Raheem Sterling gives England a spark but it's the sight of Harry Kane firing which really has ignited England's Euro 2020 campaign...
Sunday 4 July 2021 07:46, UK
One save to make either side of the break and he kept both of them out, but then made a complete hash of what should have been a relatively straightforward clearance and looked oddly frenetic and frazzled when England reached the dreamland of a 4-0 lead in a quarter-final.
The only real concern in England's display. Sloppy, casual pass allowed in Yaremchuk for Ukraine's early chance and far too casual just before the break when he stood and ball watched to allow Yaremchuk to reach the by-line.
Could not prevent Yaremchuk from getting away his early shot and England's least secure area was on the Stones-Walker side of the pitch. That said, England's defence has been watertight in the tournament so far and Stones has been figuratively and literally central to that effort.
Should have scored against Germany, but made no mistake with a thumping header just after the break to effectively settle the contest. Not defensively tested but confident enough to drive the ball forward even during the first half on a couple of occasions in a bid to ruffle the camped Ukrainians.
Outstanding. Shaw does not often break into the final third but he has the impressive knack of timing his runs perfectly when he does. Unfortunate twice in the first half with a pull-back into space at the far post and then again when he picked out Sancho. But became England's most creative player for those four minutes of delirium when he followed up his lovely set-piece for Maguire's goal with an even better cross for Kane's second.
Tournament high point remains that display against Croatia, but neat and tidy again in possession and showed great discipline without it. One of three England players simultaneously subbed for a rest - and, in Phillips' case, suspension protection - with half an hour on the clock.
Swerving effort nearly caught out Bushchan but Rice's real value to England is his cleaning-up in front of the two centre-halves and, when in possession, directing traffic and the flow of play. Can only assume that his early substitution was on account of him being one booking away from a suspension.
Pushed up far closer to Kane than he was in England's first group matches but his outstanding moment of the first half came when he read the danger to clean up in his own penalty area as the Ukrainians threatened. Far more effective upfield after the break, carrying the ball forward for England's third and then supplying the corner which Henderson headed in.
Did all of his critical work before the break, but there can be no disputing that Sterling is England's player of the tournament so far and, if he continues like this, in real contention to be considered the player of the tournament as well.
Surely one of the more interesting questions to emerge this summer is why he has not played like this - or indeed anything like this - for Manchester City for so long. Confidence? System? Support? The transformation is remarkable.
Selected for his ability in one-on-one situations and so that England had a right-footer on the right wing to go outside, but proved to be at his most dangerous when he came inside and linked up with Sterling and Shaw. Could not direct his snap-shot from Shaw's cut-back either side of Bushchan - had it gone in, it would surely have been given on a VAR review. Relatively quiet after the break.
England needed their captain to fire if their own tournament was to ignite and so it has proved. Early clinical finish was proof positive of why his late goal against Germany was so important and made no mistake with his header five minutes into the second-half; Kane's chances converted rate remains right up there with the very, very best. Only denied by a fingertip save a 60-minute hat-trick. Welcome back to the £100m pricetag.
What a time to score your first England goal. Good header, too.
On for his second appearance of the tournament at left-back. Who would have predicted that?
Rashford's England problem is that Southgate clearly now only sees him as a left-sided forward. Right now, nobody is getting in ahead of Sterling.
He's an 18-year-old playing in a European Championship quarter-final. It's some story. As always, looked completely unflustered by the occasion - and his opponents - after replacing Phillips.
Given the final 18 minutes having been omitted from the squad which faced Germany entirely.
It doesn't get much more comfortable than that. England's controlled and dominant 4-0 win over Ukraine means they will face Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final at Wembley on Wednesday. Are the stars aligning for Gareth Southgate's side? And how has he managed to rid England of the fear factor?
Alice Piper is joined by Rob Dorsett, Adam Bate and Gerard Brand to discuss the win in Rome, as Harry Kane returns to form, Luke Shaw shows up Jose Mourinho in his new manor and England keep another clean sheet. It's all looking rosy, right?
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England will play Denmark in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 on Wednesday at 8pm at Wembley.