England’s run to their maiden European Championship final hasn’t been an easy one, but there can be little doubting the instrumental role captain Harry Kane has played in taking them there.
Euro 2020 will conclude on Sunday when the Three Lions host Italy at Wembley, and Kane could clinch the tournament’s Golden Boot outright if he can add to his five-goal haul.
Gareth Southgate’s side advanced to the final after Kane converted a late penalty to beat Denmark 2-1 after extra time on Wednesday.
The Tottenham talisman didn’t open his account until the 2-0 last-16 win over Germany, however, with many voicing criticism of the frontman for his goalless group-stage campaign.
Kane, 27, failed to hit the back of the net against Croatia, Scotland and the Czech Republic, although he has still been critical as a linchpin in the national team’s attack
Fellow Spurs alumnus Dimitar Berbatov told Betfair England’s leader “can tell his critics to f*** off” for what he’s accomplished thus far in the competition.
“Harry Kane has been excellent in the knockout stages. He received some criticism in the group stages but Kane can tell his critics to f**k off,” Berbatov said.
“Even great players have their ups and downs. Even when he wasn't scoring he was doing a lot for the team. But now the goals are coming.
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“The pressure on him with the penalty against Denmark was immense. You cannot imagine what it feels like to take a penalty with a nation's hopes on your shoulders.
“As a player you know that everyone is depending on you, even if you don't want to think about it. It wasn't a good penalty but he got a bit of luck.”
England’s semi-final triumph over Denmark was shrouded in controversy for the manner in which Raheem Sterling won the decisive penalty, which was swiftly upheld by the VAR.
Kane needed a second bite at the cherry after Kasper Schmeichel saved his initial attempt, seeing his side through to a historic final after the ball fortunately fell to his feet.
That achievement was all the more admirable after it came to light Kane had discovered one of his grand-uncles had died in the build-up to Wednesday’s semi-final.
Berbatov, 40, scored 46 goals in 102 appearances for Tottenham, but his international return of 48 goals in 78 caps for Bulgaria is the best ratio he holds for any major team he represented.
The former Manchester United frontman said England’s place in the Euro 2020 decider is “thoroughly deserved,” though he anticipated a tough test against an Azzurri side unbeaten in a record 33 games.
Roberto Mancini’s side have produced 12 goals via six different scorers en route to the final, though none of their contributors have managed to net more than twice.
England, by contrast, have scored 10 goals through only four players, with both Kane (four goals) and Sterling (three) in sight of the Golden Boot prize.
Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson each got on the score sheet in the 4-0 quarter-final triumph over Ukraine, while the equaliser against Denmark came thanks to a Simon Kjaer own-goal.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Czech frontman Patrik Schick each scored five before their respective nations were knocked out of the running.
Even if Kane were to finish Euro 2020 without the top-scorer prize, his contributions for England, not to mention the leadership he’s displayed, are indicative of a hugely successful tournament.
Berbatov—who was often criticised as ‘lazy’ during his playing days—has thrown his support behind the leader of the Three Lions’ pride in the hope he can bring home a maiden European crown.
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