Harry Kane took his tally to three for the finals, with Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also on target as England soared into the semi-finals.
Wembley beckons for Gareth Southgate’s side after a devastating spell at the start of the second half in Rome earned England their most emphatic win at a EURO, and ended Ukraine’s hopes of reaching the UEFA EURO 2020 semi-finals.
Match in brief
Having brought in Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount, England set out to dominate possession, and were in front inside five minutes, the ever-slippery Raheem Sterling cutting inside from the left to slide the ball through to Harry Kane, who eluded his marker and stretched out a leg to beat Georgiy Bushchan.
The Three Lions looked to patiently pick off Ukraine thereafter; Kane headed over from a Luke Shaw cross, and Declan Rice thumped a powerful shot at Bushchan from distance. An injury to defender Serhiy Kryvtsov forced Ukraine to switch to a more aggressive formation on 35 minutes, but any extra threat evaporated after a devastating spell of England play after the interval.
Shaw’s free-kick teed up Harry Maguire to head in a second just after the restart, and Ukraine had no time to regain their composure before Kane made it 3-0, Shaw’s sweet ball in from the left inviting the No9 to head down through Bushchan’s legs and into the net. Bushchan produced a terrific save to deny a Kane volley just after the hour-mark, but the goalkeeper’s suffering continued as on-coming substitute Jordan Henderson connected with a Mason Mount corner to make it 4-0: his first England goal in 62 appearances.
Ukraine could not respond, and a run of tactical substitutions towards the end of the game allowed Southgate to give some key players a chance to rest their legs ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final against Denmark.
Star of the Match: Harry Kane (England)
“Kane was taken off once the result was certain; he scored twice and was consistent with all of his efforts, including an amazing second-half shot which was well saved by the goalkeeper. He is gaining in confidence, and taking the whole England squad with him.”
Jean-François Domergue, UEFA Technical Observer
Bogdan Buga, Ukraine reporter
Of course, it would have been nicer to go out on a less dispiriting result, but Ukraine still bow out with good reason to be proud of how far they have come. They were second best tonight, but all of them played with heart, and there is no denying their desire, 100% commitment and courage. Andriy Shevchenko’s players have won plaudits not only from their supporters but also many neutral football fans.
Simon Hart, England reporter
First a win against Germany, and now this: England’s biggest victory at any EURO. Solid in the group stage, Southgate’s men are developing an irresistible momentum. With five clean sheets at one end and now Kane’s mojo recovered at the other, they will return to Wembley rightly full of belief. Sancho, on his first EURO start, and Shaw, whose left foot set up two of the goals, highlighted their importance, but it was a brilliant collective effort that secured England’s first back-to-back semi-finals since 1968.
Gareth Southgate, England manager: “We didn’t want to take a backward step. We wanted to really grasp the opportunity rather than hope we might win or let fate have a chance to play its part. I thought the players were decisive and ruthless all night.”
Harry Kane, England forward: “It’s about peaking at the right time. A fantastic night; we keep going game after game. We were favourites to win this game – a lot of pressure and expectation and to perform as we did was top-drawer. Another clean sheet and four goals: it was a perfect night for us.”
Harry Maguire, England defender: “It’s a great feeling – back-to-back semi-finals at a major tournament is a great achievement. I don’t want to be a party pooper but we don’t stop here. We’ve got another big game coming up and we want to go further this time.”
Andriy Shevchenko, Ukraine coach: “We’ve had a great tournament. The team had their own style; they refused to abandon their way of playing, irrespective of the results and opposition. From that point of view, the team have played good football. The guys did everything they could, and I want to thank them for that today.”
Andriy Yarmolenko, Ukraine forward: “We are a great team with a great group of people. Nothing can break us. We know what helps us with our game, and we know how we can play. Despite the result, despite losing 4-0 today, I am proud to be part of this team. Yes, today we lost, but we should look at who we have lost to. In my opinion, we have lost to one of the best teams in the world.”
Illia Zabarnyi, Ukraine defender: “I think our team deserved a better result. We have been working really hard. We kept going until the end. All I can say is that I am proud of my team and I am proud of my country. We managed to get to this stage and could have gone even further. But what happened, happened.”