The hopes were high, but the result was breathtaking. England blasted past Ukraine 4-0 at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night.
The result booked a semi-final date against Denmark at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday and created history for the Three Lions as they became the first team in European Championship history to have gone five games in the tournament without conceding.
Gareth Southgate reverted to four at the back, with Kyle Walker and Luke Shaw in the right and left back slots. Jadon Sancho also came on for his first start in place of the injured Bukayo Saka.
England scored early through Harry Kane, who was fed by Raheem Sterling, who brushed away two failed tackles to get the ball to Kane to score his second goal in the last two games with a toe poke.
The English were cautious after they scored, as their record after scoring in the first five minutes had been zero victories. The Ukrainians-surprise semi-finalists – tried to work their way back into the contest and were almost gifted a way back when Walker gave the ball to Roman Yaremchuk, but his goal-bound shot was pushed away for a corner kick.
Georgi Bushchan had to palm away a ferocious strike from Declan Rice as the first half wound down.
Viktor Tsygankov came on for Serhiy Kryvtsov as Ukraine pressed forward but the half time came in time for England.
Harry Maguire nodded past Bushchan in the first minute after half time to give England a two-goal lead. And the third followed four minutes later as Shaw found Kane, who put a header between Bushchan’s legs.
With the three-goal lead, Jordan Henderson came on for Rice, who had a yellow card against his name before the match and could have missed the semi-final if he was booked.
And the Liverpool captain scored with another header in the 63rd minute-his first-ever goal for England as the Lions romped to the semi-final, following on from their semi-final appearance at the last World Cup in Russia.
They are still singing ‘it’s coming home’ on the streets of London as the lions prepare for the Danes on Wednesday.
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