Kane scores twice as England thrash Ukraine to reach first Euros semi-final in 25 years, The three lions will now face Denmark in the semi-final
|Declan Rice leads the England players in celebrating Kane's goal against Ukraine. (Photo credit: uefa.com)|
After a devastating spell at the start of the second half in Rome, England's most emphatic win at a EURO and the end of Ukraine's ambitions of reaching the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-finals, Wembley beckons for Gareth Southgate's team.
With the additions of Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount, England set out to dominate possession and were in front after just five minutes, with the ever-slippery Raheem Sterling cutting inside from the left to feed Harry Kane, who avoided his opponent and stretched out a leg to beat Georgiy Bushchan.
Following that, the Three Lions appeared to be slowly picking apart Ukraine.
Kane headed over a Luke Shaw cross, then Declan Rice thudded a powerful shot at Bushchan from outside the box.
On the 35th minute, an injury to defender Serhiy Kryvtsov forced Ukraine to switch to a more attacking formation.
But any extra threat was quickly dispelled after a blistering moment of England play after the break.
Just after the break, Shaw's free-kick set up Harry Maguire to head in a second.
And Ukraine had no time to recover before Kane made it 3-0, Shaw's lovely ball in from the left allowing the Tottenham forward to head down through Bushchan's legs and into the net.
Just after the hour mark, Bushchan made a fantastic stop to deny a Kane volley, but the goalkeeper's misery was compounded when on-coming substitute Jordan Henderson connected with a Mason Mount corner to make it 4-0: his first England goal in 62 games.
Ukraine was unable to reply, and a series of tactical alterations near the conclusion of the game allowed Southgate to rest some crucial players ahead of the semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday.
Man of the Match: Harry Kane (England)
What the players and managers said
Gareth Southgate, England manager: "We didn’t want to take a backward step. We wanted to really grasp the opportunity rather than hope we might win or let fate have a chance to play its part. I thought the players were decisive and ruthless all night."
Harry Kane, England forward: "It's about peaking at the right time. A fantastic night; we keep going game after game. We were favourites to win this game – a lot of pressure and expectation and to perform as we did was top-drawer. Another clean sheet and four goals: it was a perfect night for us."
Harry Maguire, England defender: "It's a great feeling – back-to-back semi-finals at a major tournament is a great achievement. I don't want to be a party pooper but we don't stop here. We've got another big game coming up and we want to go further this time."
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine coach: "We've had a great tournament. The team had their own style; they refused to abandon their way of playing, irrespective of the results and opposition. From that point of view, the team have played good football. The guys did everything they could, and I want to thank them for that today."
Andriy Yarmolenko, Ukraine forward: "We are a great team with a great group of people. Nothing can break us. We know what helps us with our game, and we know how we can play. Despite the result, despite losing 4-0 today, I am proud to be part of this team. Yes, today we lost, but we should look at who we have lost to. In my opinion, we have lost to one of the best teams in the world."
Illia Zabarnyi, Ukraine defender: "I think our team deserved a better result. We have been working really hard. We kept going until the end. All I can say is that I am proud of my team and I am proud of my country. We managed to get to this stage and could have gone even further. But what happened, happened."