England take on Ukraine at the Stadio Olympico in Rome to determine the final spot in the Euro 2020 semifinals. The Three Lions have yet to concede a goal in the competition, but their attacking output has been, perhaps, a bit less than what could reasonably be expected given the wealth of attacking talent available to Gareth Southgate. Ukraine have been a surprise, far exceeding manager Andriy Shevchenko’s stated goal of advancing out of the group stage.
The Three Lions may be without Arsenal man Bukayo Saka, who picked up a slight knock in training during the week. It’s said to be nothing serious, but it might keep him out of action today. Jadon Sancho, whose imminent transfer to Manchester United was confirmed this week, is expected to start in his place. It’s amusing that Sancho, who many speculated was not playing because of a comparative lack of familiarity due to playing in Germany, is set to start days after his coming move to England was confirmed — it’s not the reason he’s now in the lineup, just a funny coincidence.
Gareth Southgate will also have to decide whether to start Jack Grealish, who has been a live wire as a late sub. Grealish may be the missing piece that completes the attack. I think England’s attacking struggles are more down to Harry Kane not being the player he was when healthy during the Premier League season. Whether he’s carrying a slight knock or is understandably worn out from a congested season and a lot of minutes, he’s not looked right at the Euros yet.
On the other side of the pitch, Ukraine will be without forward Artem Besedin, who was injured when Marcus Danielson of Sweden earned a straight red card for clattering into him. I think for Ukraine to have much of a shot Manchester City man Oleksandr Zinchenko will have to put in a blinder, as he goes, so does Ukraine.
My money is on England to advance to the semifinal at Wembley rather comfortably. Of course, that suggests it’ll be anything but comfortable.
England - Pickford, Walker, Shaw, Rice, Stones, McGuire, Kane, Sterling, Phillips, Sancho, Mount
Ukraine - Bushchan, Kryvtsov, Sydorchuk, Yarmolenko, Yaremchuk, Shaparenko, Zabarnyi, Mykolenko, Zinchenko, Karavaev, Matviyenko
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