Milton, screamed in delight, jumping for joy and chanting ‘It’s coming home’ at the top of their voices.
Minutes later, the final whistle was blown, propelling England into an historic final and sending football fans in Portsmouth mad.
Louie Oldfield, 14, was celebrating on the shoulders of Brandon Lilly, 27.
He said: ‘I have never seen anything like this in my life. It’s just incredible.’
Brandon added: ‘It’s unbelievable really. I feel ecstatic. You don’t see this every day. It feels absolutely amazing.’
Mark Boyle, of Southsea, was watching the game with pal Anson Adams, and was left speechless at the outcome.
The 67-year-old said: ‘I was 12 when we won the World Cup and since then it’s been nothing but defeat.
‘When it came to the penalty I instinctively feared we were going to miss it.
‘But then I heard the screams and saw the goal. It was incredible.’
Chris Strudwick, 47, of Portsmouth, added: ‘I have 100 per cent faith that football is coming home.’
The win now means a bumper Sunday trade for pubs across the region.
Kate Jones, the landlady of The Artillery Arms, said she was already fully booked.
She added: ‘It’s been a whirlwind first week for me as landlady. I can’t wait until Sunday’s final.’
Kick-off time for the final is 8pm.