England’s Euro 2020 journey extended on Saturday evening as they thrashed Ukraine in Rome. On Wednesday (8pm; TV: Live on ITV) evening, the Three Lions will attempt to reach their first final since 1966, but can they get the better of a resilient Denmark side that has grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed?
Read on for our Euro 2020 semi-final match preview with concluding betting tips.
First real test?
The English have done very well at the Euros so far. They have given teams few opportunities, have dominated games, and in their last two matches, have really started to click into gear offensively. However, have they really been tested? The simple answer here is no.
The group stage was simple for Gareth Southgate’s men, we all know that. They had more quality than their opponents and made it through without really leaving second gear. Things should have got harder in the knockouts, but England benefitted from facing an uncharacteristically weak German side, a side that in many ways rolled over without landing a punch, while much of the same can be said for the Ukraine game.
The big thing is that England are yet to be tested defensively, and the Danes, who like England have scored six goals in two knockout matches, could be the ones to really put pressure on the Three Lions’ backline. After all, we’re talking about the second highest scorers in the tournament thus far.
The Denmark squad, and everybody involved, have shown fantastic character and spirit to go on and produce some fine results after the harrowing collapse of their talismanic number ten Christian Eriksen on match-day one, but we shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that they’ve got this far on spirit and determination alone. This is a Danish side filled with quality, a side that has started to play some excellent football, especially in the final third and a side that can hurt even the best teams.
Offensively, the Danes have shone like very few other teams have at this tournament, so much so that they are the highest normal-time scorers. They have netted more goals (excluding extra-time) than any other team, notching 11 in five matches, scoring ten of those 11 in the last three.
During the groups, despite losing two matches, one of which can be put down to obvious reasons, the other they were unlucky to lose based on the overall balance of play, Denmark performed better from an expected goals perspective, exiting the group stages with an xG difference of +3.3. England left Group D behind with an expected goal difference of +1.3.
In the knockouts, Denmark have registered 3.2 expected goals for and have conceded 1.9 at the other end, giving themselves a reasonably healthy average expected goal difference of +1.3, which tells us that they are creating more than they’re giving away.
England can’t quite match that, having produced 2.3 expected goals for in the knockouts, surrendering 1.7. In terms of shots, England have registered 15 shots for in two knockout matches, hitting the target ten times, while they have given away 16 shots, conceding five on target. Denmark have posted an impressive 27 shots for in two knockout matches, registering 15 on target. At the other end, they have been quite generous, conceding 27 shots in the knockouts, though only six on target.
Growing in confidence
At the end of the day, both teams have grown in confidence as the tournament has progress and both have players capable of doing damage in the final third. England perhaps more so, what with the now potent-again Harry Kane leading the line, but is there as much between the pair in terms of quality as the odds suggest?
Denmark can really test this England team’s defensive nous, and the brave bettors out there could do far worse than supporting the Danes to win at odds of 9/2, or with a goal head start on the handicap at 21/20. However, the preferred option is ‘both teams to score’ (BTTS) at odds of 6/5. England are yet to concede a goal at Euro 2020 but as they say, nothing lasts forever. Moreover, as touched on in this preview above, both have grown offensively and are now looking threatening.
Denmark’s rather cavalier approach should lend itself to goals at both ends too. As the numbers show, they have offered lots going forward, but have been reasonably generous with what they’ve conceded too. Having seen Czech Republic both score against and test the Danish defensive line, Southgate’s attacking players, of which there are many, should fancy themselves to be productive offensively.
Multiple Danish goals?
Bettors may be sceptical betting on Denmark to notch twice against a side that is yet to concede, but as already mentioned, England are yet to be put under pressure offensively. There is no telling how they will cope when they are on the backfoot, which they almost certainly will be at some point against an energetic and forward-thinking Danish side.
The Danes are fancied to be the first team to hurt the English backline, and if they get one, they may just get a couple. After all, this is a side that has scored more than a single goal per game since match-day three in the groups, a team that has made a habit of firing off plenty of shots, and a team that is averaging an impressive 1.8 expected goals per 90 at the Euros.
So these are the betting tips we advise to conclude this England vs Denmark preview: