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Raheem Sterling will be keen to add to his goal tally against Ukraine after scoring three at Euro 2020 so far
Raheem Sterling will be keen to add to his goal tally against Ukraine after scoring three at Euro 2020 so far

Quarter-finals: Ukraine vs England, kick-off 8pm (UK time, BBC One)

England’s reward for defeating Germany is a trip to Rome to face Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine, with a place in the semi-finals of Euro 2020 up for grabs.

Gareth Southgate masterminded a victory over Die Mannschaft to guide the Three Lions into the quarter-finals for the first time in nine years.

Ukraine, on the other hand, needed a last-minute winner to dispatch of 10-man Sweden in extra-time — this is the first time they have made it this far in the competition.

Story so far

The Three Lions have been close to perfect ahead of their trip to Rome. 

Southgate’s side are yet to concede a goal and they have won three of their four matches, only failing to beat Scotland in the Battle of Britain.

That 0-0 draw was sandwiched between 1-0 wins over Croatia and the Czech Republic as they topped their group, before securing an iconic 2-0 win against the Germans at Wembley on Tuesday evening.

Ukraine’s path to the quarters has been less straightforward.

They kicked things off with a 3-2 loss to the Netherlands, though many neutrals praised their mentality having drawn level for a period after being 2-0 down.

A 2-1 win over North Macedonia meant the 1-0 defeat to Austria on the final day was irrelevant, as they finished third in Group C to set up a game against Group E winners, Sweden.

After a 1-1 draw in normal time, Artem Dovbyk’s 120th minute strike won it at the death to seal an historic win.

Shaw-ing up the attack

Luke Shaw demonstrated his attacking abilities on the left flank against Germany
Luke Shaw demonstrated his attacking abilities on the left flank against Germany

Against Croatia, Southgate made the surprise decision to name Kieran Trippier as his starting left-back, despite having Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell in his squad.

Since then, though, Shaw has been in possession of the left-back berth.

England fans were yet to see him replicate the form he showed for Manchester United last season — that was until his dominant performance against Germany.

He made three interceptions and won possession back twice in the opposition half, a total only two players involved in the match could better.

The 25-year-old played a part in both goals and his progressive play on the left flank could well be key to England going even further into the competition.

The Kane conundrum

Harry Kane finally got off the mark in the tournament, nodding home Jack Grealish’s cross from close range.

It will give England’s No9 a confidence boost, but his performances will continually be scrutinised unless he is scoring or assisting more frequently.

The forward has barely been involved for England and only had four touches in the penalty area during the win over Germany. He attempted just 17 passes and completed 12 on the night.

It is a far cry from the Tottenham version of Kane from last season, when he was pulling the strings on his way to claiming the award for most assists (14) in the Premier League.

England are winning, but Southgate desperately needs to get his main man much more involved.

Will Harry Kane push on after finally scoring his first goal of the tournament against Germany?
Will Harry Kane push on after finally scoring his first goal of the tournament against Germany?

The Roman in Rome

Andriy Yarmolenko always seems to take his game up a level when representing his country.

He scored the first real world class goal of the tournament in the 3-2 loss to the Dutch and produced arguably the assist of the summer to set up Oleksandr Zinchenko during the victory against Sweden.

But he is not the man England should be most worried about.

Roman Yaremchuk is a powerful, selfless forward with superb movement, and has played a part in three goals across his four outings (two goals and one assist).

If Ukraine are to pull off a shock victory, Yaremchuk is likely to be heavily involved.

Yet to keep a clean sheet

Ukraine's defence has allowed plenty of shots against them so far at Euro 2020
Ukraine's defence has allowed plenty of shots against them so far at Euro 2020

Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.

At Euro 2016, Germany and Portugal kept the joint-most cleans (4), with the Selecao ultimately going on to win the tournament.

In 2012, Spain also claimed the title for most clean sheets (5) en route to lifting the trophy.

Clean sheets do matter — and Ukraine are yet to keep one.

As evidenced by their shots conceded map (above), they have allowed the opposition a number of high-quality chances throughout the competition to date.

England are not a free-scoring team, averaging just a goal per game — but Shevchenko’s side will still need to tighten up if they are to emerge victorious.

Tags

EnglandUkraineEuropean Championship

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