Gareth Southgate’s side impressed last time around, beating Germany 2-0 in a strong performance. England’s defense remained consistently excellent throughout the tournament as their attack stuttered at times.
The England manager is expected to make some changes to the winning squad at Wembley. As first reported by Telegraph Sport, Southgate could come back from the last five deployed in the four-way round of 16 – the formation England have used during the group stages.
Bukayo Saka, who impressed with his willingness to hit defenders with the ball at his feet, delivers a light blow and may have to leave the starting lineup. This could present an opportunity for the skillful Jadon Sancho who has barely featured in the tournament so far, much to the surprise of the German public who have watched him regularly for Borussia Dortmund.
Mason Mount could return to the roster after a period of isolation after the game against Scotland.
One factor Southgate might consider is that four of his squad – Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden – are one yellow card away from missing the semi-final, if England succeed. However, the England manager categorically denied that it would influence the selection.
“I understand the strategy of thinking about this, but I don’t think there is a team in the world that would do this at this point,” Southgate said. “I’ve never seen this happen and it’s not in our minds. It would be a bad message for our players and it would be a bad message for Ukraine. I don’t think we can mess around. It would just be about thinking about the future and we shouldn’t be thinking about the future right now.
“We’ve been to three semi-finals in 60 years, the idea that we can let players rest to go through a semi-final – I can’t think of a nation that would do that. I don’t remember a nation doing this. It was different in the group stage when we had qualified and knew what we were up against. We could do it strategically.
England are a big favorite tonight but Ukraine have shown a lot of determination and created some great quality moments to get them to this point.
Stay with Telegraph Sport for kick-off preparations and live updates of all the action from Rome.