‘Has football ever been home? Have England ever won it?’

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel responds to question about England

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during a team training session ahead of Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during a team training session ahead of Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA

 

Ahead of Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final showdown Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel told England fans that football has never been home.

Hope and expectation are building in England as they prepare to step out in front of a partisan Wembley crowd and attempt to reach their first ever European Championship final. Denmark won the competition in 1992.

When asked about England’s “football’s coming home” anthem and narrative, Schmeichel said: “Has it ever been home?

“I don’t know, have you ever won it?” the Leicester goalkeeper said, before being told by English journalists of their success in 1966. “Was that not the World Cup?

“To be honest, I haven’t given any thought to what it would mean to stop England more than what it would do for Denmark.

“To be honest, I’ve focused very little on the England national team. It doesn’t really mean anything to me.

“It’s what it would do for our country back home. The joy it would bring to a country of only five-and-a-half million to be able to do something like that, or compete with the nations we’re competing with.

“So, yeah, not really a lot of thought to England’s feelings in this.”

Denmark’s extraordinary Euro 1992 triumph came when Schmeichel’s father Peter, the former Manchester United and Man City goalkeeper, was between the sticks.

This run has been played in even more remarkable circumstances after playmaker Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening match.

“I think this group has always been special,” Schmeichel said. “We’ve said it for many years. It just came to light in a very dramatic way. But we have never been in doubt of the collective strength and the spirit we have in this team.

“It’s shown the world what we have. I think what it has done for the country of Denmark is that we’ve experienced something as a country quite shocking.

“That’s definitely brought the country very close together. The support we’ve seen back home is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in my career, in my life, and unlikely to even see anything like it again.

“But it shows what football can do. It shows the reason why we play team sports because when one of your team-mates is in need then your mates are there for you.

“I think that’s why we’ve been shown so much love from everywhere, but particularly at home.”

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