Sunday, June 4, 2023

England 2-0 Ukraine: Saka stars as Three Lions stroll

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Mar 2023


Bukayo Saka was instrumental and Harry Kane was again on target as England strolled to a 2-0 win over Ukraine in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Having become England’s all-time leading scorer in the 2-1 win over Italy in Naples, Kane broke the deadlock in the 37th minute at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

England’s captain converted a superb cross from Saka, who then put the hosts in complete command three minutes later.

A comeback was never on the cards after the Arsenal star’s long-range effort, with England firmly in control of Group C with six points from two games.

England had struggled to break down Ukraine before Saka produced a whipped delivery to the far post, where Kane was waiting to fire into the bottom-left corner with aplomb.

After teeing up the first, Saka then produced a second out of nothing, bending magnificently into the top-right corner.

Ukraine were improved in the second half, but did not even manage a corner until the 73rd minute, illustrating England’s comfort in seeing out the victory.

England withdrew Kane late on to hand Ivan Toney his England debut, and Gareth Southgate will surely have several opportunities to introduce new faces if his side’s qualifying campaign continues in this serene fashion.

Toney’s fellow substitute Conor Gallagher forced a smart stop out of Anatolii Trubin before Harry Maguire headed over and Jack Grealish went close, with the only frustration for England being a failure to add further gloss with a third.

What does it mean? Group C England’s to lose as home comforts return

Having sealed wins over their two toughest opponents in the group, England now look near-certainties to claim one of the two qualifying spots from Group C.

Ukraine survived a late push for a third from England to keep the scoreline respectable, but they will need to show a lot more going forward if they are to beat Italy to the other spot in the top two.

While Ukraine have never beaten England on the road in five attempts, this result saw the Three Lions snap a three-game winless streak on home soil.

Saka’s star continues to rise

England’s superb second goal from Saka was his eighth for the Three Lions, reaching that tally aged 21 years and 202 days.

Dixie Dean (16), Jimmy Greaves (16), Wayne Rooney (12) and Michael Owen (10) are the only players to have scored more goals for England at the same age.

Walk in the park for Pickford

Used to being extremely busy for Everton, England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford could hardly have had a quieter afternoon. He did not face a single shot on target, with Ukraine managing only three attempts all game.

Key Opta Facts

– England have won each of their last 11 home Euro qualifiers by an aggregate score of 40-4.
– England are unbeaten in their last 17 matches at Wembley, winning 13 and scoring 41 goals in the process (D4).
– Ukraine suffered consecutive defeats in major tournament qualifying matches (including play-offs) for the first time since September 2014.
– Only Bobby Charlton (23) has scored more goals for the England men’s team at Wembley than Kane (22 in 31 appearances).
– Kane has been directly involved in 25 goals in his last 25 appearances in all competitions for England, scoring 21 and assisting four more. Indeed, Kane has scored in four consecutive England appearances for the first time since November 2019 (six).

What’s next?

England’s next qualifiers are against Malta and North Macedonia in June. Ukraine will face the same opposition in reverse order.


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