‘Has it ever been home?!’: Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel aims a cheeky dig at England’s decades-long trophy drought ahead of semi-final clash at Wembley… as he insists his focus is only on securing another shock result at Euro 2020
The Three Lions’ run to the last-four of the competition has raised hopes of football finally ‘coming home’ for the first time since the World Cup in 1966, and Schmeichel was questioned over what it would mean to crush their dreams.
His tongue-in-cheek response, which was delivered with a wry smile, took aim at the drought, and Schmeichel then went on to insist that his focus has been firmly on securing another memorable result with Denmark.
Kasper Schmeichel has taken a dig at England’s trophy drought ahead of Denmark’s semi-final
Chants of ‘football’s coming home’ have echoed out around Wembley and in Rome during England’s fixtures so far, with the anthem having grown in popularity across the country since its release in 1996.
‘Has it ever been home? I don’t know,’ Schmeichel said. ‘Have you ever won it? ’66? Was that not the World Cup?
‘To be honest I haven’t given any thought to what it would mean to stop England. It’s more what it would do for Denmark. I’ve focused very little on the England team.
The Three Lions’ run to the Euro 2020 last-four has raised hopes the barren spell may be ended
Schmeichel was quizzed over what it would mean for Denmark to stop football ‘coming home’
‘It’s what it would do for our country back home. The joy it would bring to five million back home to do something like that, to compete with the nations we are competing with. Not really a lot of feelings for England on this.’
A victory for the Three Lions tomorrow would secure them a spot in their first final in 55 years, and the occasion – which would be against either Spain or Italy – may see them lift only their second ever major trophy.
Set to be in front of around 60,000 supporters at the stadium, England are the favourites for the clash. Schmeichel, however, believes that the pressure from the crowd may not affect Gareth Southgate’s side.
England’s first, and only, major international trophy came with their World Cup triumph in 1966
Denmark take on England at Wembley on Wednesday as they aim for another memorable win
‘When you have a team with so many world stars like England, the expectations are always going to be high,’ Schmeichel added.
‘I can’t imagine such a team will be affected by what the country expects of them. But they respect us. They know we are going to fight until the end.’
Denmark’s superb form at the tournament has been rendered an ever greater achievement after the sudden collapse of talisman Christian Eriksen during their first Group B fixture against Finland.
Eriksen, aged just 29, suffered a cardiac arrest on the field and required emergency medical intervention – which included CPR and a shock from a defibrillator – to save his life in harrowing scenes.
Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark’s fixture against Finland last month
Eriksen had shared this picture of himself in hospital after his sudden collapse in Copenhagen
Schmeichel has reflected back on the incident, and says the compassion and support shown to his team-mates has helped inspire them.
‘This group has always been special, we’ve said it for many years,’ Schmeichel said. ‘It just came to light in a very dramatic way.
‘It’s not because it’s brought us closer together, but it’s shown the world what we have.
‘We experienced something, as a country, quite shocking and that’s definitely brought Denmark closer together.
Schmeichel has reflected on the support and compassion extended to Denmark this summer
‘The support we’ve seen back home is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my career, in my life, and I’m unlikely to even see anything like it again.
‘But it shows what football can do, it shows the reason why we play team sports, because when one of your team-mates is in need, your mates are there for you.
‘I think that’s why we’ve been shown so much love from everywhere, but particularly at home.’