Ukraine 0, England 4 (Euro 2020, Quarter Finals, Rome)
England blew away Ukraine with four goals by Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, and Jordan Henderson to qualify for the semi final of Euro 2020.Embed from Getty Images
Liverpool captain Henderson scored his first goal for England after 62 appearances – the longest wait by any England player to score their first goal – as they cruised into their first European Championships semi final since Euro 96 having scored four times in the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time since the World Cup final in 1966.
Remarkably, England also became the first side in European Championship history to score three headed goals in a single match – the first time they had done so since November 2016 against Scotland.
Poor defending from set pieces and crosses killed Ukraine who conceded from deliveries into the box by Luke Shaw and Mason Mount while Raheem Sterling set up Harry Kane for an early nerve settler with a defence splitting pass.
Kane scored either side of Harry Maguire while Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson finally broke his England duck after 43 shots across 62 caps with a header as England scored their tenth headed goal in major finals since the start of the 2018 World Cup – no other nation has scored more than 4.
Some sloppiness by Kyle Walker and John Stones allowed Ukraine chances to equalise in the first half while Pickford had an excursion outside his own box in the second half as England were otherwise relaxed as they booked their second consecutive major semi-final under Gareth Southgate who matched Sir Alf Ramsey’s achievement.
And by the end, with a seventh consecutive clean sheet for the first time in their history, England’s run without conceding a goal stands at 662 minutes having become the first side in Euros history to start their campaign with five clean sheets in a row.
And two of England’s top performers on the night appear to be playing themselves into form.
Harry Maguire was delighted that England finally scored some set pieces at the tournament but was determined to do better than just reach a semi final.
He said: “We’re making great progress and long may the improvement continue.
“We have great belief in the dressing room.
“We scored the first goal but the second goal calmed us down a lot and we deserved the third and fourth goals.
And he added: “We won’t settle for a semi final, we want to go further.”
Harry Kane continued the theme, adding that the group were more experienced having played in some of the biggest club games in Europe.
He said: “What a great performance in a big game
“We were favourites to win this game but to perform like we did was great.
“It’s another semi final where we wanted to be but we want to go to the next step.
“We’re more experienced now, a lot of us have played in the biggest of games – the Champions League final – but the job isn’t done yet.
“It’s always nice as a striker to score early in the game. There’s a lot of talk about me and my performances but I’m just ready for the next game.”
Jordan Henderson could afford to smile after he broke his England scoring duck at the 62nd attempt as he reflected on the team spirit in the England camp.
He said: “It’s about time. It’s been a long time coming but thankfully I managed to get on the scoresheet but I am delighted for the lads and it’ll give us good momentum going into the next game.
“I always felt it would come eventually but I tried to contribute on my job on the pitch.
“Patience is important in tournament football, but the lads who haven’t played as much have been outstanding.
“We’ve all trained hard and were there for the lads when the goals went in – it’s the best squad I have ever seen in a tournament.
“It’s now the biggest game of our lives on Wednesday. I feel we are ready to take the next step but it’ll be a tough test against Denmark.
“We will need to be at our very best to get to the final.”
And England boss Gareth Southgate was thinking of the group rather than just the eleven who started in Rome – but was also glad to give the fans back home something to cheer about.
He said: “I know what will be happening at home. It’s lovely to send the beer into the air at home wherever it is.”
He added: “I’m thinking of the players who haven’t managed to get on the pitch. I have to leave three out of the squad each time.
“The spirit of this group is phenomenal.
“I’m spending more energy worrying about the three I have to leave out of the 26, none of them deserve to be left out but I have to make the decisions. They have all been brilliant.
“It’s still sinking in a bit, three semi finals [including the Nations League] in three years.
“We’ve known we had players that we had to manage, we have been able to introduce those guys in and give people a breather at the right time – we learned a lot from Russia to balance the players needing a rest and players on a yellow card.”
Harry Kane playing himself into form flanked by Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho
Southgate made just two changes from the historic knockout win over Germany, with Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho replacing Keiran Trippier and Bukayo Saka.
Mason Mount returned to the starting lineup after having to self isolate following a positive COVID test to Scotland’s Billy Gilmour – Mount’s Chelsea team mate.
Saka suffered a knock in training which meant that Sancho was making his first start at Euro 2020 as England reverted to a flat back four for the game in Rome.
England were off to the perfect start as they attacked Ukraine and were in the lead after just 3 minutes and 32 seconds when Raheem Sterling found Harry Kane with an early pass and the England captain made no mistake with England’s earliest European Championship goal since Michael Owen notched against Portugal in 2004 after just 2 minutes and 25 seconds.
It was his second goal of Euro 2020 and Kane ran onto a ball that cut out four Ukraine defenders to notch his 36th goal for his country.
Oleksandr Karaev saw his shot blocked while Jordan Pickford saved from Roman Yaremchuk as Andriy Shevchenko’s side tried to hit back.
Kane headed a Luke Shaw free kick over as much of England’s threat came from the left side.
Declan Rice saw his shot palmed away by Heorhiy Bushchan as England turned the screw.
Shevchenko was forced into an early change after 36 minutes when Serghii Kryvtsov was replaced by Viktor Tsygankov due to injury as the Ukrainians switched to a 4-5-1 from their back 5 and immediately looked more effective.
And Mason Mount prevented Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cutback from reaching Andriy Yarmolenko.
Sancho was found by Shaw but his neat turn and shot was straight at Bushchan but Stones had to be alert as Ukraine were also trying to create their own opportunities with Mykola Shaparenko’s long shot narrowly going wide.
England took the lead seconds into the second half when Shaw’s free kick was firmly headed past Bushchan by his Manchester United captain Harry Maguire from 6 yards out – only his fourth goal for his country.
And Kane headed England’s third from 6 yards out after 50 minutes from another incisive Shaw cross to pick out the only white shirt in the box after Sterling slipped the ball to him – number 38 for the England captain who equalled Alan Shearer’s major tournament goal haul of 9.
Declan Rice, who was on a yellow card, was withdrawn for Jordan Henderson after 57 minutes with England cruising.
Mount almost found Kane with a great pass but Mykola Matvienko made the interception to prevent a possible hat trrick for the England captain as Ukraine looked shot after England’s double strike in the second half.
Bushchan tipped away a wicked volley from Kane who looked nailed on for his hat trick but Henderson finally scored his first goal for England after 62 caps from the resulting corner when he converted a free header from Mount’s corner.
Keiran Trippier, Jude Bellingham, and Marcus Rashford were immediately brought on for Shaw, Sterling, and Kalvin Phillips (who was also on a yellow card).
Pickford raced off his line to clear a rare Ukraine chance in the second half – his first dodgy moment of the game – as Ukraine almost carved themselves a chance in the second half.
Kane was rested after 73 minutes as Dominic Calvert-Lewin got his first minutes at Euro 2020 and became their final change with the game well under control.
Trippier booked a shot from Yarmolenko as England looked to retain their clean sheet in the last 11 minutes as they easily booked a semi final at Wembley against Denmark.
GOALS – Ukraine 0, England 4 (Euro 2020, Quarter Finals, Rome)
Ukraine 0, England 1: 4. Harry Kane opened the scoring for England after Raheem Sterling teed him up with a through ball.
Ukraine 0, England 2: 46. Harry Maguire’s header doubled England’s lead from Luke Shaw’s free kick after Harry Kane had been fouled.
Ukraine 0, England 3: 50. Harry Kane headed his second of the night after another incisive cross by Luke Shaw.
Ukraine 0, England 4: 63. Jordan Henderson scored a free header from 6 yards out after Mason Mount delivered his first England goal in his 62nd appearance.
MATCH STATS – Ukraine 0, England 4 (Euro 2020, Quarter Finals, Rome)
Ukraine: Bushchan, Zabarnyi, Krvtsov (Tsygankov 36), Matvienko, Karavaev, Sydorchuk (Makarenko 64), Shaparenko, Zinchenko, Mykolenko, Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk
Ukraine subs not used: Pyatov, Trubin, Sobol, Sudakov, Stepanenko, Marlos, Bezus, Zubkov, Tymchyk, Dovbyk
England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw (Trippier 65), Phillips (Bellingham 65), Rice (Henderson 57), Sancho, Mount, Sterling (Rashford 65), Kane (Calvert-Lewin 73)
England subs not used: Ramsdale, Johnstone, Grealish, Rashford, Trippier, Mings, Coady, Calvert-Lewin, Foden, Chilwell, Bellingham
Goals: Kane 4, 50; Maguire 46; Henderson 63
Referee: Dr Felix Brych