England qualified for the Euro 2020 semi-finals on Saturday with a resounding 4-0 victory over Ukraine in Rome and will return home to face Denmark for a first major title since the 1966 World Cup .
AFP Sport looks back on three things we learned from the quarter-final at Stadio Olimpico.
Kane returns to form at a key moment
Unlike the 2018 World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot after five goals in the group stage before fading as the tournament progressed, Harry Kane appears to have hit his stride by the time the England needs him. Gareth Southgate has wisely resisted calls to abandon his captain, publicly backing last season’s Premier League top scorer after a slow start to the group stage. Tied with a move to Manchester City last month, the 27-year-old has stifled talks about his future to lead England to a second straight semi-final. After a pressure-relieving goal against Germany, Kane’s predatory instincts were fully displayed against Ukraine – the Tottenham star pushed England early before killing the tie with a header just after the halfway mark. time. He almost scored a hat-trick but a superb left-footed volley was brilliantly saved by Georgiy Bushchan.
Blistering Shaw Cements Left Rear Slit
An unused substitute in the opener against Croatia, Luke Shaw followed a strong season at Manchester United to land his country’s left-back position. Six years after a horrific double leg fracture he is enjoying the shape of his life after being called up to the England squad in March for the first time since 2018. Forward with regularity and combining with the man England’s Euro 2020 star Raheem Sterling, bottom left, Shaw’s two assists early in the second half put England out of reach. His free kick picked Harry Maguire for the second goal, making a superimposed run to cross for Kane a few minutes later – an appropriate response to Jose Mourinho’s recent criticism of his set pieces.
England remove handbrake in style
Stable rather than spectacular was an accurate description of England’s first four outings of the tournament, undoubtedly culminating in a first knockout victory over Germany in 55 years. But with a glut of attacking options in the squad, England have finally achieved something akin to top gear against a porous Ukrainian defense. Jadon Sancho had some brilliant moments in his first start from the competition, while Mason Mount curled up in the corner for Jordan Henderson to score his first England goal as the Chelsea midfielder returned to the alignment after being forced to self-isolate. Sterling has threatened on numerous occasions with Kane leading the line as expected in an overall victory that will raise expectations as they return to Wembley.
© 2021 AFP