England hit with charges after Euro 2020 semi-final 'disgrace'

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Seen here, Danish keeper Kapser Schmeichel has a laser shone in his face before Harry Kane's penalty.
England have been charged after a fan shone a laser in the face of Danish keeper Kapser Schmeichel. Pic: Optus Sport/Getty

England have been slapped with several charges stemming from the team's controversial Euro 2020 semi-final victory over Denmark at Wembley.

The Three Lions booked a spot in their first final at a major international tournament since 1966 after a drama-filled 2-1 extra time victory against the Danes.

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However, the victory looks set to come at cost for England after they were slapped with several charges relating to bad behaviour from fans.

The most contentious incident came when a supporter shone a green laser pen in the face of Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, right before he saved Harry Kane's penalty in extra time.

The England captain managed to hit home the rebound in what proved to be the decisive goal, with the laser incident sparking outrage for football fans on social media, with many labelling it "disgraceful" and "disgusting".

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European football's governing body Uefa has since charged England over the incident, while also sanctioning them after fans caused a "disturbance" by booing during Denmark's national anthem and setting off fireworks in the stands.

"The case will be dealt with by the Uefa Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body (CEDB) in due course," said a statement from European football's governing body.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official spokesman also condemned those fans who booed during the Denmark national anthem.

"We don't want fans to be booing teams," said the spokesman. "We want fans to be showing support and being respectful.

"Uefa are looking into that, that's a matter for them but it's not something we would want to see."

England are likely to be hit with a significant financial penalty - tipped to be in the five-figures - as a result of the charges.

It comes as the national team prepares to play Italy in Monday morning's (AEST) final at Wembley after completing a come-from-behind victory against the Danes.

England ends long wait for final berth

Mikkel Damsgaard's stunning free-kick after 30 minutes threatened another semi-final disappointment for Gareth Southgate's side, three years on from losing in the last four of the World Cup.

But Simon Kjaer's own goal levelled before half-time and a controversial penalty proved decisive when Kane scored on the rebound after his initial effort was saved by Schmeichel.

The decision to award England's Raheem Sterling a penalty for a soft foul looked particularly harsh on Denmark, but it was far from the only controversy in extra time.

Eagle-eyed viewers also spotted a second football on the pitch in the lead-up to the penalty decision, with fans questioning why the referee failed to stop play.

Schmeichel then saved Kane's penalty despite having the laser shone in his eyes, only for the England skipper to hammer home the rebound as the home side hung on to book a date with the Italians in the decider.

Italians on impressive unbeaten run

The teams will meet on Sunday night at Wembley, where England will be going for its first major title since winning the 1966 World Cup at their national stadium.

The Italians are unbeaten in 33 games.

It's been 55 agonising years for England through 26 World Cups and European Championship tournaments, seven of which they didn't even qualify for.

Even less illustrious national teams like Denmark and Greece have won trophies since then. But England became all about falling short on a world stage it felt it should dominate.

Beating Denmark on Wednesday broke through the semi-final obstacle at least in the Euros, prevailing 2-1 in extra time and avoiding the penalty shootouts that have proved to be the team's nemesis through all those near-misses.

"What a brilliant moment for us," England coach Gareth Southgate said on the field with fans still singing into the night at Wembley. Let's savour this."

No way were the England players missing out on the chance to lap up the acclaim of a crowd waiting for this healing moment, not only to reach a final again but to gather in such big numbers again as the pandemic-restricted capacity swelled to 66,000.

Pictured here, England players celebrate their semi-final victory at Euro 2020.
England players celebrate their semi-final victory over Denmark at Wembley. Pic: Getty

"It's too late," Southgate quipped discussing any attempt to curtail the exuberance. "We all let ourselves down on the pitch."

The celebrations were a reflection of the bond the coach has forged between the national team and an English public that seemed disillusioned with the hubris and dreary performances before Southgate's overhaul began in 2016.

Leading England to a final is proving cathartic for the coach who as a player missed the decisive penalty in the Euro '96 semifinal penalty shootout against Germany.

It was that tournament that saw the introduction of the England "Three Lions" song talking of "30 years of hurt."

It's never easy for England.

Even when the path to the Euro 2020 semi-finals seemed smooth - even the 2-0 win over archrival Germany - Southgate was prepared for difficulties against Denmark, especially after losing the 2018 World Cup semi-final to Croatia and being beaten in the 2019 Nations League last four by the Netherlands.

"I knew it might be a tortuous path," Southgate said. "In the end it's a wonderful evening for our fans, for our public and for our country."

with agencies

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