Euro 2020: Raheem Sterling steadfast despite penalty call controversy, says England showed great spirit in comeback win

England forward Raheem Sterling said they showed great team spirit to come from a goal behind to beat Denmark 2-1 in their Euro 2020 semi-final, and insisted the focus has shifted straight away to the final against Italy.

Mikkel Damsgaard gave Denmark a first-half lead at Wembley, but Harry Kane's finish on the rebound after his extra-time penalty was saved, completed the turnaround for England and earned them a first-ever European Championship final place.

"It was a top performance," Sterling said. "We had to dig deep, it was the first time we had conceded in the tournament, we regrouped well and showed great team spirit to win the game.

"We just had to stay patient. We knew that with the aggression we had in the team, the pace, the power, it was a matter of time before we brought them down and we got the penalty in the end.

"It is another step in the right direction. Once we stepped into the dressing room, that is it, over, and we focus on the weekend. Step by step, that's how we do it."

There was controversy over the decision to award England a penalty for a foul on Sterling, but the Manchester City forward felt the referee made the right call.

"I went into the box, he stuck his right leg out, and he touched my leg so it was a penalty," Sterling added.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 07: Raheem Sterling of England is fouled by Mathias Jensen of Denmark inside the penalty area, leading to England being awarded a penalty during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Semi-final match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium on July 07, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Kane's goal means the Tottenham Hotspur striker is now England's joint-highest scorer in major tournaments, moving level with Gary Lineker on 10 goals.

"Unbelievable - what a game though, credit to Denmark," Kane said. "We dug deep and we got there when it mattered. We reacted really well - we're in a final at home, what a feeling.

"We know it's going to be a very tough game against Italy we've had a great tournament so far. One more game to go at home and we can't wait."

England midfielder Declan Rice had another reason to celebrate after the match.

"I so want to do it for the people at home," Rice told BBC Sport. "Seeing the reactions, I'm a fan as well. I wish I was with them cheering, but we've not won anything yet. Italy are a top side but we're ready

"My brother has literally had a baby, as the second goal went in. He's crying his eyes out, he's had a little girl. It's a special night all round."

Reuters