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EURO 2020: Seven things we learned from England’s 4-0 win over Ukraine

A breathtaking ruthless performance by England saw them ease their way to the semi-finals with a 4-0 victory over Ukraine.

Gareth Southgate’s squad were in dreamland as they cruised past their opponents and now stand just one game away from making their first competitive final in 55 years.

Here, Sportsmail looks at seven things we learned on a night that could not get any better for the Three Lions.  

England put in a stunning performance to reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 with a 4-0 win

Harry Kane scored twice while Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also got in on the act

Harry Kane scored twice while Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also got in on the act

HARRY KANE HAS FOUND HIS GOAL SCORING TOUCH AT THE RIGHT TIME 

Strikers strive off confidence and it looks as though Harry Kane’s goal at Germany came at just the right time.  

Against Germany, Kane had a very quiet game before Jack Grealish’s perfect cross allowed the Tottenham striker to add England’s second goal with four minutes left.

He wasted no time however to impact the game against Ukraine, getting on the end of an angled pass by Raheem Sterling and tucking the ball past the goalkeeper after just four minutes.

Kane didn’t take long in the second-half either, heading home a Luke Shaw cross to make it 3-0 after 50 minutes. 

It’s always tough for a striker when they go through a run of games without finding the back of the net.

For a striker as clinical as Harry Kane, it was always a matter of when rather than if he’d return to form. Luckily for England in the knockout stage of Euro 2020, Kane has found his mojo again at the perfect time.

His goal against Ukraine was England’s earliest in a major tournament since Michael Owen against Portugal in the quarter-finals at Euro 2004.   

Harry Kane has been under some criticism but he made the perfect start against Ukraine

Harry Kane has been under some criticism but he made the perfect start against Ukraine

Kane got on the end of an angled Raheem Sterling pass to put the Three Lions 1-0 ahead

Kane got on the end of an angled Raheem Sterling pass to put the Three Lions 1-0 ahead

HE ALSO HAS A LETHAL PARTNERSHIP WITH RAHEEM STERLING  

There was a lot of criticism thrown Gareth Southgate’s way for starting Raheem Sterling in their opening games at Euro 2020 after struggling for form this past season.

The Manchester City man though has well and truly proven his critics wrong and against Ukraine he was again one of England’s brightest sparks.

Sterling has been involved in four of England’s five goals at the tournament so far – scoring three of them and could arguably be put in the running for the player of the competition.

Though he didn’t score against Ukraine, he played a pitch perfect assist for Harry Kane to open the scoring.

Sterling and Kane have a tremendous understanding, and the Manchester City man has assisted the England captain six times for his country.

That is the most a player has assisted another for the Three Lions in all competitions in the 21st century.

It’s a partnership that could become more familiar if Manchester City are able to stump up enough money for the Tottenham striker. 

Raheem Sterling continues to impress and has now  assisted Harry Kane six times for England

Raheem Sterling continues to impress and has now  assisted Harry Kane six times for England

ENGLAND CAN TAKE THE HANDBRAKE OFF 

Jack Grealish and Phil Foden are two names that commonly come up when England fans are asked to pick their strongest eleven.

They are undoubtedly two of England’s brightest attacking sparks, but the way the Three Lions are playing at the moment shows that they don’t need all of their attacking talents to blow teams away.

Against Germany, Gareth Southgate played a more defensive minded system with five at the back which helped them on their way to a 2-0 victory over their great rivals.

On Saturday night, neither Grealish or Foden started and England produced their best attacking performance of the tournament to date.

Ukraine struggled to deal with the front three of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho, while the likes of Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and the central midfielders all contributed to their attacking play.

It would be no surprise to see Jack Grealish and Phil Foden feature in the next two games, but England can afford not to play all their attacking stars and succeed in this tournament. 

Gareth Southgate left out some big names though England still romped home to victory

Gareth Southgate left out some big names though England still romped home to victory

GARETH SOUTHGATE’S HARRY MAGUIRE RISK IS PAYING OFF  

A lot of people questioned Gareth Southgate’s logic for bringing Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson to Euro 2020 on the back of injuries that affected the end of their club seasons.

Though both had a part to play in England’s victory on Saturday night, as they both got onto the scoresheet with Henderson scoring his first ever goal for England.

Harry Maguire has proven why he should have been called up to the squad with a series of strong performances since his return to the line-up in the victory over Czech Republic.

The Manchester United captain was particularly impressive in the game against Germany, keeping their forwards quiet and was awarded Man of the Match. 

Against Ukraine he headed home England’s second goal and helped keep their fifth consecutive clean sheet at the championships – though there were a few nervy moments at the back for his team-mates.

Henderson is unlikely to start during this tournament over Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, but he impressed off the bench and was rewarded with his goal.  

Maguire and Henderson have proved exactly why Southgate was right for calling them along. 

Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire were risks which have seemed to pay off so far

Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire were risks which have seemed to pay off so far

JADON SANCHO PUTS FORWARD HIS CASE 

There have been a lot of questions raised why Jadon Sancho had played only just six minutes at Euro 2020 before the quarter-final against Ukraine.

The new Manchester United signing though showed what he was about with an impressive display as he came in for the injured Bukayo Saka.

His pace was a nuisance for the Ukraine defence though he proved to be at his most dangerous when he came inside and linked up with Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw.

He couldn’t direct his snap-shot from Luke Shaw’s cut-back past the Ukraine goalkeeper and though it was judged to have been offside, it surely would have been overruled on a VAR review.

With such competition in the squad including Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford, it’s uncertain whether Sancho will play in the next two games.

But his display against Ukraine puts him in a better place to challenge to make the starting line-up for the next two games. 

LUKE SHAW IS ONE OF ENGLAND’S BEST ATTACKING THREATS    

Luke Shaw is quietly going about business at the European Championships so far, and has been one of England’s best performers.

He was left on the bench for the opening game against Croatia, but he has played a key part for Gareth Southgate’s squad in the four games since.

From the left-back position he has been one of England’s best attacking options so far this tournament with three assists in the last two games.

It was his assist for Raheem Sterling that got the ball rolling against Germany in the last-16, before he was then involved in the build-up to Harry Kane’s goal.

Against Ukraine, he whipped in a stunning free-kick for his Manchester United team-mate Harry Maguire to score before assisting Kane for England’s third.

There was some doubt over whether he would start at the tournament over Ben Chilwell but he has proven Soutgate right with his decision. 

ENGLAND’S DEFENCE WILL NEED TO BE MORE CAREFUL AGAINST DENMARK 

As good a start as it was for England, they did show some sloppy moments at the back.

Ukraine were offered a big opportunity when Kyle Walker’s back-pass allowed Roman Yaremchuk through, though Jordan Pickford did well to parry his shot around the post.

Their opponents changed system mid-way through the half and there were signs of complacency by England who allowed Ukraine’s forwards to get behind them on occasion.

England were the much better side but there were frustrations at the back with Jordan Pickford shouting at his defence to concentrate with Walker in particular not at the races during the first-half. 

Southgate’s side then romped into a 4-0 lead in the second-half but there was still one or two nervy moments after. 

Denmark have been lethal in front of goal in their last three games and if England are unable to kill off the game in the same way they did today and they show more nervy moments at the back, then the Danes could cause some real problems.  

Kyle Walker wasn't at the races defensively during the first-half and was nearly punished

Kyle Walker wasn’t at the races defensively during the first-half and was nearly punished

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