The Three Lions matched both personal and international feats in their commanding rout at Stadio Olimpico, in another superb knockout performance
England set new compeittion and individual records with their Euro 2020 quarter-final clean sheet against Ukraine on Saturday evening, as Gareth Southgate’s side secured consecutive semi-finals at major tournaments for the first time in half a century.
The Three Lions made both personal and international history in their rout at Stadio Olimpico, as Harry Kane snatched a double and Jordan Henderson finally scored his first senior goal for his country on what was his 62nd cap in the 4-0 triumph.
Harry Maguire provided another famous last-eight finish to add to the one he netted against Sweden at Russia 2018 three years ago, but it was another watertight performance at the back from Jordan Pickford and co that ensured they wrote new history in Rome.
What have England achieved?
The Everton goalkeeper – ably protected by Manchester City pair John Stones and Kyle Walker alongside Manchester United duo Maguire and Luke Shaw – rose to the handful of testing opportunities created by Ukraine.
In doing so, it ensured that England remain the only side at Euro 2020 yet to concede a goal, having kept clean sheets in all of their Group D games with Croatia, Scotland and Czech Republic, plus their last-16 defeat of Germany.
That run of five consecutive games means that the Three Lions have set a new record in European Championship history for the most consecutive games since the start of the tournament without conceding even once.
In addition, it stretches their overall individual record to seven games without slipping up at the back, having also held clean sheets in their two warm-up friendlies against Austria and Romania at Middlesbrough.
7 – England have kept seven consecutive clean sheets for the first time in their history, with the Three Lions run without conceding currently standing at 662 minutes. Resolute. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/sywVfgQMnI
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 3, 2021
Southgate’s faith pays dividends
The sheer strength of England’s attacking options at Euro 2020 has remained a bone of contention among certain factions of Three Lions supporters, who have often accused their manager of being overly cautious.
In securing consecutive semi-final spots at major tournaments following his exploits at Russia 2018 – not to mention a bronze-medal finish in 2019 at the Nations League – he has become only the second England manager to achieve the last four at both the World Cup and European Championships, following Alf Ramsey.
2 – Gareth Southgate will be just the second manager to take charge of England in the semi-final of both the World Cup and the European Championship, after Alf Ramsey in 1966 and 1968. Lion. #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/PuVqM6RDir
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 3, 2021
The bigger picture
While their fans will likely continue to celebrate their continued revival as genuine contenders in major competition following this weekend’s result, Southgate and his side will have their eyes firmly fixed on ensuring they do not fall short in their shot for a first major final since 1966.
They return home to Wembley – where they have played all of their Euro 2020 games, bar their quarter-final – and the prospect of a clash with Denmark.
If the Three Lions are able to break their last four hoodoo – they have lost their last quartet of appearances at this stage of a major tournament, in 1968, 1990, 1996 and 2018 – they will book another clash in north London for the final, against either Spain or Italy.