Euro 2020: England’s poor record in tournament semi-finals

When England face Denmark on Wednesday at Wembley at Euro 2020 it will be their fifth semi-final appearance at a major tournament.

Matthew Crist

England’s 4-0 victory over Ukraine in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 sees the Three Lions reach the last four of a major tournament for the second campaign in a row but only the fourth ever in their hiostory.

Gareth Southgate took his Three Lions side to the semi-final of the World Cup in Russia back in 2018, but were eventually defeated by Croatia.

That matched their run to the last four in Italia 90 and was their best performance in a World Cup since they won the World Cup at Wembley in 1966 when they beat West Germany 4-2 after exta-time.

This will be only England’s second last-four appearance at the European Championships, their last coming at Euro ’96, which was held in England, as Southgate himself missed the decisive spot-kick in a heartbreaking defeat to eventual winners Germany.

So ahead of one of the biggest nights in years, here is a look at England’s four previous semi-final appearances, which reads; played four, lost three and won one.

England 2-1 Portugal: World Cup 1966

Nobby Stiles

A full house at Wembley saw Bobby Charlton score twice as Alf Ramsey’s side beat Portugal 2-1 to book a place in the final back at Wembley a few days later.

Having taken a two-goal lead, including a rasping shot from Charlton, a late penalty from the brilliant Eusebio’s made things uncomfortable for the hosts in the dying stages.

England famously beat West Germany in the final 4-2 after extra-time thanks to Geoff Hurst’s hat-trick to ensure they would win their first and, to date, last major trophy.

England 1-1 West Germany: World Cup 1990

England v Germany 1990

After something of a slow start at the World Cup in Italy, Bobby Robson’s side rolled back the years to set up a semi-final clash with the team they had beaten at Wembley to lift the trophy 26-years earlier.

After a defelcted shot gave the Germans the lead, Gary Lineker’s late equaliser took England into extra time in Turin, but in the penalty shootout Stuart Pearce and Chris Waddle missed their spot-kicks to send England out while West Germany would go on to win the trophy in Rome.

Despite reaching the last four six-years-later at Euro 1996, this would be England’s last semi-final appearance for another 26-years.

England 1-1 Germany: Euros 1996

England Euro 96

It was a familiar foe for Terry Venables’ England side as they faced Germany at a semi-final once again, this time at the 1996 European Champions.

Alan Shearer scored an early header from a corner but Stefan Kuntz soon equalised to send the game into extra-time where England had a number of golden chances to reach their first final since 1966 but somehow failed to take them.

The match went to extra time and then penalties, where both teams scored all five of their spot-kicks, but in sudden death, Gareth Southgate’s strike was saved to see England exit the tournament.

England 1-2 Croatia: World Cup 2018

England reached only their second semi-final at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, but once again fell short despite taking an early lead against Croatia.

Kieran Trippier’s early free-kick once again gave England hope of reaching a first major final since 1966 and came within the width of a post of extending their lead when Harry Kane’s effort bounced off the woodwork.

But Ivan Perisic equalised in the second half before Mario Mandzukic struck in extra time to end a magical World Cup run.


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