Raheem Sterling

England v Denmark
Wednesday, 20:00
Live on ITV 1

History predicts long night

Unfortunately, we don’t have an awful lot of material to work with when looking at England in semi-finals over the last 21 years.

However, what we do have is remarkably consistent. Here’s how those matches finished after 90 minutes.

World Cup 1990: England 1-1 West Germany
Euro 96: England 1-1 Germany
World Cup 2018: England 1-1 Croatia

For starters then, the England 1-1 Denmark correct scoreline at 8.415/2 is worth a look. As for what happens from there, England lost the first two on penalties while losing to Croatia in extra-time.

For those two outcomes, Denmark to win on penalties is 12.011/1 on the Sportsbook, with Denmark in extra-time a 2322/1 shot.

Denmark had a 4,000 mile round-trip to Baku in the last round while England have had four games at home and a quick trip to Rome to play Ukraine. If that makes them the fresher team, England to win in extra-time is worth a look at 8.515/2.

England have been tracking the World Cup winning team of 1966 in reaching the last four without conceding a single goal. Gareth Southgate’s men have actually done better as they’ve played an extra match to get there so that’s five clean sheets in a row for England now. England to win to nil is 2.6613/8.

Sir Alf Ramsey’s side did concede in the semis to Portugal 35 years ago and note that only Spain have scored more goals than Denmark’s 11 in this tournament. On top of that, the Danes have blasted home 10 in their last three matches.

England have also found their scoring boots with six in the last two games (v Germany and Ukraine).

On the other side of the coin, Denmark have conceded just once in their last three games, and this when the stakes have risen, so the argument for goals can go both ways.

The market leans clearly towards Unders at 1.715/7 but there is definite scope for Over 2.5 at 2.3611/8 as England have to concede at some point, don’t they?

I’m slightly more a fan of Both teams to Score at 2.226/5 after reminding myself of England’s penchant for 1-1s in semis, results that would be losers for Over 2.5 but winners for BTTS.

Both teams have been netting freely so I’ll make BTTS my first bet.

Harry Kane has gone all Paolo Rossi 82 in this event: a dud in the group stages before coming alive in the knockout phase.

Rossi went from zero goals in the group to Golden Boot winner with six and Kane is halfway to that target after netting three times in his last two. Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo’s face if he got there (CR7 is currently top scorer alongside the Czech Republic’s Patrick Schick with five).

Goalscorers thrive on confidence and you’d now fully expect Kane to put away the chances he gets. He’s 2.3411/8 anytime, 8.415/2 to score two or more and, optimists klaxon, 3635/1 for the hat-trick.

It’s worth noting that Kane has scored two of his goals with headers – the second against Germany and the third against Ukraine.

England have scored five headed goals in Euro 2020, two more than any other team, so it’s a big strength. In that case I’ll head to the Sportsbook and back Kane to score with a header at 9.517/2, a decent price given that it’s landed in the last two games.

Historians will note that Alan Shearer nodded in England’s opener in the Euro 1996 semi at Wembley.

Raheem Sterling‘s three goals in the tournament were all openers so that’s perhaps the best way to play him. Sterling to score first is 8.415/2 while he’s 3.711/4 anytime.

Denmark have their own in-form striker in Kasper Dolberg. Like Kane, the Nice forward has three in his last two so 4.84/1 to score looks decent.

The value is with roaming left-back/wing-back Joakim Maehle, who scored against Russia and Wales and set up Dolberg against the Czech Republic. Maehle is 10.519/2 to score and 7.513/2 to assist.

Denmark, along with Italy, also lead the way in goals scored from outside the box: they’ve walloped in three from distance.

Dolberg is a massive 6160/1 on the Sportsbook to do so again.

A look at the stats shows that three of the top five assisters are on show at Wembley.

Luke Shaw and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are joint-second in the charts with three apiece while Jack Grealish, despite his limited involvement, is joint-fourth best with two.

Grealish is the favourite in this Sportsbook market at 3.7511/4 while Shaw is 5.59/2 and Hojbjerg 7.513/2.

England and Denmark are two of the cleanest teams in the tournament in terms of picking up cards. Both have been shown just four apiece which puts them joint-17th of the 24 teams playing in Euro 2020 and it’s even more impressive given that the pair have obviously played more games than the vast majority.

With existing yellows chalked off after the quarter-finals, some of the more robust players could be more willing to go in harder give that there’s no second booking, and subsequent suspension, hanging over them.

That doesn’t mean I’m expecting anything too extreme though: after all, who would want to pick up a red and either blow their team’s chances of making it through or being banned themselves from a Wembley showpiece?

In the bookings odds, 25pts and Under (i.e. two yellows or less) is just 2.021/1.

Dutch referee Danny Makkelie is set to take charge and he was the man in the middle in the 2-0 win over Germany. He booked five players on that occasion, including England trio Harry Maguire, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips.

Makkelie also flashed five yellows in his previous match – Finland 0-1 Russia – so perhaps the booking quotes are a little low.

On the Bet Builder, I’ll combine a couple of lines of thinking already mentioned and go with Raheem Sterling to score first in a 1-1 draw at a massive 5554/1.

Despite the huge price, it doesn’t seems particularly far-fetched: Sterling has a habit of scoring first and semi-finals are always rather traumatic affairs for England which brings in the idea of a Denmark equaliser.

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