ROME: England will be on guard against surprise Euro 2020 quarter-finalists Ukraine in Rome on Saturday, while an increasingly confident Denmark hopes to continue their inspiring run against the Czech Republic.
After beating former German rivals in a knockout match for the first time since the 1966 World Cup final, England coach Gareth Southgate said victory would matter little if they lost to Ukraine .
The draw has opened wide for England, who will be favored to beat a side coached by former Ballon d’Or winner Andriy Shevchenko, and Southgate has urged his side to seize the chance.
“From the final whistle the other day the players were already talking about and preparing for the next game,” Southgate said, as England set to play their first game of the competition away from Wembley .
“They recognized that while they loved the experience of the last game, you are moving quickly through the tournaments and we are not where we want to be yet.
“It wasn’t too difficult to refocus people. The opportunity is there, the confidence is there. They can’t wait to take on the challenge. “
A more subdued atmosphere awaits you at Stadio Olimpico, where the number of English fans among the authorized capacity of 16,000 should be limited.
England supporters have been warned not to travel to the Italian capital for the game as Covid-19 restrictions mean even those with tickets cannot use them.
Italian health regulations require fans traveling from Britain to observe five days of quarantine and, as a result, they would miss the game.
Ukraine are trying to qualify for the last four of a major tournament for the first time since the break-up of the Soviet Union, having tied their race to the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup.
“We will do our best, try to surprise them. But we know that to overtake them we will have to play the best game of our life, ”said Ukrainian midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko, who will face several of his Manchester City team-mates.
DENMARK DOES IT FOR ERIKSEN
The winners play a semi-final at Wembley against Denmark or the Czech Republic, who meet in Baku exactly three weeks after Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in the Danes’ first game in the final.
Eriksen was released from hospital less than a week after his collapse after having a defibrillator implanted to regulate his heart rate, and without him, Kasper Hjulmand’s team rallied to reach the bottom eight.
“We will play with the heart of Christian Eriksen. He is still the heart of the team and with that heart and without fear we will try, ”said Hjulmand.
Denmark have scored four goals in successive matches against Russia and Wales and will dream of following in the footsteps of the side that won a shock European title in 1992.
Czech coach Jaroslav Silhavy called Denmark’s team spirit “immense power” and a key weapon.
Czech captain Vladimir Darida is set to return from injury after missing the 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the round of 16.
Italy and Spain will meet in the first semi-final on Tuesday at Wembley.
Lorenzo Insigne’s brilliant curling stroke secured a 2-1 win over Belgium as Italy extended their unbeaten domestic record to 32 games, and the Napoli forward said the Azzurri wanted to honor injured Leonardo Spinazzola going all the way.
Italian media report that Roma left-back Spinazzola will undergo testing in Rome on Saturday afternoon after lying on a stretcher at the Allianz Arena in Munich with an Achilles tendon injury.
The 28-year-old, who has played Italy’s last four Euro games, is expected to be out for several months, however.
“It’s a great loss for us. We are now trying to go very far – for him. He was so important to this team, ”said Insigne.
“We will try to do everything possible to reach the final for him.”
Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon saved two shots on goal in a 3-1 penalty shootout win over Switzerland at 10 after a 1-1 draw in St. Petersburg.
Denis Zakaria’s own own goal put Spain ahead from the start, but Xherdan Shaqiri equalized for Switzerland in the 68th minute, before Remo Freuler was sent off.
Simon saved from Fabian Schaer and Manuel Akanji in the shootout before Mikel Oyarzabal converted the winning kick after Ruben Vargas exploded. – AFP