Shevchenko wary of fired-up England
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Ukraine manager Andriy Shevchenko says his team face an ‘incredibly difficult’ Euro 2020 quarter-final clash against England after both sides produced the goods on Tuesday evening to reach the last eight.
England and Ukraine will do battle in Rome on Saturday evening for a place in the semi-finals after victories over Germany and Sweden, respectively.
The Three Lions scored two second-half goals to end a 55-year wait for a knockout tie victory over Germany, with 40,000 fans cheering them on at Wembley.
Raheem Sterling scored his third goal of the tournament to open the scoring before Harry Kane opened his account to seal the deal. England had Jordan Pickford to thank for two crucial saves, while Thomas Muller missed a glorious chance to pull his team level.
England are now the favourites to win the tournament, but they will have to get past Ukraine in the Italian capital before they can start to dream of a place in the final four.
Shevchenko’s men were heading for penalties in Glasgow, but Artem Dovbyk stooped to head home with seconds remaining in extra time.
Ukraine had opened the scoring through Manchester City left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, only for his effort to be cancelled out by Emil Forsberg. Both sides hit the post before the end of 90 minutes, with Forsberg hitting the woodwork on two occasions before the game went into extra-time at Hampden Park.
The game was turned on its head when Sweden centre-back Marcus Danielson was sent off for a strong challenge on forward Artem Besedin, with the latter only on the field for 10 minutes.
His replacement, Dovbyk, made an immediate impact as he fired home the winner and Ukraine made history as they reached the quarter-finals of the European Championship for the first time.
While the likes of Ukraine, Denmark and the Czech Republic have all performed above expectations, Shevchenko insists his team will need to find another level in order to win at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Saturday evening.
He told reporters: “England are a great team, they have a deep bench, an outstanding coaching staff, and we are fully aware how tough this game is going to be.
“I saw all their three group matches, not today’s win over Germany because we had to prepare for our own game with Sweden. They are incredibly difficult to score against, but their strength shouldn’t scare us.
“It should motivate us because everything is possible in football as in life and we will play our hearts out to give our fans even more to cheer about.”
Gareth Southgate’s side have now kept a clean sheet in their previous six matches, and they are now unbeaten in ten in all competitions.
Ukraine qualified for the knockout stages as one of the best third-placed teams, and they needed results to go their way after defeats to the Netherlands and Austria.