Euro 2020 – England-Denmark (semi-final): Harry Kane – Kasper Dolberg, instinct found at the key moment

They don’t just have things in common. And they were not expected at the same level on this Euro. But Harry Kane and Kasper Dolberg still have a lot to share. The life of the scorers is thus made. They are the first to suffer popular retribution when they are not scoring. They are immediately put on a pedestal when they find their way back to the net. It is an illustration of the irrationality of football. The tournament so far crossed by the center-forward of England and that of Denmark sums up the phenomenon perfectly.

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What does it matter the past struggles when the future can reserve a place in the final of the Euro. England has been keen to finally relive this type of event for decades. Denmark dreams of adding this chapter to this fabulous story that it has been writing for a few weeks. There will only be one left. But the two nations know that they will need the efficiency of their respective scorers more than ever to achieve their goals. Above all, they have the best reasons to believe in themselves. Because they each regained their instinct as a finisher at the most crucial moment of the tournament.

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Kane made his teeth cringe

Of the two scorers, only one was expected to be one of the stars of the tournament. Harry Kane has it all. Logic. He finished top scorer in the Premier League three times, in the 2018 World Cup, and in the qualifying campaign for this Euro. He wears the captain’s armband of a more ambitious selection than ever as the tournament approaches, with the prospect of playing the semi-final and final in his Wembley lair. So English teeth seriously gritted when the Tottenham serial scorer remained silent in his first three matches.

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Kane never doubted. When the critics fell on him, he was also able to count on the unwavering support of his team and his coach. « He’s our most important player, repeated Gareth Southgate tirelessly after the sad draw against Scotland, crossed like a ghost by his striker (0-0). He is fundamental, not only for the goals he scores but also for our game, in the construction and for all that he brings. I know there will be a lot of questions that will be asked about him, but he’s been through this 100 times already.. « 

Patience has paid off and the click has arrived. A header to seal England’s victory against Germany in the round of 16 (2-0), a brace to illustrate the demonstration of the Three Lions against Ukraine (4-0), and the scorer of Spurs got back in the saddle at the best of times. When it all comes down to double or nothing. « My goals? I said it, you had to be ready for the playoffs, underlined Kane after the success against the Ukrainians. Everything just had to go a little better. « And when things go better for Kane, all dreams are allowed for England.

Dolberg, the end of the galleys

If Kane was desired, Dolberg was not really expected at such a party. A bit like Denmark after all. Confined to the role of Yussuf Poulsen’s understudy, the Nice striker went through the group stage discreetly, with just half an hour of time in the third match won against Russia (4-1). A logical status as the placid Danish has experienced a delicate season on the Côte d’Azur. It is even an understatement to say it as the various pips have stuck to the Aiglon like a magnet.

Dolberg chained them. He first suffered an injury to an ankle, then to the hip and finally to the adductors. In the meantime, he has been put in solitary confinement after being affected by Covid-19 … twice. To top it off, the former Ajax player saw the second part of his season thwarted by an attack of appendicitis. And as if that wasn’t enough, his home was broken into and his car stolen… « It’s human to doubt when you go through such trials, had he recognized. You come to think that the whole world is against you.« 

But the wheel ended up turning. Poulsen forfeited injury, Dolberg fully seized his chance with a double in the round of 16 against Wales (4-0). Returned to the forefront of the Danish attack against the Czech Republic, he contributed to the qualification of his team with a new achievement (2-1). Three goals in two matches, half of his total for the entire season in Ligue 1 with Nice. « I expected this, especially when I was on the bench, he relished after the victory against the Welsh. My patience was finally rewarded. « Like Kane, here he is for good. It remains to be seen which of the two will end the other’s dream.

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