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England vs Ukraine Euro 2020 reaction: 5 big talking points from the Three Lions' brilliant 4-0 win

Harry Kane
(Image credit: PA Images)

England are in dreamland after reaching the semi finals of Euro 2020 with a superb 4-0 win over Ukraine in Rome.

FourFourTwo were at the Stadio Olimpico to witness it all - here are our five big talking points from the match.

Never doubt Harry Kane

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There was a lot of odd criticism after Harry Kane failed to score in the group stage of this tournament.

True, they were far from his best matches, but suggestions that he needed to completely change his playing style - or worse still, be dropped altogether - seemed a bit extreme.

Sometimes strikers will go three games without a goal, and Kane has proven over a long period that he will score consistently if you give him chances.

That was proven when he netted England's second against Germany - the hope was that would set him off on a goalscoring run, and he needed only four minutes against Ukraine to find the net. Put Harry Kane clear on goal like that, and he's just not going to miss.

Kane was there in the right place at the right time after the interval too, emphatically heading home his second of the game. Form is temporary, class is permanent.

Shaw bags more assists - and breaks set piece duck

England scored a highly impressive five goals from set pieces at the 2018 World Cup - a big part of why they reached the semi finals.

They went into this game yet to score a single one at Euro 2020, with question marks at times about the delivery. Dropping Kieran Trippier to the bench for the match could have been an issue in that department - the Atletico Madrid full back was the architect of England's set piece success in 2018 and produced some better deliveries against Germany.

It was Luke Shaw who set up the first goal in that game though, albeit from open play, and he then produced England's first set piece goal of the tournament against Ukraine - curling in a brilliant free kick for Harry Maguire to thump home.

Luke Shaw

(Image credit: PA Images)

Four minutes later, Shaw was at it again from open play, crossing for Kane to make it 3-0. Having been left out of the opening game of the tournament, and seemingly been neck and neck with Ben Chilwell going into the Euros, the Manchester United left back has been brilliant.

If that wasn't enough, England even added another set piece goal later on, as Mason Mount crossed for substitute Jordan Henderson to head his first ever goal for his country, on his 62nd appearance. It's another very valuable string to the Three Lions' bow.

Sterling: player of the tournament contender?

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After three goals in his first four appearances at Euro 2020, Raheem Sterling once more made a vital contribution for England in this quarter final against Ukraine.

It was Sterling whose brilliance helped to put the Three Lions ahead after only four minutes, as he jinked inside his marker and then played a brilliant slide-rule pass that played in Harry Kane to score.

Raheem Sterling

(Image credit: PA Images)

It showed that the Manchester City man's contribution isn't only limited to matches at Wembley, near to where he grew up, and he's been brimming with confidence ever since that goal against Croatia in England's opener.

Sterling has often been England's best player in these Euros - if he and Gareth Southgate's side continue like this, he's a serious contender to win player of the tournament. Not bad for a player who many didn't even want in the side before Euro 2020 started.

Sancho bright on recall

There was some surprise that Jadon Sancho hadn't started any of England's first four games at this tournament, and had only been given six minutes off the bench.

Bukayo Saka had been preferred to him for the Czech Republic game, and the Arsenal man retained his place after a man of the match display, before injury ruled him out of this game against Ukraine.

Jadon Sancho

(Image credit: PA Images)

This then was Sancho's first ever start at a major tournament, and he took his chance. Perhaps boosted by the news of his imminent move to Manchester United, the winger showed some nice touches on the right flank - producing one particularly impressive give-and-go that started a move that almost led to a goal.

Sancho could even have had a goal himself, rolling his marker towards the end of the first half, before firing straight at the keeper. Arguably he should have scored, but he provide yet another different attacking threat for England at this tournament - Gareth Southgate certainly isn't short of them.

Travelling fans were superb

This was England's only away game at Euro 2020, and the atmosphere undoubtedly had a very different feel about it at times. After the Euro 96 throwback experience at Wembley, this harked back to the days of Italia 90 - although sadly without quite the same number of England fans present, because of coronavirus travel restrictions.

Less than 13,000 watched each of Italy's three group games in the 70,000 capacity Stadio Olimpico, and for much of the evening it was understandably significantly quieter here than it had been in London for the last 16 tie against Germany, which produced arguably the finest atmosphere the new Wembley had ever seen.

This was perhaps where the format of this Euros didn't really work - the other three quarter finals also had disappointing crowds of between 12,000 and 24,000.

England fans

(Image credit: PA Images)

The Three Lions probably could have brought 40,000 to this fixture in non-COVID times, although the fans who were able to be present - many, but not all, based outside of the UK - made as much noise as possible and enjoyed the occasion, on a scorching hot Italian day.

Even with all the restrictions, they still comfortably outnumbered the Ukrainian supporters. When Gareth Southgate's side scored twice in four minutes at the start of the second half, a fairly empty Stadio Olimpico suddenly had a real atmosphere, as England fans dotted around the venue started to party.

Fair play to all of those who overcome logistical challenges to make it to Rome - it made England's one away game into something close to another home fixture. 

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