Elusive Saka helps England past Ukraine, first win Italy

Elusive Saka helps England past Ukraine, first win Italy

NOS SoccerCustomized

Kane and Saka help England to EC qualification win over Ukraine

England also dealt with Ukraine in the European Championship qualifying series after a win over Italy. At Wembley, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka made the difference: 2-0.

Italy recorded its first win in this European Championship qualifying series later in the evening in Malta. Against the number 167 in the FIFA rankings, who had lost the last two meetings only 1-0, it became 2-0.

Matteo Retegui (header) and Matteo Pessina (nick) scored before halftime on behalf of Italy, which had been scared off by a chance from Alexander Satariano in the fifth minute.

In the stands at England’s match were thousands of Ukrainians, refugees after the Russian invasion more than a year ago. They had their own corner at Wembley, where they provided atmosphere with flags and chants.

More than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees descended on England.

Those thousands in the stands watched as their two compatriots with star status in the Premier League – Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Chelsea’s Mikhailo Mudryk – never got comfortable in the match.

Unstoppable Saka

That Ukraine played rather difficult soccer was also due to England’s good play. In midfield, Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice and the experienced Jordan Henderson were supreme. Up front, Saka was elusive.

In the first half hour, England’s dominance did not yield anything, but in the 36th minute it hit the mark. Saka cut out his opponent and laid the ball just right for Kane, who could easily tap in.

Kane had received a trophy with golden shoe shortly before the game, having become England’s all-time top scorer after his goal against Italy. So for his next goal (number 55), the Tottenham striker did not have to wait long.

Even before halftime, Saka, simply too quick and agile for the Ukrainian defense, made it 2-0. The Arsenal player turned away from his man and carelessly curled the ball into the cross.

With that, the match was played. In the second half, the English took it easy and Ukraine tried to limit the damage. The team succeeded, which was especially nice for their thousand compatriots in the corner of Wembley.

Kayleigh Williams