After a start that only seemed befitting a nightmare with Christian Eriksen’s collapse, Denmark has gone on a remarkable run using threes straight victories by a combined score of 10-2 to reach the semi-final of Europe’s biggest international competition. Likewise, England was relatively quiet in the group stage, advancing with only 2 goals but have exploded in the knockouts with six goals in two matches to reach the final.
Unfortunately, for one of the two teams, the ride is going to end on the doorstep of opportunity and a loss in the semifinals. With Harry Kane and Pierre Højbjerg leading their respective clubs only one will come back to N17 having had that shot at glory.
Tottenham Stars have shined
Tottenham has only the two players left – Kane and Højbjerg – following Toby Alderweireled and Belgium’s loss to Italy. However, there is no doubting that both Spurs have had a real impact on the Tournament. Currently, the #22 and #20 ranked players at the tournament – both Kane and Højbjerg have a chance to finish much higher in the performance rankings and maybe even win the tournament.
Højbjerg showing a range of sklls
Pierre Højbjerg has been tremendous on both ends of the pitch. Højbjerg has done a wonderful job of finding the ball in space and recovering it for his team. While only 16th in the tournament with 28 recoveries, given only 1 was from a tackle, it shows Højbjerg is intercepting passes and getting to lose balls.
Without having to cover for fullbacks bombing forward, Højbjerg has been at the right place at the right time on more than one occasion for the Dane’s. Højbjerg’s three assists are second thus far in the competition and demonstrate his value in the attacking half of the pitch.
More than just the assists is the way the Dane has helped control the matches for his side with a major role in the passing game. Højbjerg’s 240 passes are the 10th most of anyone in the tournament and 5th most of anyone not playing for Spain. The Viking has been critical to the success of his team, just like his teammate Kane.
Kane started slow but on fire now
Harry Kane, like the entire England side, started the tournament slowly. With only two goals through three matches, the ball dominance and defense were paying off with shutouts but not much offense. The knockout rounds seem to have changed some things for England in this regard.
First came the two late goals against Germany, with Kane scoring the second with just four minutes to go. While some may have questioned the Lilywhite’s striker starting, let alone playing the full 90, Southgate’s faith paid off as Kane delivered the crucial second to seal the win.
Then against Ukraine, the dam seemed to burst a bit as the Three Lions drilled Ukraine 4-0 and Harry Kane scored two more for his country. Now with three goals Kane might be again thinking about the Golden Boot.
Ronaldo has five to lead the competition but no one in front of Kane is still playing. This means the figure is not moving, it is about who can catch it or top it. The who includes Raheem Sterling, who like Kane has three goals as well.
Only one Tottenham man can advance
Of course, to win the Golden Boot, it would mean Kane needs at least two more goals which would not bode well for Højbjerg. In the end, such is the case, either Højbjerg or Kane advances. While it stinks one of them has to end their magical run here, the good news is at least one Tottenham Hotspur player should play in the Euro 202 final. Unfortunately, it will just have to be at a friend’s and teammate’s expense.