England cruise into Euro 2020 semi-finals as Henderson breaks international duck in dominant win over Ukraine

Jordan Henderson first England goal TEAMtalk

England soared into the semi-finals of Euro 2020 after outclassing Ukraine in a dominant 4-0 win at Stadio Olimpico.

After overcoming Germany in the Round of 16, the anticipation was high for their quarter-final in Rome. Despite venturing away from Wembley for the first time this tournament, England put in arguably their best performance yet. Harry Kane scored twice to continue his return to form, while Harry Maguire also got on the scoresheet before Jordan Henderson finally broke his international duck to put the icing on the cake.

England reverted to a back four after shifting to a three in the previous round against Germany. Further forward, Jadon Sancho made his first start of the competition and Mason Mount came back into the lineup.

Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and West Ham’s Andriy Yarmolenko were familiar faces among the Ukraine XI.

England seemed to be taking things patiently in the first few minutes, but soon sparked into life. After just four minutes, Raheem Sterling and Kane combined to give them the lead.

Sterling brought the ball inside and threaded it through for his captain, who prodded home to get his second goal in two games.

Ukraine’s first attempt came via Roman Yaremchuk a few minutes later, but John Stones blocked it.

Yaremchuk had a go again after an error from Kyle Walker, but Jordan Pickford pushed away with his first save of the evening.

England generally remained in control, though, and a chance came to double the lead when Luke Shaw sent a free kick in from the left. Kane rose to meet it with a header, but directed it over the bar.

Ukraine were on the ropes when multiple chances fell England’s way in one move. Declan Rice went closest with a powerful effort from the edge of the box, which was parried by keeper Georgi Bushchan. A few smaller chances followed in the aftermath, but the scoreline remained at 1-0.

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Ukraine made a change soon after, when Viktor Tsygankov replaced Serhii Kryvtsov due to injury.

England next had a decent move down the left flank, which saw Shaw set up Sancho in the middle. The Manchester United-bound winger swivelled and shot, but Bushchan denied him.

Ukraine were beginning to grow into proceedings, though. Mykola Shaparenko struck the ball wide with a decent effort that may have served as a reminder to England of the dangers their opponents could still cause as the break approached.

Second half starts in ideal fashion for England

But just as in the first half, England began the second half with a goal.

Kane won a free kick on the left wing, which Shaw whipped in with a brilliant delivery. Harry Maguire outmuscled his marker to get his head on it and send it into the top corner, doubling England’s cushion.

And moments later, it was 3-0. Sterling backheeled the ball to Shaw, who once again put it on a plate with a cross for Kane, whose header went through Bushchan’s legs.

After a difficult start to the tournament, the captain had sent another statement about why he was never to be written off.

Kane almost had a hat-trick in spectacular fashion when he connected with a first-time, left-footed volley. However, Bushchan did well to stretch and tip it away.

But the resulting corner led to England’s fourth goal – and it was a special moment for Henderson.

On as a substitute for Rice, the Liverpool captain scored his first international goal on his 62nd cap by heading in a floated corner from Mount.

With a comfortable lead earned and around half an hour still remaining, Gareth Southgate made several changes. Jude Bellingham, Kieran Trippier and Marcus Rashford all came on, for Kalvin Phillips, Shaw and Sterling respectively.

Ukraine were down and out but still nearly caused a calamity for England when Pickford raced out of his box to thwart them. He sliced his clearance, but the defenders managed to avert any danger.

Kane was denied the chance for a hat-trick when Southgate replaced him with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, thus using up all his substitutions with 20 minutes remaining.

But it was a Ukraine substitute who had the next decent chance. However, Pickford preserved his clean sheet – and unbeaten record at the tournament – when beating away an effort from Yevhenii Makarenko.

Mercifully to Ukraine, the referee added no time on at the end of the game. Thus, England could celebrate after a fine evening’s work.

England will face Denmark in the semi-finals back at Wembley on Wednesday after they beat Czech Republic earlier on Saturday. It will be a fascinating encounter as the Three Lions aim to reach a major tournament final.