Harry Maguire has praised the cross from his Manchester United team-mate Luke Shaw that set up his influential goal during England’s 4-0 quarter-final win over Ukraine at Euro 2020.
The Three Lions emerged for the second half holding a slender 1-0 lead and the game was seemingly in the balance, with Andriy Shevchenko’s team desperate to restore parity in Rome.
But then came a decisive goal that was made by United, after Shaw hit a stunning cross from the left wing that was powerfully headed in by the talismanic Maguire.
Shaw then provided another assist for two-goal hero Harry Kane before Jordan Henderson completed an impressive victory with his first international goal.
England can now look forward to a semi-final against Denmark at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday and Maguire had that occasion on his mind, during his post-match interview with the BBC…
What is your reaction to the win and this achievement? “It’s a great achievement but, I don’t want to be a party pooper, but we have another big game coming up and we want to go further this time than we did at the World Cup. Of course it’s a great feeling to win here and the way we have done it as well, it shows the big progress we are making as a country. Long may the improvement continue and we have another big game coming up.”
The confidence is there and you seem to be players who know you are capable of going all the way… “We have great belief in the dressing room. I think the first half was tough and we obviously got the early goal that we wanted. Then they caused us a few problems with their shape, they changed it a few times in the first half, but I think the second goal settled us down a lot and from then on we controlled the game really well. We got the third and fourth, and I think we deserved that on the night. It was an impressive performance in the end, but now we have got to rest and recover.”
Do you soak it all in, even though you have got Denmark coming up? “I think it is hard to soak it all in when you have got another big one coming up, when you know who you are playing and when you are playing them. I think the dressing room will have a great atmosphere tonight but then tomorrow morning when we wake up, we will be focused again because this group of players isn’t settling for a semi-final. We want to go further.”
The thud when the ball connected with your head was so loud! You gave it some real power… “I think we spoke before the game that we needed to be better at attacking set-plays. I don’t think we had scored one in the tournament but we have got two tonight, from myself and Jordan. It was a great ball from Luke, I got a good connection on it and I knew it was ending up in the back of the net when I got that connection from that distance. It is always nice to score a goal, but more importantly we got the victory.”