England vs. Denmark semifinal preview: Keys to victory, X factors, predictions

After a thrilling first semifinal, we're down to the final three countries that retain hope of winning Euro 2020. Spain were beaten on penalties by Italy with England facing Denmark on Wednesday.

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ESPN sets out what you need to know about the second semifinal, which can be streamed LIVE on ESPN networks and ESPN+.

England vs. Denmark

Wednesday: 3 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. CET (ESPN, ESPN+)

How they got there: Denmark's progression to the semifinals has been truly remarkable. Aside from the trauma of Christian Eriksen's on-field collapse during the opening game against Finland, Kasper Hjulmand's team lost their first two group fixtures and needed a final game win against Russia to squeeze into the knockout stages. But from then on, the Danes have beaten Wales 4-0 and defeated the Czech Republic 2-1 in the quarterfinal to reach the final four.

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England have been flawless, with Gareth Southgate's team yet to concede a goal in the tournament. But while they slowly went through the gears during the group stage -- scoring just twice in two wins and a draw -- England have built serious momentum with a win against Germany in the round of 16 at Wembley before Saturday's emphatic 4-0 quarterfinal victory against Ukraine in Rome.

England keys to victory: Complacency has become England's most dangerous opponent. Southgate's squad is packed with quality in all departments, confidence is high and they also have home advantage at Wembley. But with so many aces up their sleeve, Southgate has admitted that the danger facing his team comes from underestimating their opponents. England haven't reached a major final since the 1966 World Cup, so the pressure and expectation will be intense on Wednesday, but if they can blank out the off-field distractions, they should be too strong for Denmark.

Denmark keys to victory: Denmark's collective spirit has been prominent ever since captain Simon Kjaer urged his teammates to form a circle around Eriksen while he was being treated on the pitch following his collapse against Finland three weeks ago. But while it has carried Denmark a long way, they are more than a tight-knit team. They are well-organised, solid and with a strong spine, starting from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel. If they can fuse their togetherness with their quality and have big-game performances from Kasper Dolberg, Martin Braithwaite, Thomas Delaney and Yussuf Poulsen, Denmark can win.

This game's X factor: Denmark have won on two of their three visits to England this century -- winning their most recent game at Wembley with a 1-0 victory in October 2020 -- so they will travel to London with the confidence of a team that knows how to beat an opponent on their own turf. Denmark fans will be heavily outnumbered on Wednesday, but their support has brought noise and colour to Euro 2020, and they will make themselves heard and seen at Wembley.


- England 3-1 Denmark: Denmark can make this a nervy night for England if they are able to frustrate and deny them an early breakthrough. But if England score first, it is difficult to envisage anything but a comfortable victory and a place in the final at Wembley on Sunday. -- Mark Ogden

- England 3-1 Denmark: Denmark will be the first team to score against England at Euro 2020, but Southgate's side should have enough firepower to get to a first major final since 1966. -- Rob Dawson.

- England 1-2 Denmark: Upsets do happen. And if you believe in the Eriksen fairy tale, why not? -- Gab Marcotti.

- England 1-0 Denmark: Expect another tight game at Wembley, but the 60,000-strong crowd can help get England over the line. -- James Olley.

- England 1-0 Denmark: The best defence in the tournament will be too solid defensively for the Danes, who looked tired in the second half against Czech Republic. -- Julien Laurens.