Three Lions, that Baddiel and Skinner's ear worm that becomes inescapable whenever England get a bit of momentum at a tournament, starts with some old Trevor Brooking commentary lamenting, 'we're not creative enough, we're not positive enough'. It's immediately followed by a whimsical, 'It's coming home, it's coming home...'.

If ever a stanza summed up the English psyche, that's surely it.

England seem to exist in a woozy purgatory between indignant despair and giddy over-confidence - like a man wobbling across a tightrope with a pint in each hand.

It's not unreasonable to assume that if they lose to Denmark, there will be calls in some quarters for Southgate to be moved on. Such is the life of an England manager - even one who's recently been described by Gary Neville as the team's "biggest asset".

England have indeed progressed to the last four with an impressive level of efficiency; and though it hasn't exactly been thrilling, the ruthless dismantling of Ukraine had all the hallmarks of a team that knows what they're doing.

Two of their four goals came from set-pieces - tangible reward for considerable training ground work after Southgate had aired his frustration at the team's drop-off in quality from dead balls.

Six of England's 12 goals at the 2018 World Cup came from either corners or free-kicks and three more were penalties. They failed to get a goal from a set-piece in the group stages at this Euros, but Southgate has clearly been working on that.

He's dipped into the NBA for inspiration when it comes to clever plays for corners and free-kicks, so when England line up in 'the love train' or with a 'back screen' in those situations you're witnessing the pay-off of the manager's trips to the USA to watch several basketball games, after which he'd quiz coaches and players on the art of making space in tight situations.

[The love train by the way is where players line up single file inside the box before splintering away in different directions at the point of delivery - inspired, of course, by the The O Jays' funky 1973 hit single].

Yes Ukraine were tired, limited and there to be beaten but Southgate's charges dispatched them with a confidence very few English sides have displayed in the knockout stages of major tournaments in the last five decades. They've managed to get this far without ever looking panicked or stretched and with some of their sparingly used attacking stars still very fresh.

The biggest question mark around them is how they might react to falling behind.

The dour stalemate against Scotland did throw up some questions about Southgate's natural caution. Might it eventually come back to haunt him?

They've been lucky enough to fall on the kinder side of the draw but it would be a serious mistake to underestimate Denmark.

Firstly, their recent record against England is more than decent. Last September they drew 0-0 in a dull Nations League clash in Copenhagen before the Danes won 1-0 at Wembley the following month after Harry Maguire saw red and Christian Eriksen won it from the penalty spot.

Also - and it's surprisingly easy to forget this - they've actually won a major tournament within the last 30 years so this is not scary new territory for Danes of a certain vintage. Why wouldn't they believe they can go all the way?

Their run this deep into the tournament has been framed as a heroic and unified response to Eriksen's shocking on-field cardiac arrest against Finland but there's more to this side than just guts and resilience.

They have a fine defensive spine of Kasper Schmeichel, Andreas Christensen, Simon Kjaer and Jannik Vestergaard; Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are two powerful, hard-working midfield destroyers who can play when they need to, while Joakim Maehle's superb outside-of-the-boot assist for Kasper Dolberg against the Czech Republic in the quarters was an emphatic reminder that there's quality to go with the steel.

Boss Kasper Hjulmand has done a brilliant job of focusing his team after the Eriksen incident.

Then again, he has experience of dealing with exceptional circumstances.

Hjulmand was the assistant coach at FC Nordsjaelland in 2009 when one of their players, Jonathan Richter, was struck by lightning during a reserve game. He survived but had to have part of his leg amputated. Hjulmand has also recently revealed that his uncle died on the football pitch after suffering a heart attack.

Adversity is a big part of this Danish story.

"The emotions of the last four weeks are enough for a lifetime," Hjulmand said ahead of the England showdown.

"We looked death in the eye as I never would like to see it again. We almost lost our best friend, our best player, the heart of our team.

"We didn't know how to deal with it. When I look back 20 years from now, I’ll say it was crazy."

England have the stronger squad, greater attacking depth and home advantage: there'll be 60,000 fans inside Wembley, the biggest crowd to have gathered in the UK since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

But there's no way Denmark will fold easily. Expect a tight game of few chances; one that could very well be decided by another English set-piece.

Prediction: England 1-0 Denmark

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