England is going back home, with something to play for.
Harry Kane scored twice and England overwhelmed Ukraine 4-0 Saturday to reach the European Championship semifinals.
It was the only match of Euro 2020 that England had to play away from Wembley Stadium and it was the team’s most dominant performance of the tournament.
Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also scored as England kept a clean sheet for the fifth straight match.
England now goes back to London to face Denmark on Wednesday. The Danes beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in Baku.
Italy will face Spain in the other semifinal match on Tuesday, with the final next weekend also to be played at Wembley.
The last time England made it to the last four of the European Championship was in 1996. But the bigger goal at this point is to duplicate the success of the 1966 England team that won the World Cup on home soil.
Kane scored on England’s first opportunity in the fourth minute, using one touch to redirect a through ball from Raheem Sterling for his second goal in as many matches. The ball went in off the shoulder of goalkeeper Georgiy Bushchan inside the near post.
England also scored early in the second half after Kane was fouled about 10 seconds. A free kick from Luke Shaw set up a header from Maguire. Four minutes later, Kane got his second by heading in another cross from Shaw on a play that included a backheel pass from Sterling as England dazzled.
After failing to score in the group stage, Kane now has three goals in two matches after also scoring in the 2-0 win over Germany in the last 16.
🏴 England = semi-finalists 👏👏👏<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/EURO2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#EURO2020</a> | <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ENG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ENG</a> <a href=”https://t.co/lftDdElimL”>pic.twitter.com/lftDdElimL</a>
Kane won the Golden Boot with six goals the 2018 World Cup, when England also reached the semifinals. He exited to a standing ovation at the Stadio Olimpico when he came off midway through the second half.
Henderson’s goal — his first for England after a decade with the national team — also came with a header as Ukraine’s defenders had no answers to England’s aerial prowess.
Ukraine, which was coming off a 2-1 extra-time win over Sweden, had relied on occasional counterattacks in the first half and produced a series of chances just before the break. Otherwise, England was in control.
The Italian government had explicitly warned Britain-based England fans to stay away from the match unless they could prove they had observed five days of quarantine since arriving.
Still, there were clearly more England supporters than Ukraine fans inside the partially filled stadium. But a pocket of yellow-clad Ukraine fans made plenty of noise by banging on drums and chanting.
Because of the pandemic, the Olimpico could only be 25% full with about 16,000 fans.
Ukraine residents also faced restrictions for travel to Italy.
Denmark hold off Czech Republic
Denmark’s journey at the European Championship is headed to London.
The Danes, who have developed into a surprise contender after their tournament began with midfielder Christian Eriksen suffering cardiac arrest on the field, advanced to the Euro 2020 semifinals on Saturday by beating the Czech Republic 2-1.
Following the usual tributes to the recovering Eriksen from UEFA and fans — a giant No. 10 shirt laid out on the field and a “For Christ10an” banner in the stands — Denmark quickly took control against the Czechs on a hot and humid night in Azerbaijan.
Jens Stryger sent an outswinging corner in the fifth minute to Thomas Delaney, standing in space by the penalty spot. Delaney’s bouncing header went in past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik.
1st team ever to progress from EURO group stage after losing opening 2 games ✅<br><br>1st team in EURO finals history to score 4 goals in successive matches ✅<br><br>🇩🇰 Sum up this Denmark team in one word! 🥳<a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/EURO2020?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#EURO2020</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Kqo0h6K3Oq”>pic.twitter.com/Kqo0h6K3Oq</a>
Denmark doubled the lead just before halftime. Joakim Maehle hit a cross from the left using the outside of his right foot. The ball eluded Martin Braithwaite’s attempt at a header but Kasper Dolberg got past his marker and beat Vaclik in the 42nd.
‘We make history’
The place in the semifinals is the farthest Denmark has progressed at a major tournament since winning the European title in 1992. The team will face either England or Ukraine on Wednesday at Wembley Stadium.
“We make history that we achieved the semifinal now,” Stryger said. “It’s been many many years ago since Denmark was there. … We know Denmark is going crazy right now.”
Czech Republic forward Patrik Schick scored his fifth goal at the beginning of the second half, putting him even with Cristiano Ronaldo as the tournament’s leading scorers. Schick was given plenty of space by defender Jannik Vestergaard to hit a first-touch shot off Vladimir Coufal’s curled pass.
The Czechs pushed hard to level the score in a physical game which finished with Tomas Soucek and Jan Boril both with their heads wrapped in bandages after collisions with Danish players.
Eriksen, who had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator in that opening match, has been recovering at home.
The last of four Euro 2020 games played on the shores of the Caspian Sea in Baku took place in front of 16,300 fans, even though up to 31,000 would have been allowed under coronavirus pandemic regulations. Danish fans far outnumbered the few dozen from the Czech Republic.
The Danish players gathered in front of their travelling fans after the final whistle to celebrate. Delaney wore a Danish flag as a cape and placed a red and white wig on the head of grinning substitute Andreas Cornelius.
The Czech players sprawled on the grass.
“It’s a huge disappointment. We did the maximum to succeed but we were running out of steam toward the end and were unable to turn things around. It’s over for us, unfortunately,” Schick told Czech public TV. “As far as the goals, it was all good for me. But we all feel that we could have done better today. The Danes could have been beaten.”
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