According to manager Gareth Southgate, England players are having a good time, winning over fans, and enjoying a European Championship run that might benefit the Three Lions “for a generation.”
For the first time since winning the 1966 World Cup, they would reach the final of a major tournament if they won.
“If we can preserve that bond with the supporters, we’ll get more out of their talent,” Southgate said.
Southgate’s side advanced to the last four after a 4-0 quarter-final triumph over Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.
They now return to Wembley, where they last appeared in the men’s European Championship semi-finals 25 years ago.
While Germany lost on penalties in 1996, with Southgate missing the deciding spot-kick, the tournament is remembered as “a fantastic experience for their players and spectators.”
After the summer of 1996, it took 22 years for England’s men’s side to reach the last four of a major international event again, with Southgate leading the Three Lions to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
“We’ve duplicated what we accomplished there, but it won’t suffice to satisfy the [players].” “I think that’s a good indicator,” Southgate added.
“The other thing that is so great is that these young players – 18, 19, 20, 21 – are getting more positive and joyful experiences of England, and they’re getting a sense of what it’s like to wear an England shirt and have fun, win matches, and have a positive relationship with the supporters.”
“That is critical for future generations.”
Denmark is ‘surfing an emotional wave.’
Southgate claims that England, which is attempting to reach its first World Cup final in 55 years, has already overcome a number of “hoodoos” during the competition.
After a harrowing start to the competition, with midfielder Christian Eriksen experiencing cardiac arrest on the pitch, he claims his team now faces a Denmark team “surfing a wave of emotion.”
Denmark lost their first game to Finland and were then defeated by Belgium a few days later, but a win over Russia saw them go to the knockout stage, where they beat Wales and the Czech Republic.
“In sports, we talk about perspective, but we rarely have it.” “For all of us, this was a moment that brought it home,” Southgate added.
“I can only imagine how that has affected the Danish team’s camaraderie.”
“We’re talking about our experiences, but what they went through that day – the way their captain [Simon Kjaer] and the group were – and how that would have connected with their fans – that’s really powerful.”
“They are, without a doubt, riding a tsunami of emotion, and that is a huge force that is heading to Wembley.” Those things have a big influence on how you think.”