London (AFP) – Harry Kane says England must win Wednesday’s Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark to prove they deserve to be ranked among the world’s top nations.
England have never reached the European Championship final and last won a major trophy at the 1966 World Cup.
Their impressive surge to a second successive major tournament semi-final following the 2018 World Cup run has sparked talk of a sustained period of dominance from the Three Lions.
And England captain Kane admits it is time for his team to make the next step to a final.
“It’s a chance to go out there and prove it, we can talk as much as we want but the bottom line is we have to go out there and perform,” Kane said.
“We can go and be free, enjoy it, but have a real focus on trying to get through to the final.”
England are heavy favourites to beat Denmark in front of 60,000 fired-up fans at Wembley, which produced a raucous atmosphere for the last 16 win against Germany.
Denmark believe Southgate’s side may find the pressure hard to cope with, but Kane is confident they will rise to the occasion.
“Whenever you are an England player stepping out into a major tournament every game is a high-pressure situation,” he said.
“I spoke after the Germany game about the pressure that was on us as a team to perform. We came through that well and, the further you go, we were expected to win the Ukraine game.
“But you still have to go out there and perform under that pressure. It’s part and parcel of major tournament football.
“A lot of us have been dealing with it at club level, Champions League finals, cup finals, so the squad is more experienced than what it was in 2018.
“It’s about performing on the matchdays, there’s a lot of talk going into this semi-final and it’s a chance for us to go one step further than we did in Russia in 2018.”
England lost 1-0 to Denmark at Wembley in the Nations League in October after Harry Maguire’s dismissal.
That followed a 0-0 draw in Copenhagen in September but Tottenham striker Kane claimed those games will have no bearing with a place in Sunday’s final at stake.
“They have some great individual players but their biggest strength is them as a whole, their technical ability and mentality as a team,” Kane said.
“The two games in the Nations League were difficult. We’re expecting a tough game but we have enough belief and ability in this squad that we feel, if we get it right on the night, we should be able to win.”