Game, set-piece, match
England made Ukraine pay from set-pieces on Saturday night but it was all part of the plan according to goalscorer Harry Maguire.
The centre-back met Luke Shaw’s free-kick perfectly to double the Three Lions lead just after half time at the Stadio Olimpico and put his stamp on a fine 4-0 quarter-final victory.
Much like he did against Sweden at the World Cup three years ago, Maguire made no mistake in front of goal whilst simultaneously marshalling a tight back line which is still yet to concede at the tournament.
A double from skipper Harry Kane and a first-ever international goal from Jordan Henderson made sure of the victory in Rome and sent Gareth Southgate’s side sailing through to another semi-final.
“We spoke before the game about being better at attacking set-plays and we’ve got two tonight from myself and Jordan.
“It was a great ball from Luke, I got a great connection on it and it was always ending up in the back of the net when I got that connection from that distance.
“It’s nice to chip in with a goal but the victory is more important.”
Not only has Southgate instilled a togetherness within the squad, but there’s an obvious winning mentality which means the wins against Germany and Ukraine will count for nothing unless backed up by progress to the final.
“Of course it’s a great feeling to win here and the way we’ve done it shows the progress we are making as a country and long may it continue. But we have another big one coming up.
“We have great belief in the dressing room. The first half was tough, we got the early goal we wanted, but they caused us a few problems by changing their shape a few times in the first half.
“The second goal settled us down a lot and from then on, we controlled the game really well and got the third and fourth, which I think we deserved in the end.
“There’ll be a great atmosphere in the dressing room tonight but tomorrow morning we’ll wake up and be focused again. This group aren’t settling for a semi-final, we want to go further.”
“It’s hard to soak it in when, like I say, we have another big one coming up and you know who you’re playing and when you’re playing them.