The build-up continues to the European Championship semi-finals after an unforgettable two nights of last-eight action.
After the euphoria of beating old rivals Germany in the last 16, Gareth Southgate’s Group D winners were impeccable at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night, with captain Harry Kane’s brace and further goals from Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson – his first senior England goal on his 62nd cap – earning a rousing 4-0 quarter-final victory over Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine.
Denmark will hope to spoil England’s hopes of reaching next Sunday night’s Wembley final after first-half goals from Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg were enough to see off the Czech Republic in Baku despite Patrik Schick’s fifth goal of the tournament after the interval.
Excellent goals from Nicolo Barella and Lorenzo Insigne saw the Azzurri – now unbeaten in 32 matches and winners of 13 straight – outlast Belgium 2-1 in Munich on Friday night, with Romelu Lukaku’s penalty not enough to spark a fightback from the world’s no1-ranked team.
Meanwhile, Spain held their nerve in a penalty shootout against 10-man Switzerland following a tense 1-1 draw in Saint Petersburg, with Mikel Oyarzabal netting the decisive spot-kick after three costly misses from the Swiss.
Follow all the latest Euro 2020 news, updates and semi-final build-up in our daily live blog below!
Czech captain Darida announces international retirement
Czech Republic captain Vladimir Darida has announced his retirement from international football following yesterday’s quarter-final defeat to Denmark.
The Hertha Berlin midfielder, 30, started all three of the Czechs’ Group D fixtures, but missed the last-16 upset of the Netherlands through injury and came on with 11 minutes to go in Baku last night.
However, he was unable to spark a late fightback and has now decided to step back from internationals after 76 caps (and eight goals) in order to spend more time with his family.
“I experienced beautiful moments in the national team,” Darida said in a statement on Sunday.
“Now, I’d like to spend much more time with my family and my young son.”
Gareth Southgate addressing his squad a little earlier today.
He will be desperate for England’s players to maintain their focus and try to keep as calm and level-headed as possible in the build-up to Wednesday’s semi-final showdown with Denmark at Wembley.
Thankfully, this group have repeatedly shown over recent weeks that they are capable of doing just that!
Oyarzabal: Spain are equal to Italy
Oyarzabal also insisted that Spain are not daunted by the task of facing an Italy team that have now won 13 straight matches, going unbeaten in their last 32 across all competitions – a national record.
Italy ended Spanish hopes of a third consecutive European Championship title in France five years ago, while they lost the Euro 2012 final 4-0 in Kiev and were also beaten by Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals at Euro 2008.
“They’re a top level team with players who keep performing at the highest level with their clubs but we’re not any less than them,” Oyarzabal said.
“We have to keep having full confidence in ourselves, the way we play and the ideas we have and focus on producing a big performance regardless of who we’re playing.”
Oyarzabal: Spain never doubted potential
Mikel Oyarzabal has played a key role for Spain of late, netting the winning penalty to down Switzerland in Saint Petersburg on Friday and also scoring in extra time in the last-16 thriller against Croatia.
And the Real Sociedad winger insists that La Roja have always believed in their potential to go all the way at this tournament, despite the criticism aimed at Luis Enrique’s side after back-to-back Group E draws against Sweden and Poland to open proceedings.
“From the first day we were confident that we were a solid group, a united group and that we were good enough and we’ve proved that,” Oyarzabal told reporters.
“People are free to say what they like, that’s part of football but we never had any doubts at any moment, we always believed in ourselves and we trust in ourselves for what is to come.”
Southgate: Shaw has improved in every game
Luke Shaw has rightly been receiving a whole host of praise following his excellent, two-assist performance for England in Rome last night, with comparisons to Zinedine Zidane and Roberto Carlos!
Here’s Gareth Southgate discussing the Manchester United left-back, who has made huge improvements over the last 12 months to become one of the first names on the teamsheet for both club and country…
“Yeah, I feel as if his performances have really improved every game,” Southgate said. “It’s understandable. It was a long time that he wasn’t with us.
“In March was his first games for us in a few years. You often play in those games trying not to make mistakes rather than really going and flourishing. I think he feels comfortable in the environment now.
“He knows how we want to play and he knows he fits in with that. The delivery was great and yes, we were really pleased. We’ve talked a lot this week about set-play goals, we’ve put more emphasis on it again.
“It looked like we’d be dangerous in training yesterday and very often that transfers into the game and that’s what happened.”
Italy boss Roberto Mancini feels the tournament will only get more difficult as it goes on, despite his side already knocking out the world’s No1 ranked team.
The Azzurri beat Belgium 2-1 to secure their place in the last four and will face Spain at Wembley on Tuesday.
“We scored two [against Belgium] and we could have scored more,” said Mancini.
“I think the victory was fully deserved. Spain are next, but the more you progress, the more difficult it becomes.”
Spinazzola out for a few months
Italy defender Leonardo Spinazzola will be out of action “for a few months” after suffering a serious injury in their Euro 2020 quarter-final win over Belgium on Friday, his club AS Roma’s new manager Jose Mourinho has said.
Italian media reports said full back Spinazzola, who has been fundamental to Italy’s impressive charge to the last four, sustained a suspected ruptured Achilles tendon injury in their 2-1 win in Munich and would miss the remainder of the Euros.
Spinazzola, 28, was pictured in tears on a stretcher as he left the field to be replaced by Emerson Palmieri, who is set to take his spot for Tuesday’s semi-final against Spain at Wembley.
“We all feel sorry about the loss of Spinazzola for a few months, but that’s football and we have to be ready to start the next week,” Mourinho said on Instagram during Roma’s pre-season preparations.
“We have to win”
Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon will settle for nothing less than victory having reached the last four of Euro 2020.
“We have to go into the semi-final fresh, confident and with our heads high,” he said. “We have to win the Euro now.”
Doing the double
Chelsea have strong contingent in the last four of Euro 2020.
With the Blues having won the Champions League last season, who from their squad could claim a rather memorable double this summer?
Denmark: Andreas Christensen
England: Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Mason Mount
Spain: César Azpilicueta
Kane can fire England to the final
Harry Kane has well and truly got his tournament up and running with three goals in the last two games.
The England captain struggled in his early performances but put in his best yet against Ukraine last night, scoring twice.
And former England man Chris Waddle has backed him to fire England to the final.
Waddle told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I think they’ll get chances – they’ve proved that in every game they’ve played, Denmark, they’ve had a lot of chances. Whether they take them or not is a different thing. That’s what it’s all about on the night.
“I think England will create chances. England are very strong at set-pieces, but saying that, Denmark are. It’s a good match-up.
“There’s never a lot between England and Denmark. They’re both strong, physical, willing runners, defenders are big, strong, again set-pieces.
“When you look at the teams and you match them up, the difference may be – and he’s hit form now, for me – the difference on the night could be Harry Kane.”