Harry Kane’s extra-time winner at Wembley secured a 2-1 victory over Denmark for Gareth Southgate’s team, sending the Three Lions into their first major final since 1966.
But Italian newspapers suggested it was the referee that helped England, while insinuating the team were boring and “frightened” by Denmark.
The front page of Corriere dello Sport headlined with ‘Zuppa Inglese’ – an Italian dessert derived from trifle that is thought of as boring.
Below the headline they wrote: “Southgate needs the help of the referee to reach the final against Italy.”
Later in their article, the paper said the turning point for England was [referee] “Makkelie’s whistle” that allowed the initial penalty that saw Harry Kane eventually score the decider.
Another newspaper, La Gazzetto dello Sport, also agreed that the penalty decision was “soft” and “doubts remain” over whether Denmark should have been penalised.
They also said that Denmark “frightened” England and urged the Italian side to “take the crown”.
And beIN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri mocked Raheem Sterling’s fall in the penalty box and, referencing the Three Lions song, tweeted: “It's diving home”.
It wasn’t just the Italians who put a negative spin on England’s win – nations closer to home also attempted to dampen spirits.
The front page of the Scottish Metro headlined with “England dive into final” – but other Scottish papers were kinder to the English.
The Herald said the win was a case of expectation meeting reality at last, and that England “had to show guts and resilience to get there".
While they said that there was little in the penalty call, the paper nevertheless said England “deserved their shot at history this Sunday”.
However, the result did not make the front page of most other Scottish papers, with a single line at the bottom of the front page of the Scottish Daily Mail telling readers that details about the game can be read on page seven.
On Twitter, goodwill for England was not universal, with ‘cheating’ being a trending topic after controversy over that Sterling fall that prompted the penalty.
There was pride in defeat in the losing nation’s papers, with the Danish press paying respect to the team’s efforts in the tournament – especially in the wake of captain Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in their first game against Finland.
The paper BT ran with the headline “Brutalt! I table, men vandt vores hjerter” – “Brutal! You lost, though you won our hearts”.
Meanwhile, Jyllands-Posten looks to the future, saying: “EM-festen er slut – nu kan VM-festen begynde” – “The European Championship party is over – now the World Cup party can begin."