Euro Football

England must keep their ‘edge’ against Ukraine, says Southgate

England boss Gareth Southgate insists his team must keep their ‘edge’ when they face Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.

The Three Lions reached the quarter-finals of the Euros with a memorable 2-0 victory over Germany.

Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane were the goalscorers at Wembley, while keeper Jordan Pickford put in another impressive display.


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Speaking about the response to the win, Southgate said: “There are some people who I have got huge respect for and I’ve had some nice messages from a couple of former internationals and people I hold in really high regard.

“The job is to create a team that the nation can relate to and create memories that last forever and we did that against Germany, the opening game was a great occasion against Croatia.

“The Scotland game is always a big occasion and I know the game didn’t fulfil what we would have hoped but it was a crucial part to us qualifying.

“Now we’ve got a quarter-final which, again we’ve only been to one semi-final since the European Championship was in a tournament format, so a fantastic challenge for us again.

“But it’s Saturday now for us, the messages are great, the congratulations are great but they’re also dangerous because it can take an edge from you and we’ve got to get that edge in our feeling now to get back into performance state.”

Andriy Shevchenko’s side should not be underestimated as they have top players including Oleksandr Zinchenko and Roman Yaremchuk.

They reached the quarters with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden on Tuesday.

Southgate continued: “We have watched Ukraine over [the] last year or so now but of course not as many of their players are playing in the Bundesliga or Premier League, although a couple of them are.

“Then there is this perception that now all we’ve got to do is turn up and we’re on our way.

“So we are just very clear, [we need] total focus on Saturday. We need to prepare for the game in the right way and the mentality is critical.”

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