Pickford’s first real involvement came in the fifteenth minute of the game when Denmark took advantage of a Kalvin Phillips turnover to get a shot on goal. The goalie collected easily and then almost got himself into worse trouble with his first big mistake of the tournament - he tried to release Declan Rice on a counter but his underhand throw was intercepted and converted into a deflected shot that went out for a corner. Pickford did better on the setpiece however, punching clear.
That chance heralded a period of control for the Danish side as they hemmed the English back and created a chance with Mikkel Damsgaard going wide of the goal. At 25 minutes in Pickford broke the record of legendary English goalkeeper Gordon Banks having gone 722 minutes without conceding a goal. Just minutes later though that streak ended after Luke Shaw hauled down Andreas Christensen, and youngster Damsgaard curled a beautiful freekick over the wall and as it dipped under the bar, Pickford got a fingertip on the ball but that was it and the Danes led 1-0 at the half hour mark.
DAMSGAARD FOR DENMARK!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 7, 2021
HE SCORES THE FIRST FREE KICK GOAL OF EURO 2020 pic.twitter.com/mnB3IcmFKl
The goalie’s jitters continued after the goal however, and Pickford misplaced a pass straight at Kasper Dolberg, but the Danes were unable to take advantage. England though came back into the game, stung by going behind for the first time this tournament. First Raheem Sterling hit the towering wall from a freekick in a promising position and then saw Kasper Schmeichel make a brilliant point-blank range save, before seconds later he got on the end of a great run and cross from Bukayo Saka to level the game before the break (later reviews showed the ball went in off a sliding Simon Kjaer).
ENGLAND ARE LEVEL!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 7, 2021
THE OWN GOAL STRIKES AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/t6I4GgAYVc
The second half started off on equal footing, with Pickford doing very well to get down low and stop a Dolberg shot, with the striker later being called offside. Harry Maguire was booked for elbowing Kjaer, and then almost turned hero getting his head to a freekick from Mount, but Schmeichel again saved very well low to his right.
Schmeichel saves Denmark! pic.twitter.com/SZHuXRKazw— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 7, 2021
Both sides made changes to rejuvenate their attacks, but it was the home side that looked likelier to score as the minutes ticked on. England poured on the pressure as the Danes got hemmed into their own box for most of the last few minutes of regulation time, but failed to register a significant shot on goal and extra time was going to be needed.
Early in extra time Kane drew another good save from Schmeichel from a narrow angle as Denmark looked to hunker down and defend, struggling to get the ball out of their own half. Substitute Jack Grealish and Sterling both had shots in the first stanza of extra time before the Manchester City forward showed some nifty footwork in the box and was lucky to get a penalty awarded just before the break.
PENALTY to England— Yahoo Soccer (@FCYahoo) July 7, 2021
Raheem Sterling goes down in the box, but was it a good call? #EURO2020 (via @TUDNUSA)pic.twitter.com/eMSzJZEfCm
Captain Kane stepped up and saw his poor penalty well-saved, but the rebound fell kindly for the Three Lions as the Tottenham forward slotted home in the other corner.
It really might be coming home— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 7, 2021
KANE SLAMS IT HOME AFTER HIS PENALTY WAS SAVED! pic.twitter.com/msiI9kyMcF
The Danes came forward looking for the equalizer as Southgate chose to mass ranks in front of Pickford, looking to pick off the visitors on the counter. Martin Branthwaite had a deflected shot that looked like it was going wide but Pickford took no chances pushing the ball wide for a corner that was cleared well.
Maguire conceded another corner with five minutes to play that allowed the Scandinavians to bring up all their big boys, but that was cleared too.
England have made the final of a major tournament at the twentieth time of asking since their 1966 World Cup triumph, and will now take on Italy on Sunday at Wembley, where they lifted the Jules Rimet Trophy 55 years ago.