Three Lions, Southgate feted by national press

The front pages of many of England's mainstream newspapers celebrated the Three Lions' semi-final win over Demnark. England face Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final at Wembley.
The front pages of many of England's mainstream newspapers celebrated the Three Lions' semi-final win over Demnark. England face Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final at Wembley.PHOTO: TWITTER/CFBCITY

LONDON • England ended a 55-year wait to reach a major final after they overcame Denmark and the Euro 2020 result dominated the front and back pages of the country's newspapers yesterday, with most going on a similar theme to Daily Mirror's splash: "Finally".

The Three Lions beat the Danes 2-1 in extra time on Wednesday to reach a first final since they won the World Cup in 1966, prompting the Daily Star to ask on its front page: "Is this the greatest dream ever?", while the Independent led with: "The history-makers".

"England are in a final - a final! - and these are the strangest, rarest, and most beautiful of words to write, read or even imagine," Henry Winter wrote in The Times.

"For the first time since July 30, 1966, England will engage in a duel for a major honour. A final! Can 55 years of hurt really be about to end?"

There was plenty of praise for manager Gareth Southgate, who has carried the pain of his penalty shoot-out miss at the semi-finals of Euro 96 and often been criticised for his tactics. "(He has) the bravery to be unpopular, to be the scapegoat if it goes wrong," wrote Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail.

"England won. England are in the final. The end justified the means. Every decision to here can be defended on this simple outcome. That's football and, at last, England are actually quite good at it. Pinch yourself and believe, because it is what this team and its manager deserves."

There were also plaudits for captain Harry Kane, who became his country's joint-highest goalscorer in major tournaments. He is level with Gary Lineker on 10 goals, after he converted the winning penalty at the second attempt.

Barney Ronay in the Guardian described him as a "quietly assertive leader" and added: "It has been a show of deep character to rouse himself from those early days where he seemed to be staggering around Wembley with a Chesterfield sofa strapped to his back."

Matt Dickinson in The Times wondered what emotional outpouring might be triggered if England beat Italy in Sunday's final.

"A mighty roar bellowed around Wembley stadium. It cascaded out of pubs and bars, and along streets across the nation," he wrote.

"If this could feel so wonderful once it had stopped feeling so agonising, imagine the delirium if England actually go on to win Euro 2020."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2021, with the headline 'Three Lions, Southgate feted by national press'. Subscribe