For England in pursuit of glory, severe test awaits against optimistic Ukraine
Excitement builds in England following their Euro 2020 round of 16 victory over Germany, a result that has left them a theoretically favorable path to the final as they seek to win a first major tournament since 1966.
However, Ukraine, which faces Saturday’s quarter-final in Rome, will hope for a surprise victory and advance to the last four in a major competition for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has said Ukraine will have to play the “game of a life” to beat England on Saturday in the Euro 2020 quarter-final in Rome.
The Manchester City player scored and then set up last-breath winner Artem Dovbyk as Ukraine beat Sweden 2-1 after extra time in the last 16.
Ukraine matched their run to the last eight at the 2006 World Cup, when coach Andriy Shevchenko was the team’s star striker, and hope to reach a first semi-final at a major tournament.
Zinchenko could come up against a number of his City teammates at Stadio Olimpico, including Raheem Sterling who has scored three of England’s four goals so far.
The Manchester City star is already playing his fourth major tournament but his talent, so far, has not been fully appreciated by the English backing.
A precocious young player when England crashed in the 2014 World Cup group stage, Sterling was one of the downfall guys two years later when Roy Hodgson’s side left Euro 2016 embarrassingly against Iceland.
At just 26, he is a senior figure in a young England side with 65 caps already to his name and represents the fearlessness and social conscience that have held Gareth Southgate’s side respected on and off the pitch.
Ukraine advanced to the knockout stage as the lowest-ranked of the four third-ranked teams to advance, having lost two of their three group matches to the Netherlands and Austria.
England, meanwhile, have won three of their four matches so far without conceding a goal.
The reward for yet another victory this time in Rome will be a semi-final and a potential final at Wembley. England won’t have a better chance of ending their long wait for silverware, but a severe test awaits them in Rome.
Who says what ?
Oleksandr Zinchenko, Ukrainian defender
“We will try to surprise them. Of course, we realize that to get out of this, everyone will probably have to play the best game of their life. The fact that England haven’t conceded a goal yet … they played very well in defense but I think there are no perfect teams, every team has weaknesses.
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine Head Coach
“We fully understand who we will play against tomorrow. I think (England) are one of the best teams, and at this Euro one of the most balanced teams. They have amazing players. Tomorrow will be the most difficult game for us. I know how difficult it will be for us, but I know our players have character and we will try to show it.
Jordan Pickford, English goalkeeper
“There would be nothing better for me than winning a medal with England. Personal stuff, which takes care of itself. But winning a major trophy with England would be the pinnacle. “
Gareth Southgate, England head coach
“It’s a dangerous time for us. We’ll have that heat of success and a feeling across the country that we just have to come and win it. We know it will be a huge challenge from now on. I think the players know that.
Ukraine vs England H2H
Statistics and anecdotes
• Ukraine have won just one of their seven matches against England (D2 L4), those four losses including the only previous European Teams Championship with Wayne Rooney scoring the only goal at Donbass Arena in Donetsk. during the group stage of Euro 2012 to send England to the quarter-finals and eliminate Ukraine. Andriy Pyatov and Andriy Yarmolenko played 90 minutes for Ukraine; Current coach Andriy Shevchenko was a second-half substitute.
• Having never participated in a European Championship before co-hosting the 2012 edition with Poland, this is Ukraine’s third consecutive appearance in the finals and their first qualification for the knockout stage. direct.
• England have won only two of their five Euro quarter-finals, both against Spain – in 1968 (1-0 h, 2-1 a) and 1996 (0-0, 4- 2 pen). They lost to West Germany in 1972 (1-3 a.m., 0-0 a) and Portugal (2004) and Italy (2012), both on penalties.
• Ukraine remained unbeaten in qualifying, with six wins and two draws. They were one of five teams not to lose a game in the Euro 2020 qualifiers, along with Belgium, Italy – both of whom have won all of their matches – Spain and Denmark.
• The loss to Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016 is England’s only loss in 15 EURO final matches (8 v, 6 losses), eliminations on penalties by Italy (2012) and Portugal (2004) being counted as draws.
• Current England head coach Gareth Southgate and Shevchenko were on the opposing side in the teams’ first meeting, a friendly 2-0 victory over England at Wembley on May 31, 2000.
With contributions from AFP and UEFA