Gareth Southgate says that he has one “regret” after England‘s thumping Euro 2020 win over Ukraine in Rome on Saturday night.
Fans are now really questioning whether football is actually coming home after Harry Kane’s double and headers from Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson swept aside the Eastern European nation in a one-sided quarter-final.
Played in front of a different atmosphere in Italy to the one seen back in London in the win over Germany, Gareth Southgate‘s side set the tone with a goal inside four minutes when Kane finished from a precise Sterling pass.
England continued to press, which restricted Andriy Shevchenko’s side to scraps and Maguire doubled the lead with a fantastic Shaw set piece (46). Star man Shaw wasn’t done there however, and registered his third assist of the tournament moments later when curling another superb ball onto the head of Kane (50).
England were now running riot and Henderson – who came on as a substitute – jumped to head another set-piece goal home (63) – his first goal for his country, and the celebration said it all.
It now means that England will play Denmark on Wednesday back at Wembley, and for sure it’s going to be a much tougher encounter.
The England boss said: “It’s enjoyable but immediately I’m thinking about the players that I didn’t get on the pitch because the likes of Conor Coady, Ben Chilwell, Aaron Ramsdale, Sam Johnstone, Ben White.
“We’ve had 21 on the pitch but those guys have been as important. The spirit that they’ve created, the togetherness. I regret not getting them on the field and I hate this thing of having to leave three out every match.
“It takes more energy from me than anything else because none of them deserve to be out of the 26. The fact that the guys have shown the respect that they’ve shown is why we’re in the position that we’re in.”
One player who’s had limited action on the pitch is midfielder Henderson, who’s had to play behind the ranking order to Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips in midfield.
He got a good runout against Ukraine and earned England’s fourth goal – the header a product of his professionalism, revealed Southgate.
Southgate added: “It’s a sign of his professionalism. First, he was coming on for Kalvin Phillips, then about 20 seconds before he came on we recognised Declan Rice had an issue so we changed.
“But he already knew the runs that Declan was supposed to be making with corners and that’s a great example for any young professional, he listens in the meetings, he knew both the players that he might be able to come on and replace, he knew the detail of their runs.
“It’s a small thing but it’s ended up as a crucial goal. Everyone gave him a round of applause as he came in!”
Fans will be confident in England’s ability to reach the final but Southgate warned that the Danes shouldn’t be written off.
He added: “They beat us in the autumn, we only drew to them in Copenhagen [in the Nations League]. They’re a very underestimated team.
“As a football nation they’ve done incredibly well, they’ve produced so many good players considering their population.
“This is going to be a really tough test and we’ll have to be at our best to get through it.”
Harry Kane said: “It’s going to be incredible. What a moment for us as a team and a nation.
“A lot of us playing now won’t have the opportunity to have a big game like that at Wembley in a major tournament again. It’s there for us. It’s an opportunity for us and we have to grab it with both hands.
“We have to enjoy being in that environment. Coming off the back of the Germany game, the spirits were high and the stadium was rocking so hopefully we can use that energy again and really take the game to Denmark.”
Harry Maguire said: “It’s a great feeling, back to back semis is a great achievement. I don’t want to be a party pooper but we don’t stop here, we want to go further than we did at the World Cup. It’s big progress we’re making as a country. Long may the improvement continue.
“We have great belief in the dressing room. The first half was tough, but I think the second goal settled us down a lot. We deserved the third and fourth on the night.
“We have to recover for another big one coming up. It’s hard to soak it all in when there’s another big one coming up. The dressing room will be great tonight, but tomorrow we’ll wake up and be focused again, because this group of players won’t settle for a semi-final.”
Fans reacted when hearing that Gareth Southgate has one “regret” after England’s thumping win over Ukraine…
@ChrisSlegg: Under Southgate England have:
• Won opening EC game for first time ever
• Won EC knockout game inside 90 mins for first time ever – and done this twice
• Biggest ever England WC or EC knockout win
• Still haven’t let in a goal
@nathanKennedy_: Bollocks to your regret, absolutely superb tonight, team was bang on, went at them from the start, can’t wait drill those Lurpak eating bastards on our patch
@rwilliams1947: Southgate’s management of this England squad is a joy to watch. He shows the players that he trusts them. He gives them all game time — but meaningful game time, not just to keep them happy. And how they respond to that trust tells you everything.
@deanoburns: Southgate is such a clever coach. Name-checking and praising the players who haven’t played and emphasising the togetherness of the group. Superb #ENGUKR
@daly_robinson: I am eating my words, humbly, on Southgate. He’s got England peaking at the right time. Last two games have been exceptional. It’s coming home
@DickBeard4: A lot of people with egg on face!
@IJM9694: He’s just so likeable
@TownsleyJordan: The bloke deserves some respect everyone questions him all the time but he is doing a great job
@HappyOldMan1966: Top bloke and a gentleman – let him manage. All you doubters ‘wind your necks in’ and support England. 🏴
@LeeTCornish1: Bloke speaks with so much class! Go on @GarethSouthgate son!!
@andymurray8472: I take back everything I ever said about this man. He’s 100% the right man to guide this group of players at the moment. Slow start, gaining momentum the teams that are left should be afraid of us. We have so much quality in that squad! #ItsComingHome
@Latrobegunner: Whatever you think about Southgate as a manager, there’s no denying he’s a really good bloke and an excellent ambassador for the England team.
@ferguspateman: You know what, this man is a legend.
@shrimperjon: Got to love Gareth Southgate. Getting all the big decisions right, he is calm, not getting carried away and his record speaks for itself. Most importantly he has got our England playing as a TEAM on and off the pitch. That’s the key to success
@BenRoger91: It’s impossible to dislike this man
You could argue we are doing what we should be doing but I think Southgate has been England’s best manager for decades
— PR12 | tddefense (@christopher_kit) July 3, 2021