Jordan Pickford has become the first goalkeeper to keep five clean sheets across the first five games of a European Championships, after England's 4-0 rout of Ukraine.

Harry Kane scored either side of Harry Maguire's brilliant header before Jordan Henderson's first England goal – on his 62nd cap – sealed an emphatic quarter-final triumph in Rome.

England now head back to Wembley for a semi-final clash with Denmark, who defeated the Czech Republic, on Wednesday, with a first appearance in a final since 1966 in the offing.

While England's attack clicked, it is the Three Lions' defensive resilience which has seen them through, with Saturday's win bringing up their seventh clean sheet in a row.

It is the first time England have gone as many games without conceding a goal, with the run totalling 662 miniutes.

Five of those clean sheets have come at the tournament – no side has ever kept five successive shut-outs to start a Euros campaign.

Pickford, who had a difficult 2020-21 season with Everton, especially in the first half of the campaign, has played every minute.

Given his troubles for his club, doubts had been raised over Pickford's suitability for England's number one jersey, with Burnley's Nick Pope, who underwent surgery and missed out on Gareth Southgate's squad, and Manchester United's Dean Henderson raised as alternative options.

 

Yet Southgate kept faith with the former Sunderland goalkeeper, who has made nine saves from a total of 42 shots faced (including blocks) so far at Euro 2020.

Four of his saves have come from attempts inside the area, including a chance for Ukraine's Roman Yaremchuk early on in Saturday's encounter, while the other five have come from long-range efforts.

As it was in the run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, Pickford's distribution has also been a key factor for England. He has recorded 95 successful passes, with three of those ending in the final third, from 147 attempts, while he has found a team-mate with 32 long passes (as defined by Opta).

There was a nervy moment for Pickford in the second half at Stadio Olimpico, when he sliced an attempted clearance, but England's defence spared his blushes.

The 27-year-old may face an altogether tougher test against Denmark, however, with Kasper Hjulmand's team having scored 11 goals so far at Euro 2020. Only Spain, who play Italy in the other semi-final, have managed more (12).

Denmark and England have joined Italy and Spain in the semi-finals of Euro 2020, with the Czech Republic and Ukraine sent packing following their respective defeats.

England seemed to back up pre-tournament suggestions of them being among the favourites when they dumped Germany out in the last 16, and they picked up where they left off to make light work of Ukraine.

It was a slightly trickier occasion for Denmark in Baku earlier in the day, though ultimately the efforts of Patrik Schick weren't enough for the Czechs as they failed to emulate the 2004 vintage that reached the last four.

Following the conclusion of the quarter-finals, Stats Perform looks at the key data takeaways from Saturday's action.

 

Ukraine 0-4 England: Record-breaking Three Lions ruthless in big win

The odds were stacked against Ukraine ahead of this clash in Rome, but even the most ardent England fans probably wouldn't have predicted such a comprehensive win.

England quickly had the advantage as Raheem Sterling sliced open the defence and fed Harry Kane to open the scoring with three minutes and 32 seconds played, their earliest Euros goal since 2004 (2:25).

Ukraine may have taken some encouragement from the fact England's previous record when scoring in the first four minutes of a Euros game equated to no wins from five matches, but the game was effectively put beyond them within a four minutes of the restart – Harry Maguire and Kane nodding home Luke Shaw deliveries.

 

The Manchester United full-back reached three assists for the tournament in the process, tying an England record for a single European Championship (David Beckham, Euro 2000), while Kane's second of the game means he is level with Alan Shearer on nine major-tournament goals for the Three Lions, behind only Gary Lineker (10).

Jordan Henderson then completed the scoring off the bench with his first senior goal on his 62nd appearance, the longest ever wait by a player before breaking their duck for the Three Lions.

Ukraine's inability to breach the England defence meant the Three Lions have now kept seven successive clean sheets for the first time in their history.

But most impressively of all, this was England's biggest-ever win at the Euros and largest victory in the knockouts of any major tournament.

 

Czech Republic 1-2 Denmark: Schick ties with Ronaldo but Danes seal historic semi-final

Given their run in Euro 2020 has come against the backdrop of Christian Eriksen's health emergency on matchday one, it's little wonder Denmark have seemingly become the neutrals' favourites.

They moved a step close to emulating their remarkable Euro 92 success as they edged past the Czech Republic. Their 29-year gap between Euros semi-finals is the longest ever by a single nation in the competitions.

They prevailed despite the efforts of Patrik Schick. The striker got the Czechs back into the encounter with a tidy second-half finish that made him only the fourth player to score five goals in a single major tournament for Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia, also drawing him level with Cristiano Ronaldo in the race for the golden boot.

 

Earlier, though, Denmark had enjoyed a great start as Thomas Delaney headed in Denmark's second-earliest Euros goal (4:52) to level the country's all-time record for goals (10) at a single major tournament.

That record was then broken just before the break. Kasper Dolberg became Denmark's joint-top scorer in Euros history (three) with the effort that proved decisive, though Joakim Maehle's assist got most of the attention.

His outside-of-the-boot cross took him to three goal involvements (two goals, one assist) in his past three Denmark games, more than in his other 12.

Denmark certainly didn't have it all their own way, with the Czechs' 16 shots more than they managed in any other Euro 2020 game, but Kasper Hjulmand's men held firm to secure their passage to Wembley.

 

 

Harry Maguire talked up the belief in the England camp and said his side will not settle with reaching a first European Championship semi-final in 25 years.

The Three Lions eased to a 4-0 win over Ukraine in Saturday's semi-final at the Stadio Olimpico to set up a showdown with Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday.

England lost their most recent semi-final appearance in the competition on penalties to Germany in 1996, while also losing at that stage to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup.

On the back of that extra-time disappointment at the hands of Croatia three years ago, Maguire is desperate to go one better this time around with victory against Denmark.

"It's a great feeling. Back-to-back semi-finals at a major tournament is a great achievement," Maguire, who scored the second of England's four goals, told BBC Sport. 

"I don't want to be a party pooper. We have another big game coming up. We want to go further this time than at the World Cup. 

"It is a great feeling that we are here and the way we have done it shows the progress we are making. Long may the improvement continue.

"It is hard to soak it up when you have another big game coming and you know who you are playing and when. 

"There's a great atmosphere in the dressing room, but we will wake up tomorrow and be focused again. This group are not settling for a semi-final, we want to go further."

 

Harry Kane opened the scoring for England inside the first four minutes – the Three Lions' earliest European Championship goal since Michael Owen against Portugal in 2004.

England endured a difficult period at the end of the first half after Andriy Shevchenko tweaked Ukraine's system, but Maguire scored 55 seconds into the second half to settle nerves.

Kane's second of the match four minutes later put the game out of Ukraine's reach and substitute Jordan Henderson rounded off the routine win with a fourth just after the hour.

It is only the second time England have scored four goals in a major tournament knockout game, the other instance being the 1966 World Cup final against West Germany.

"We have great belief in the dressing room," Maguire added. "The first half was tough. We got the early goal we wanted but they caused us problems with their change of shape. 

"The second goal settled us down a lot and from there we controlled the game. The third and fourth were deserved on the night. It was an impressive performance. 

"We spoke about being better on attacking set-plays. We hadn't scored one before the two tonight. It's nice to chip in with a goal but the main thing is the victory."

 

Kane's double made it three for the striker at Euro 2020 and nine in major tournaments for England, moving him level with Alan Shearer and behind only Gary Lineker (10).

The Tottenham star finished as the Golden Boot winner at the 2018 World Cup, but he is hopeful of a different outcome to that semi-final heartbreak this time around.

"What a great performance in a big game," he told BBC Sport. "We were favourites, there was a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations. The performance was top-drawer. 

"We set out a vision before the tournament of what we want to achieve. We're knocking it off step by step. The World Cup was great but we fell short, and in the Nations League.

"Now it's about getting over the line, the next step that we have got to do on Wednesday."

England have kept five clean sheets in a row from the start of the tournament, something only Italy in 1990 have previously managed at a World Cup or Euros.

But Kane is not getting too carried away ahead of facing Denmark, 2-1 winners over the Czech Republic in Friday's other quarter-final, on home soil next week.

"Another clean sheet, four goals, it was a perfect night for us," he said. "We're building on [clean sheets]. 

"We have a great unit here from front to back. It's a vital part of winning games and tournaments. The job is not done yet. There's a lot more football to play."

Throw them to the lions!

England's bloodlust was dramatically sated in Rome's modern sporting colosseum as Ukraine were ruthlessly torn apart, victims of such savagery that might make an emperor think he could soon rule Europe.

Four-nil, and even Jordan Henderson scored. England doubled their goals haul for Euro 2020 and have still yet to concede. This is Italian-like behaviour by the Three Lions. Where was the drama, where was the pain? This team rarely make it easy for themselves but here they trampled all over the opposition.

Goodness knows what Denmark made of it all, given they are next in line.

Home advantage at Wembley seemed to serve Gareth Southgate's players well in their early games at this tournament, and being taken out of that comfort zone triggered all sorts of concerns. If goals had been hard to come by at home, then would this be one of those nights of England toil, where perhaps they might grind out something ugly and winning but perhaps their bubble might burst too? Would it all end miserably, probably on penalties in that great English tradition.

By the time substitute Henderson nodded Mason Mount's corner past Georgi Bushchan for the fourth goal of the night, any such concerns had long been banished.

The Liverpool captain's first senior England goal arrived on his 62nd appearance. Of all England's goalscorers in their history, nobody has waited longer for that magical moment. Sol Campbell had been the previous holder of that curious record, scoring his first in his 47th appearance.

It was a third headed goal of the night, England now Europe's masters at using their noggins, netting 10 headers across this campaign and their 2018 World Cup semi-final run, where no other European side has managed more than four.

This team plays some beautiful football on the floor, with Jadon Sancho coming into the England ranks for this game and looking like he had been playing there all throughout this run, which will come as good news to Manchester United. Raheem Sterling's winding run and super throughball for Harry Kane to prod the fourth-minute opener was typical of this new England.

 

"I think rotations in the forward area for this team is so important," Rio Ferdinand said on the BBC at half-time. "People that run off the ball, run people away – it's not there for the naked eye sometimes, but it's people who are running people away, opening space and creating space."

Alan Shearer chipped in too: "Everyone's on the same wavelength, everyone wants the ball, backing each other up. It's really, really intelligent, exciting play."

But England do not eschew the direct stuff; Luke Shaw with a free-kick bang into the heart of the penalty area to set up Harry Maguire for the thumping 46th-minute header that made it 2-0, sparking joyous celebration.

And then Shaw with the delicious cross to give Kane the chance to nod England three clear just four minutes later.

Shaw, it should be said, was exceptional.

In the stadium where Jose Mourinho will resume his coaching career in the new Serie A season, as boss of Roma, Shaw provided the perfect response to his former Manchester United manager's recent criticism.

Mourinho reckoned Shaw's set-piece delivery in England's group game against the Czech Republic had been "dramatically bad", but even the Portuguese might shrink from picking any holes in this display.

It was remarkable that Kane finished as the Premier League's top scorer in Mourinho's muddle of a Tottenham side last season, and absurd that a couple of so-so performances for England early in this tournament should have led to doubt being cast on his place in Southgate's team.

He now has three goals in Euro 2020 and nine major tournament strikes across his England career, one behind all-time leader Gary Lineker.

Kane almost reached 10 in Rome, lashing a brilliant volley that was beaten away by Bushchan for the corner from which Henderson scored.

History told us that this game would go to penalties – all three of England's previous European Championship quarter-finals had.

Yet new England have little respect for anything that history might dictate, and now Wembley awaits them on Wednesday. England return home as heroes.

"It's the hope that kills you," Lineker joked on the BBC. To any English person used to failure, this all feels too good to be true.

But as Southgate said, teeing up the Denmark game moments later: "Everybody can really look forward to that, it's brilliant."

Harry Kane scored twice as England eased to a 4-0 victory over Ukraine at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday to set up a Euro 2020 semi-final with Denmark on home soil.

England were riding the crest of a wave after beating Germany in the last 16 and, in their first game away from Wembley this tournament, took the lead inside four minutes when Raheem Sterling played in Kane.

That was England's earliest European Championship goal since Michael Owen against Portugal in 2004 and the Three Lions added two more quickfire goals to their tally in the first five minutes of the second half through Harry Maguire and Kane.

Substitute Jordan Henderson's first international goal gave Gareth Southgate further reason to cheer as his side kept their fifth clean sheet in a row from the start of the tournament, something only Italy have previously managed at a World Cup or Euros.

Sterling and Kane scored in England's last-16 win against Germany and the pair combined for their side's early opener in Rome, the Manchester City winger threading the ball through for his team-mate to poke past Georgi Bushchan.

England had failed to win any of the previous five European Championship games in which they had scored in the opening four minutes and they were given a warning when Jordan Pickford was tested by a Roman Yaremchuk strike.

The Three Lions continued to dominate possession but their only other on-target attempt of the first half came via a powerful Declan Rice drive that was routinely dealt with by Bushchan.

Ukraine were making just their second quarter-final appearance at a major tournament and ended the opening period on top, though they found themselves further behind 55 seconds into the second half when Maguire headed home.

Luke Shaw set up that goal and also played in the cross that Kane headed through the legs of Bushchan for England's third, effectively killing off the contest with 40 minutes to play in the Italian capital.

England continued to search for goals and Henderson, just six minutes after replacing Rice, made the most of some terrible Ukraine defending to head in a fourth for Southgate's side, who had little trouble in seeing out the win.

Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson believes Manchester United will be completely convinced Jadon Sancho is poised to become one of football's biggest stars.

United and Borussia Dortmund have agreed a deal in principle for the transfer of Sancho, which is worth around £73million and expected to be completed after his involvement in Euro 2020.

Winger Sancho is reportedly poised to make his first start in the competition when England do battle against Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.

Leaked team news ahead of the quarter-final tie suggests Bukayo Saka is struggling through injury and that Sancho will get a chance to start on the right wing, with Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling completing the trio who will provide support to lone striker Harry Kane.

 

Sancho has featured for just six minutes in the tournament so far, despite scoring 50 goals and providing 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for Dortmund.

He became the first Englishman to reach at least 10 assists for three straight seasons in Europe's top-five leagues since former United star David Beckham, who achieved the feat between 1997-98 and 2000-01.

Indeed, only Thomas Muller (48) and Lionel Messi (43) have managed to provide more assists at that league level since the start of the 2018-19 campaign than Sancho (41).

Ex-Manchester City boss Eriksson is sure United would not have made such a big move in a transfer market that is seeing club finances impacted by the coronavirus pandemic without having certainty.

"He's 21 years old and he should have a great future," Eirksson told Stats Perform.

"The scouts and the coaches of Manchester United, they have will have looked at that 100 times. 

"They are sure that the this player will be the future, important in the future otherwise they wouldn't pay all that money. 

"So when he's coming back to England then there no doubts about it. 

"I don't see many games from German league but what I can understand is that he's a great talent and it is interesting to see him.

"There you have it with how important the Premier League is. They can take all the best players in the world and that is good for England."

 

Sterling, meanwhile, has scored in 13 matches for England and whenever he has done so the Three Lions have gone on to achieve victory.

A disappointing conclusion to his season individually for City meant many doubters were questioning his starting place for the Euros but he has responded emphatically with three goals.

Eriksson believes Sterling is primed to star further in the latter stages now that he has his confidence back.

"He is that kind of player who can create by himself, even when he is one against one with his speed and so on," added Eriksson. 

"But also, which is very important in these knockout games – so important – he has the confidence now. 

"He is sure he can create against any team – against anyone. So that means a lot when you go into this game against Ukraine. 

"And that's why I said also about Harry Kane – he was successful during [just] some minutes in the last game, but that was enough, because he scored. 

"Sterling, yes, he thinks he's the best in the world today. And maybe he is, but just that he thinks he is the best in the world is extremely important and he will create a lot of problems for Ukraine."

The rest of England's team will reportedly see Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice continue as a duo in central midfield, with a back four of Luke Shaw, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker in front of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

That would mean Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish has to settle for a place among the substitutes.

Ollie Robinson has received an eight-match ban for historic Twitter posts of a racist and sexist nature, though the England fast bowler is free to play cricket again with immediate effect.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had suspended Robinson while investigating the social media posts which were made between 2012 and 2014.

A Cricket Discipline Commission (CDC) panel handed the 27-year-old a ban as well as a fine of £3,200 for breaching two ECB directives, though five of the eight games are suspended for two years.

Having already missed three matches, one of which was the second Test in the home series against New Zealand, Robinson is now able to resume his career.

"I fully accept the CDC's decision. As I have said previously, I am incredibly embarrassed and ashamed about the tweets I posted many years ago and apologise unreservedly for their contents,” he said in a statement.

"I am deeply sorry for the hurt I caused to anyone who read those tweets and in particular to those people to whom the messages caused offence. This has been the most difficult time in my professional career for both my family and myself.

"Whilst I want to move on, I do want to use my experience to help others in the future through working with the PCA."

Robinson's previous posts resurfaced during the opening day of his Test debut for England against New Zealand at Lord’s, in which he claimed match figures of 7-101 while also contributing 42 runs.

He took a short break from the game before returning to action, playing for Sussex Sharks in the domestic Twenty20 competition. The judgment made by the panel means Robinson is now available to be considered for England duty.

"We accept the decisions made by the Cricket Discipline Commission and the sanctions they have imposed," Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive officer, said.

"Ollie has acknowledged that, whilst published a long time ago when he was a young man, these historic tweets were unacceptable. He has engaged fully in the disciplinary process, admitted the charges, has received his sanction from the CDC and will participate in training and use his experiences to help others.

"Given he has served the suspension handed down by the CDC, he will now be available for selection for England again.

"We stand against discrimination of all forms, and will continue working to ensure cricket is a welcoming and inclusive sport for all."

Meanwhile, England have announced an unchanged 16-man squad for the upcoming one-day fixtures against Pakistan on home soil. That means batsman Tom Banton – who was called up midway through the ongoing series with Sri Lanka – will remain with the group.

Gareth Southgate has a reputation for matter-of-fact sincerity in news conferences but it felt like even he was laying it on a little thick last October.

Luke Shaw was fit and a fixture in Manchester United's first team but had ticked past two years without an England call-up.

For Nations League matches against Belgium and Denmark and a friendly versus Wales, Ben Chilwell was unavailable. Southgate selected and split left wing-back duties between Kieran Trippier, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka – none of whom are specialists in the position.

"The door is certainly open," he replied when asked about Shaw's seemingly dwindling prospects.

"I don't think we've ever closed the door on any player - and we certainly wouldn't on Luke.

"He's more than capable of being the best left-back in the country in my opinion."

A scroll through some of the social media responses to that assertion suggests not too many agreed.

After his starring role in the stirring 2-0 Euro 2020 win over Germany, it is hard to argue against the notion that Shaw – despite everything he has endured since becoming the most expensive teenager in world football back in June 2014 – is England's premier left-sided defender.

 

Dark days at Old Trafford

"If I'd flown back, I would probably have lost my leg because of the blood clots."

It is an incredibly stark statement. A tackle by PSV's Hector Moreno during a September 2015 Champions League match left Shaw with a horrific double leg fracture that threatened to become worse than that gruesome description.

As Shaw recuperated from surgery at St Anna Ziekenhuis hospital in Geldrop and United made plans to fly him home, doctors discovered two blood clots and scheduled an emergency operation.

"I've got two scars down the side of my leg where they had to cut me open and pull them out," said the former Southampton youngster, when discussing his ordeal while on England duty three years later.

"I'd be lying if I said I hadn't sometimes thought about stopping playing football [during rehabilitation]. It went on for a long period, doing the same things every day.

"I couldn’t do anything else because of the break. It was frustrating but I came out the other side."

When he returned to action the following season, Shaw had another draining, sapping problem - Jose Mourinho was the Manchester United manager.

After starting the season as first choice, Mourinho singled out Shaw for strong criticism after a 3-1 defeat at Watford.

Things came to an unsavoury head in April 2017, when the former Chelsea boss first questioned "the way he trains, the way he commits, the focus, the ambition" ahead of a game with Everton.

 

Then, after Shaw came off the bench and impressed to help United salvage a 1-1 draw, Mourinho claimed: "He had a good performance but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him."

The relationship remained strained, even as Shaw was handed a five-year contract extension in October 2018 - two months before Mourinho was sacked.

"There is no hiding that we didn't get on," Shaw told reporters last week, after Mourinho – now working as a pundit after his Tottenham tenure went the same way as his United reign – criticised his "dramatically bad" corner taking during England's 1-0 group stage win over the Czech Republic.

"I think he was a brilliant manager but, you know, the past is the past. It is time to move on. I am trying to move on but, obviously, he can't. He continuously talks about me, which I find quite strange."

The long road to Wembley

The raucous din as Shaw drove forward from midfield and fed Jack Grealish on Tuesday meant he would have been unlikely to hear instructions from the touchline or anywhere else inside Wembley. Funnily enough, his football brain was in good order.

Grealish crossed and Harry Kane stooped to head England to a 2-0 win over Germany, their first knockout stage victory over any team with a world title to their name since 1966.

Southgate's Euro 2020 side have worn their pragmatism proudly. Despite an enviable array of attacking talent – Shaw described it as "absolute madness, so frightening" this week - they go forward with cautious calculation and are yet to concede a goal.

As well as being part of that watertight defensive unit, Shaw has proved invaluable to an attacking approach that values quality over quantity. His five chances created, with four from open play, are the most of any England player, as are his 18 passes into the opposition box. An expected assists (xA) figure of 1.08 also shows him to be cumulatively laying on a better quality of chances than any of his team-mates.

Those attacking gifts were a large part of what persuaded United to pay Southampton £27million for his services, with Shaw following Wayne Bridge and Gareth Bale off the St Mary's production line as a left-back with game-changing qualities.

Initially, he appeared inhibited at Old Trafford, as then-manager Louis van Gaal questioned his fitness in an early taste of what was to come under Mourinho. Then the injury nightmare began.

It has been a long road back, but in 2020-21, United got their most sustained look at the player they hoped they were buying six years earlier.

 

Shaw's 47 appearances were his most in a single campaign and culminated in Europa League final heartache against Villarreal. It was his first United appearance in a major final, representing a personal triumph over a catalogue of fitness problems amid penalty shoot-out woe.

He claimed six assists in all competitions, the most of his career, while 90 chances created was more than double his previous best of 41 in 2018-19.

Shaw averaged 6.88 passes into the opposition box per 90 minutes, having never averaged above 3.5 before, despite some of his previous sample sizes being far smaller due to injury interrupted campaigns.

Southgate's faith repaid

If those performances made Shaw impossible to ignore last season, he was easily forgotten in March 2017.

Injuries and Mourinho's ire had combined to mean a solitary Premier League start in a five-month period, but he received a call-up from the recently installed England manager to take on Lithuania and Germany.

"Generally, we've tried to pick players who are playing regularly, and one or two have missed out because of that. Luke is probably the exception. He's a player we have a lot of belief in," said Southgate, his former England Under-21 boss.

"Having worked with him before we think he can be an important player for the future. Now would be a good time to give him that confidence boost."

The progress from that point has been far from linear. Shaw was absent when England reached the semi-finals of Russia 2018, indeed this is his first tournament since the 2014 World Cup, when everything felt possible for a prodigiously gifted teen.

 

His latest recall only came in March but, with Ukraine up in Rome on Saturday as the first in a potential three-game shot at sporting immortality, the possibilities are opening up again.

Having made his debut in March 2014, this weekend is set to mark Shaw's 14th cap. At 25, there should be plenty more to come for an easy going member of the squad, visibly a friend to everyone who fits perfectly with Southgate's team ethos.

"I remember at the [2018] World Cup seeing all these videos of the fans celebrating, going wild. And I thought: 'I want to be a part of that'," Shaw told England's YouTube channel in the aftermath of his hard-earned part in the historic win over Germany.

"I'm [feeling] brilliant, it's so good. Everything about the last day or two has been unbelievable. I've not felt this happy in a long time."

History and odds will be stacked against Ukraine in their first ever European Championship quarter-final against England on Saturday.

The Three Lions have only lost one of their previous seven meetings with Ukraine, who never scored more than once in any of those matches.

That does not bode well when you consider England are yet to even concede once at Euro 2020, having become only the third side in Euros history to keep clean sheets in all of their first four games of a tournament.

If England do shut Ukraine out, they will match the record set by Italy at the 1990 World Cup of five successive clean sheets from the start of the competition.

 

While England fans may already be mentally preparing themselves for a second successive major tournament semi-final, Gareth Southgate acknowledged the Three Lions will arguably be out of their comfort zone for the first time in Euro 2020 as they travel to Rome.

"We've got to go away from Wembley, into a potentially quite hot climate, hardly any England fans in the stadium, and maybe a not particularly full crowd full stop," he said.

"And then there is this perception that all we've got to do is turn up, and we are on our way. We're very clear now that the total focus is on Saturday. We have to prepare the game in the right way, and our mentality is critical."

'The bigger they are, the harder they fall,' Ukraine will be telling themselves.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Ukraine – Georgi Bushcan

The performances of Ukraine goalkeeper Bushchan have been largely positive, though the odd mistake has crept in – for example, he gifted Memphis Depay the opener in the group stage defeat to the Netherlands. Further to this, the goals prevented metric puts him at fault for 1.2 goals, the joint-third worst record at Euro 2020. If Andriy Shevchenko's men are to progress here, they will need Bushcan at the top of his game.

 

England – Harry Maguire

Manchester United defender Maguire has been a rock in his two Euro 2020 games, winning every single one of his aerial duels so far, but his importance to England goes beyond his physicality. His forward-thinking nature has been notable since his return, with his 11.5 progressive carries per 90 minutes being the best of everyone in the squad, while he and John Stones are also England's most direct carriers in possession, bringing the ball upfield 20 per cent of the time. With Ukraine likely to sit deep, Maguire will see a lot of the ball and therefore have significant influence in starting attacks.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Andriy Yarmolenko has either scored (two) or assisted (three) five of Ukraine's eight European Championship goals. Indeed, his five goal involvements is level with Shevchenko (four goals, one assist) for the most by a Ukraine player at major tournaments (World Cup and Euros).

- Raheem Sterling has scored three of England's four goals at Euro 2020 so far, while only two players have ever scored more for the Three Lions in a single edition at the tournament – Alan Shearer in 1996 (five) and Wayne Rooney in 2004 (four).

- Coming into the quarter-final matches, only Italy (2.1) have a lower expected goals conceded total than England (2.7) at Euro 2020. England have faced just eight shots on target in their four games (two per game), their lowest ratio on record in a major tournament (since 1966 for World Cup and since 1980 for the European Championship).

- Ukraine's only previous quarter-final appearance in a major tournament ended in a 3-0 defeat to Italy in the 2006 World Cup. Ukraine have won two of their last three European Championship matches, more than they had in their first seven in the competition (W1 L6).

- Each of England's previous three quarter-final matches at the European Championship have gone to extra-time and penalties – after progressing from the first of these against Spain in 1996, England lost in penalty shootouts against Portugal in 2004 and Italy in 2012.

Gareth Southgate's refusal to bow to public pressure and pick an attacking England team has earned the respect of former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Southgate has guided the Three Lions to the last eight at Euro 2020, reaching this stage with their first knockout tournament win over Germany since 1966.

But the manager's team selection has been the source of scrutiny.

Not since the 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia has Southgate named an unchanged side, a run of 34 consecutive matches seeing at least one alteration.

Despite this tinkering, the England boss has consistently named starting line-ups that have underwhelmed supporters.

Jack Grealish has started just seven of those 34 matches – and only one at the Euros – while Jadon Sancho, limited to six minutes so far in this campaign, is also not among the 12 players to have clocked 1,000 or more international minutes in this period (915).

The subsequent defensive solidity has paid off, however, for a team now versed in both a 4-3-3 or a 3-4-3.

England have kept six straight clean sheets, beginning a major tournament with four in a row for the first time since winning the World Cup in 1966.

Eriksson, England manager from 2000 to 2006, knows all about the difficulty of satisfying fans while selecting an effective XI.

He famously sought to find a way to fit Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard into the same side and has been impressed by Southgate's resolve.

"Now you have to respect that because that's not easy," Eriksson told Stats Perform. "I know it's not easy.

 

"It's not easy in a club, but when you have a national team like England, everybody has an opinion. And if you don't win, you have 60 million managers or coaches telling you what you should have done.

"But the problem always in football is that, as a manager, you have to decide what to do, how to do it before the match, not after. So, I respect Southgate very much.

"You know how it is: now he is up in the sky, flying, and that's fair, that's good. But it was a little bit of a defensive team he put it out to start with – and if that had gone wrong, he would have been very, very much criticised.

"He won, he had [it] right and the decision he took was right. That's important."

Ukraine are next up and, given they are considered more straightforward opponents than Germany, calls will grow again to bring in Grealish, Sancho or Phil Foden.

"I don't think Southgate needs any advice from anyone – and he will not listen to it," Eriksson said.

But he added: "I think it's going to be very important for England that they can open up, and if you ask me, yeah, I would put in one more attacking guy, maybe, who can do things one against one.

"I think that will be important for the Ukraine game.

"But anyhow, whatever formation Southgate uses, England will win that game. I can't see any other result than that they go through."

Jack Grealish knows Gareth Southgate has a tough time picking his England XI, describing the Three Lions' attacking options – of which he is one – as "scary".

Aston Villa captain Grealish has been the subject of much attention at Euro 2020, but Southgate has so far only started the winger once – against the Czech Republic.

Grealish laid on an assist in that game and had another as a substitute against Germany, making him the only England player to create multiple goals so far in the tournament.

Unsurprisingly, the most-fouled player in the Premier League in 2020-21 (110) has also earned the most free-kicks in this Three Lions side (seven).

This is despite Grealish being limited to just 116 minutes of action, although that is still considerably more than Marcus Rashford (58) or Jadon Sancho (six).

Rashford (20) and Sancho (19) had more goal involvements in the league last season than Grealish (16) or any of Southgate's other wide options: Raheem Sterling (17), Phil Foden (14) and Bukayo Saka (eight).

But Southgate's difficult decisions have so far paid off, with Sterling starting all four matches and scoring three of England's four goals, and Grealish has no issue with his manager.

"He's been perfect with me," the reported Manchester City target told reporters. "I see some stuff sometimes about me and Gareth but we have a great relationship. He does with all the players. He's a brilliant man-manager.

"You have got six players that play either side of Harry [Kane] that, in reality, could play for most clubs in the world.

"Myself, Jadon, Marcus, Raheem, Phil Foden and Bukayo. It's scary how good us six are. That's not being big-headed or nothing. That is just the truth.

"He can't play all six of us but one thing he's done really well is make people think that they are still involved. He still speaks to everyone on a daily basis."

 

It is Grealish whose exclusion has drawn the most ire, his introduction against Germany in the last 16 prompting a huge roar from the half-capacity Wembley crowd.

The 25-year-old says he would be watching from a fan park if he was not a player, adding his alternative vocation would likely be as "a club promoter, Tenerife or Ibiza".

As it is, Grealish is in the England squad and revelling in the attention.

"I'm loving it. It makes me so happy and proud when I hear the crowd singing my name," he said. "It could be too much pressure for some people but I just want to repay that.

"I always try to play with a smile on my face because I'm doing what I love.

"It's nice when Villa fans are calling for you but you kind of expect it because you are one of them. When it's England fans, it's different. I get booed every single week by these fans.

"When I speak to my mum and dad, they think that it's so nice people are not going: 'Ah, if he was at Villa, we'd boo him every week.'

"They are giving me that support and doing it for the whole team."

Eoin Morgan will use Sunday's final ODI against Sri Lanka to rotate England's squad after a series victory was secured on Thursday.

England captain Morgan hit an unbeaten 75 to return to form at The Oval in the second ODI of the three-match series, leading England to an eight-wicket triumph.

The hard work had been done by Sam Curran, whose maiden ODI five-for dismantled Sri Lanka's top order, with David Willey (4-64) more than chipping in to limit the tourists to 241.

Jason Roy's superb 60 got England going before Morgan and his Test counterpart Joe Root (68) guided the hosts over the line with 42 deliveries to spare.

It marked Morgan's first big score since he hit 106 against Ireland in August 2020, with the one-day skipper having scored 23, 42, 23, 22 and six in his five innings between then and Thursday.

"Nice to score some runs and make a contribution to a series win," Morgan said at the post-match presentation.

 "It's worked in my favour, distractions as a captain, to not think about your batting for some time.

"The game was set up by the bowling unit, two left-armers swinging it early, and then the wicket became a bit flatter and slower and we had to sit in and build pressure to create chances."

 

"I think we'll see more changes, it's only three days away but we also have an eye on the Pakistan series, 50-over cricket is a chance to bring guys in," Morgan added when asked if he would look to introduce fresh players into the XI for the final match in Bristol.

"We're always looking to grow and get better.

"I still don't think I'm striking it that well but [it was] nice to get some time in the middle."

Curran was awarded the Player of the Match prize for his efforts of 5-48 on his home ground.

"Really special, to be playing in front of the fans, you can hear them now – an awesome atmosphere, to do it on my home ground us really special," said the Surrey bowler.

"I feel I've played a lot of cricket, feel like I'm learning, picking the brains of other guys. The more I play and fail I learn from those experiences."

Eoin Morgan and Joe Root guided England to a comprehensive eight-wicket victory to seal an ODI series success over Sri Lanka.

Sam Curran's first international five-for set England on the way to a convincing win at The Oval on Thursday as, despite Dhananjaya de Silva's efforts, Sri Lanka were limited to 241-9.

Dhananjaya's 91 from as many balls, an innings that included 13 boundaries, propelled Sri Lanka to a respectable score after Curran (5-48) had ripped through the tourists' top order.

It was not enough to hold England off, though, with captain Morgan (75 not out) and his Test counterpart Root (68 not out) rounded things off to seal the series win before the final match in Bristol on Sunday.

Dhananjaya was out in the middle by the 11th delivery of the day, Curran having dismissed both Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando.

Curran and partner in crime David Willey (4-64) had the tourists at 21-4 by the seventh over, though successive boundaries got Dhananjaya into his stride.

Dhananjaya's impressive stand finally ended just nine runs shy of a maiden ODI century, Willey doing the honours, with Curran getting his five-for by sending Chamika Karunaratne packing.

Jason Roy had thumped his way to 40 by the end of the eighth over of the chase, with Jonny Bairstow crunching 14 in the next over to join the party.

Bairstow dragged on from Wanindu Hasaranga and Roy got himself to 60 before being caught by Dhananjaya, yet Sri Lanka would have no more joy in the field.

A six and a fortunate inside edge took Morgan to a confidence-boosting half-century, with Root reaching a second straight 50 in the next over, and victory was capped when England's captain hooked a short ball out to the leg-side boundary.

 

CURRAN SETS THE TONE AND MORGAN REGAINS FORM

Surrey bowler Curran was due a star turn, and he delivered in some style on his home ground.

Morgan, meanwhile, was in need of a morale-boosting innings after some tricky form. He had not scored 50 or over since hitting 106 against Ireland in August 2020, having scored 23, 42, 23, 22 and six in his five innings since then, before Thursday's encounter.

SRI LANKA LEFT REELING

That is five defeats on the bounce to start this tour for Sri Lanka, who now have to hope to avoid a T20 and ODI two-series whitewash.

Thursday's game came 15 years to the day since Sri Lanka chased down 322 at Trent Bridge with eight wickets in hand and 75 balls to spare, but this was a poor imitation of that team. This was Sri Lanka's 428th ODI defeat in men's cricket, seeing them overtake India as the side to lose the most matches in the format, while the Lions have also lost seven games this year, more than any other team.

Manchester United have confirmed an agreement in principle has been reached to sign Jadon Sancho, who will complete his move after Euro 2020.

Sancho is set to become the fourth most expensive signing in United's history, behind Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Romelu Lukaku, after the Premier League club agreed an €85million (£72.9million) fee with Borussia Dortmund.

United were keen on the 21-year-old last year but could not drive through a deal at the time, with Dortmund reluctant to sell one of their chief assets.

However, the Bundesliga club confirmed on Thursday they have agreed to sell the winger who arrived at Signal Iduna Park from Manchester City, with the Red Devils ready to conclude the transfer once the player has finished representing England at the ongoing European Championship.

"Manchester United is delighted to announce it has reached agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for the transfer of Jadon Sancho," a short statement from United read.

"The signing is subject to contractual terms and a medical, which will be completed after Jadon's involvement in the European Championship."

 

Gareth Southgate's England face Ukraine in the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 in Rome on Saturday.

Sancho has featured for just six minutes in the tournament so far, despite scoring 50 goals and providing 57 assists in 137 appearances across all competitions for Dortmund.

He became the first Englishman to reach at least 10 assists for three straight seasons in Europe's top-five leagues since former United star David Beckham, who achieved the feat between 1997-98 and 2000-01.

Indeed, only Thomas Muller (48) and Lionel Messi (43) have managed to provide more assists at that league level since the start of the 2018-19 campaign than Sancho (41).

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to have another attacking option to add to his squad; they begin the new Premier League season against Leeds United at Old Trafford on August 14.

Oleksandr Zinchenko says Ukraine must find a way to stop the "amazing" Raheem Sterling but they should not fear facing England in a Euro 2020 quarter-final on Saturday.

Ukraine beat Sweden 2-1 after extra time at Hampden Park on Tuesday courtesy of a last-gasp winner from Artem Dovbyk.

Andriy Shevchenko's side travel to Rome to face the Three Lions at the Stadio Olimpico, with Gareth Southgate's side having beaten Germany 2-0 at Wembley.

Sterling opened the scoring for England with his third goal of the tournament before Harry Kane sealed the victory.

Zinchenko, who was on target in the win over Sweden, knows Ukraine will have to keep a close eye on his Manchester City team-mate in the Eternal City.

"Raheem Sterling is one of the best wingers in the world. Right now he is in amazing form," said the full-back.

"He is great, he makes the difference. We obviously need to pay attention to him and we will need to try to somehow stop him because he’s on a roll now.

"Who is the strongest opponent that I have ever played? I have said several times that it's the footballers from Manchester City, those that I see every day at training."

 

England are the only team in the tournament who have not conceded a goal but Zinchenko says Ukraine should be motivated by the challenge of breaching their resolute defence.

"It is really difficult to score against England, they are really well organised," said Zinchenko.

"They have a really good set of footballers and the substitute bench probably costs [the same] as three Ukrainian teams.

"This shouldn't be really scary for us, this should motivate us. We need to give ourselves the highest aims, the highest goals, and I am sure that the coaching team will get the strategy for us.

"I sense myself that everything is possible in this life and we will do everything we can for it. I've watched pretty much all the games that England have played, except today because we were getting ready for our game.

"The first thing that I noticed is I know quite a lot of those players personally because I see them in the Premier League."

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