Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ukraine 0-4 England: Major Talking Points As Gareth Southgate’s Men March On

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 4 Jul 2021

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On a night where England opened their trip to Rome as a clear favourite to book their spot in the final four, The Thee Lions certainly didn’t disappoint as they landed a 4-0 romp against Ukraine at the Stadio Olimpico.

Only continuing to build off of that famous 2-0 win against arch-rivals Germany earlier in the week and recording back-to-back major tournament semi-finals, there is no doubt that the mood in their camp will be at a red-hot high as they return to Wembley for a showdown against Denmark on Wednesday.

In a knockout tie that saw The Whites only lay down another marker as they look to lift their first piece of silverware since 1966, we have taken a look at the major talking points as England ran rampant in Rome on Saturday night.

Kane’s found his feet

While Gareth Southgate would have been glad to see Harry Maguire end England’s set-piece duck moments after the restart and also Jordan Henderson grab his first-ever international goal, there are no doubts that The Three Lions’ skipper deserves most of the headlines.

Although Harry Kane might have seen his opening performances come under real scrutiny, the Tottenham striker has really found his best form over the past few days and once again demonstrated a similar level that saw him lift his third Premier League Golden Boot last season.

Opening the scoring with not even four minutes on the clock thanks to a wonderful slipped ball from fellow Germany match winner Raheem Sterling, Kane poked home from close range past the oncoming Heorhiy Bushchan and set England off to a dream start.

Already doubling his tally after finding the net against Germany in midweek, the 27-year-old wasn’t done there as a headed home from Luke Shaw’s second-half cross five minutes after the restart.

Having lifted the Golden Boot out in Russia three years ago, Kane now sits just a single major tournament strike away from overtaking Gary Lineker in the all-time standings.

Who can breach England’s defence?

Although Southgate would have undoubtedly been excited by another free-flowing display by his side in the final third on Saturday night, the one-time Aston Villa defender will be glad to see his side only continue on what has been a real defensive romp this summer.

Managing to head into the tournament with a pair of friendly 1-0 victories against fellow finalists Austria and Bulgaria last month, The Three Lions recorded yet another clean sheet out in Rome and they’re the only side who are still to pick the ball out of their own net during this year’s delayed championships.

With Ukraine failing to make any inroads past England’s rugged back-four, England have kept seven consecutive clean sheets for the first time in their history and they have now gone 662 minutes without conceding a single strike.

In fact, aside from a few nervy second-half moments and a near mix-up at the back, Jordan Pickford has kept five clean sheets at Euro 2020 – no keeper has ever kept more in a single staging of the competition before.

Ukraine limp out

Making the trip out to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night with many believing that they needed a minor miracle to extend on their European adventure, Ukraine couldn’t get their fairytale story out in Rome.

Watching Kane open the scoring with just a few minutes on the clock and suddenly facing an even bigger mountain to climb on their first-ever quarter-final appearance, Head Coach Andriy Shevchenko saw his side fail to lay down any real blow on the free-flowing Lions.

Although Roman Yaremchuk might have pounced on Kyle Walker’s early first-half slip and forced Pickford into what was a routine low save, Ukraine really failed to build off of their brief flurry before heading into the break.

Despite sneaking their way past Sweden earlier in the week thanks to a stunning last-gasp winner in extra-time, their 4-0 loss on Saturday was Ukraine’s joint-biggest defeat in a match at a major tournament, equalling their 4-0 defeat by Spain in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup.

Match Report

Ukraine: Bushchan (5), Zabarnyi (4.5), Kryvtsov (5), Matvienko (4.5), Karavaev (4.5), Shaparenko (5.5), Sydorchuk (5), Zinchenko (6), Mykolenko (6), Yarmolenko (5), Yaremchuk (5.5)

Subs: Tsygankov (5), Makarenko (4.5)

England: Pickford (5.5), Walker (6), Maguire (8), Stones (7), Shaw (8), Phillips (7), Rice (7.5), Mount (7), Sterling (8), Kane (9), Sancho (7)

Subs: Henderson (8), Rashford (6.5), Trippier (7), Bellingham (7), Calvert-Lewin (6.5)

Goals: Kane 4’, 50’, Maguire 46’, Henderson 63’

Yellow Cards: N/A

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Dr. Felix Brych

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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