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Friday, January 21, 2022

Kane carries England into Euro semi-finals

Captain Harry Kane scored twice as England swept past Ukraine 4-0 to book a European Championship semi-final date with sentimental favourites Denmark.

It was the only match 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 face Denmark on Wednesday after the Danes beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in Baku earlier.

Italy will face Spain in the other semi-final 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 who won the World Cup on home soil.

“I’ve said it all along it’s all about peaking for the right time,” Kane said. “We are on the right track.”

“To perform like we did was top-drawer – another clean sheet, four goals, it was the perfect night for us.

“We don’t get carried away…we’ve got to keep working hard and recover well.

“We haven’t done nothing yet. We’ve got a semi-final at Wembley. … What a moment for us as a team, as a nation. It’s there for us, it’s an opportunity for us. We have to grab it with both hands.”

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. 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.

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.

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.

Kane won the Golden Boot with six goals at the 2018 World Cup, when England also reached the semi-finals.

 He exited to a standing ovation at the Stadio Olimpico when he came off midway through the second half.

AAP

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