Euro Qualifiers: England Win Against Ukraine
Hannah reports on the England v Ukraine European Qualifier from this international break.
England managed to secure their second win of their Euro 2024 Qualifiers with a 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley Stadium.
Kane managed to add a 55th goal to his goalscoring tally for England yesterday after he found the back of the net after connecting with a Bukayo Saka cross at the far post to give England the lead.
Fans were able to show their appreciation for England captain Harry Kane, after he became the nations all-time record goalscorer in their 2-1 win over Italy in Naples in their opening qualifier.
After leading the team out, Kane was awarded a golden boot on the pitch ahead of kick off alongside his family, to recognise his monumental achievement for the country.
Eight minutes before half-time, Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka doubled the home side’s lead after a simply sumptuous strike which put England firmly in control at the break.
England manager Gareth Southgate will be pleased with the way in which Ukraine’s potential threat was nullified in the second half with Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukrainian side not managing to have one single shot on target throughout the match.
Leicester City midfielder James Maddison impressed on his first full England debut, and Brentford’s Ivan Toney also managed to make his debut, coming on for a short ten-minute spell to finish off the game.
Southgate will be pleased with the manner in which his side have played in spells both in Naples and Wembley, especially the dominant first-half performance against Italy.
Ukraine did not pose a serious attacking problem for England’s back line or goalkeeper Jordan Pickford but despite this lack lustre performance by Ukraine, this match symbolised much more than just a football match.
Amongst the 83,947 crowd, 1,000 tickets were given by the FA to Ukrainian refugees who fled their country after the Russian invasion and tickets were also provided for the families who are housing them.
In the context of what is going on in Ukraine, it is hugely significant that the country and its players are able to field a team and compete in these European Qualifiers.
With travel out of a war-zone obviously restricted, for some of the Ukrainian squad members who play in the country, it was a long, hard journey to London.
Right-back Oleksandr Karavayev alongside three of his Dynamo Kyiv teammates began the trip last Sunday evening boarding a 12-hour overnight train from the Kyiv before enduring a 50-mile bus journey to reach the Polish city of Rzeszow where they rendezvoused with their teammates from Shakhtar Donetsk and SC Dnipro-1 before flying to London.
Ukraine and England both face North Macedonia and Malta next in mid June in a group where England firm favourites to top the group.
England’s two performances in this international break have by no means been perfect however they have laid down solid foundations for progression.
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