England train ahead of Ukraine clash
When you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. Our Privacy Notice explains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.
England boss Gareth Southgate could be facing a selection headache for the semi-finals of Euro 2020 if the Three Lions manage to beat Ukraine on Saturday evening, with a quartet of players at risk of being suspended for any potential last four clash. Southgate’s side will go into battle with their unfancied quarter-final opponents in Rome with high hopes of progressing to their second major tournament semi-final in three years.
England made it to the knockout stages as Group D winners with two wins and a draw from their opening three matches, before booking a place in the competition’s last eight with a historic win over traditional foes Germany on Tuesday afternoon.
Raheem Sterling gave his side the lead with his third goal of the tournament, with Harry Kane sealing the result late on to send the one-time World Cup winners to Rome.
They will be hoping to continue their winning form against Ukraine, who scraped past Sweden in the final minute of extra-time in their first knockout stage match.
Although reaching the last four of the Euros will be Southgate’s primary goal on Saturday evening, he will also be wary of the four players in his squad currently sitting on yellow cards.
Harry Maguire, Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and Phil Foden have all picked up bookings since the beginning of the tournament, meaning that further cautions against Ukraine would see them ruled out of the semi-finals if England manage to progress.
JUST IN: Ukraine must play ‘best games of our lives’ vs England – Zinchenko
The former trio were all carded during the win over Germany at Wembley Stadium, while the latter was booked as the Three Lions saw off the challenge of Croatia in their opening group stage match.
Foden was left out for Tuesday’s win over Germany as a result of his precarious situation, with Southgate admitting prior to the match that he was not prepared to gamble with the Manchester City star.
UEFA rules state that yellow cards from the beginning of the tournament up to the quarter-finals will expire for the semi-finals and final.
However, it remains to be seen whether Southgate will opt to rest any of the players at risk in Rome in order to go into a potential last four clash with a full house at his disposal.
The England boss suggested earlier this week that he would resist the temptation to field a weakened team, explaining that to do so would not be in his side’s best interests as they chase a maiden Euros triumph.
“I understand the strategy of thinking that through, but I don’t think there is a team in the world who would do that at this point,” the England boss told reporters.
“I have never seen it happen and it is not in our thinking. It would be a bad message for our players and it would be the wrong message for Ukraine.
“I don’t think we can fiddle around. It would be just about thinking about the future and we should not be thinking about the future at this moment.
“We have been to three semi-finals in 60 years. The thought that we can be resting players to get through a semi-final, I can’t think of a nation that would do that. I don’t remember a nation doing that.
“It was different in the group phase when we had qualified and knew what we were dealing with. We could strategically do that.”
England are yet to concede a single goal at the Euros and Southgate will be hoping to keep things tight at the back once again in the Italian capital against Ukraine.
Reports have suggested that the Three Lions will revert to a back four after matching Germany’s 3-4-3 system on Tuesday.
Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka is a doubt for Saturday’s quarter-final clash after picking up a knock in training during the week, which is said to have opened the door for Jadon Sancho to start his first game of the tournament on the right flank.
Source: Read Full Article