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5 things we learned as England reach Euro 2020 semi-finals with Rome romp

Ukraine v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Quarter Final – Stadio Olimpico
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

England booked a semi-final showdown with Denmark at Euro 2020 after a 4-0 quarter-final rout over Ukraine in Rome.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the talking points from a wonderful night for England in Italy.

Courage of convictions

Ukraine v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Quarter Final – Stadio Olimpico

England’s Harry Maguire celebrates his goal against Ukraine (Marco Iacobucci/PA)

England’s three previous quarter-finals in the European Championship have gone to extra time and penalties with the Three Lions only progressing once – beating Spain in Euro ’96.

Defeats to Portugal in 2004 and Italy in 2012 continued the pain and while they occasionally looked shaky at the back in the first half there was never any real concern in Rome.

Goals from Harry Maguire and Harry Kane early in the second half settled any nerves and the rout marked England out as contenders.

Confident Kane

Ukraine v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Quarter Final – Stadio Olimpico

England’s Harry Kane opened the scoring in Rome (Marco Iacobucci/PA)

Strikers thrive on confidence and a third goal in two games has given Kane lift-off in the tournament at just the right time.

The furore about his three-game barren spell in Group D was overblown and, while he may not have been playing in top gear, he remained England’s best forward.

His predatory instincts were on show in the Stadio Olimpico and class will always tell.

Sancho on show

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The forward – poised to complete his £73million move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United – made his first start of the tournament.

Given his form last season, when he scored 17 goals, there had been questions why he had been underused but Gareth Southgate, and his players, trust the system.

He showed flashes of his class and to have a fresh weapon like the 21-year-old to come in demonstrates England’s depth and threat.

No way, Jose

Ukraine v England – UEFA Euro 2020 – Quarter Final – Stadio Olimpico

Luke Shaw (left) excelled against Ukraine (Nick Potts/PA)

Luke Shaw starred for England, claiming two assists for Maguire and Kane as the Three Lions took Ukraine apart early in the second half.

The left-back, stricken by a serious broken leg in 2015, has fought his way back and has underlined his recovery this tournament.

He suffered a torrid time at Manchester United under former manager Jose Mourinho – who also criticised his set-pieces after the Germany game – but has thrown the barbs back in the face of the new Roma manager in his own backyard.

Can England go all the way?

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Denmark await in the semi-final at Wembley on Wednesday and with 60,000 due to attend – the biggest since the start of the pandemic – England will have a partisan crowd on their side.

The Three Lions will never have a better chance of reaching their first major final since 1966, especially after a brilliant win in Rome.

The Danes, using Christian Eriksen’s shocking cardiac arrest in their first game as inspiration, have special momentum but can be overcome by an increasingly confident England.