Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel playfully took aim at England ahead of Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final showdown by questioning whether football had ever come home.
Hope and expectation are building as the Three Lions prepare to step out in front of a partisan Wembley crowd and attempt to reach their first European Championship final.
“Football’s coming home” can be heard and seen across the nation ahead of the Euros semi-final as fans dream of finally adding to the World Cup success of 1966.
But Denmark goalkeeper Schmeichel is not concerning himself with that clamour for success and instead aimed a cheeky dig at England.
“Has it ever been home? I don’t know, have you ever won it?” the Leicester goalkeeper said, before being reminded of 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 only major tournament success came in their extraordinary Euro 1992 triumph, when Schmeichel’s father Peter, the former Manchester United goalkeeper, was between the sticks.
This run has been played in even more remarkable circumstances after Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest in their opening match.
“I think this group has always been special,” said Schmeichel. “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.”