England warned over ‘biggest test’ of Euro 2020 against Denmark – EXCLUSIVE
Former Manchester United and England defender Paul Parker has suggested that Denmark will provide Gareth Southgate’s side with their toughest challenge of Euro 2020 in Wednesday evening’s semi-final clash. The Three Lions will go into the all-important match at Wembley Stadium with high hopes of downing the Danes to reach a first major tournament final since the World Cup in 1966.
England are yet to concede a single goal at the Euros and have been widely tipped to progress to Sunday’s final at the expense of Denmark.
Southgate’s men have enjoyed a strong campaign in which they have successfully matched their efforts at the last World Cup to reach a second tournament semi-final in three years.
Two wins and a draw in Group D set up a mouthwatering first knockout round clash with Germany, a test that England passed with flying colours.
Saturday’s quarter-final against a spirited Ukraine side threatened to serve as a potential banana skin, but the Three Lions also rose to that challenge, coasting to a 4-0 victory under the lights in Rome.
England are widely considered to be the favourites ahead of Wednesday’s last-four meeting with Denmark, but Parker is not convinced that it will be plain sailing.
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The 57-year-old, who played for England in their semi-final defeat to Germany at the World Cup in 1990, exclusively told Express Sport that he is expecting a tough test at Wembley when the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling go into battle once again.
“England are in another semi-final in the Euro competition,” said Parker. “They’ve had the easiest path but the path has got very, very difficult.
“They’re up against a team which everyone is quite sentimental about, a team that’s maybe gained a bit more momentum off the back of how they nearly lost one of their team-mates.
“Secondly, how UEFA dealt with them after that and it could’ve cost them. But somehow they’ve got through that somehow with the skin of their teeth, to get through off two defeats and a win [in the group stage].
“So this is going to be England’s biggest test. It isn’t against a big-name country.
“It’s up against a team which is a team, not a team full of individuals. So this is going to be very, very difficult for England and Gareth Southgate.
“As much as he’s most enjoyed this moment of two tournaments and getting to two semi-finals, this is going to be his biggest concern really.”
Parker went on to suggest that England’s heroes will be motivated by the level of stardom they would enjoy by reaching the final of the Euros, with matches like Wednesday’s last-four clash able to separate the good from the great.
“The greatest thing of all about being in the semi-final is that they’re not coming up against Germany, I think we have to say that,” added the former United man.
“Yes, we’ve got Germany out of the way, but it’s not a semi-final which they seem to like against us.
“I would just say that in their minds and everything, it’s just one of those moments knowing the difference between them being what they are or them stepping into another level of being a footballer by reaching a final.
“That level which only the people from 1966 can talk about, that’s the level they are going to go into.”
Parker was speaking to Express Sport on behalf of Outlaw Pro, who are launching a six-part mini-series where Parker will join fellow ex-footballers in being trained by multi-world champion anglers on BT Sport next year.
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