Bukayo Saka scores a screamer as England comfortably beats Ukraine
On a charged afternoon in north London, England cruised to a 2-0 victory over Ukraine at Wembley on Sunday, maintaining their strong start to the Euro 2024 qualification process.
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine received a lot of attention during the build-up, and the Ukrainian players were rightly praised for competing despite the atrocities occurring in their home country.
After a stirring performance of the Ukrainian anthem, the two teams stood for a picture with a flag of Ukraine with the word “PEACE” written on it.
The game had a friendly atmosphere between the two teams and for a significant portion of it, England was mostly trouble-free but wasn’t in a rush to cause trouble for their opponents either.
Late in the first half, two goals in two minutes—Harry Kane’s 55th international goal and Bukayo Saka’s gorgeous curling effort from the fringe of the penalty area—made the difference.
While James Maddison showed flashes in his first England start, looking good but somewhat limited in what he could rustle up in what was generally an efficient but rather understated display from the team, Saka had a very good game, continuing his excellent form this season.
Gareth Southgate, who makes it two victories from two following the memorable three points in Italy to open the qualification campaign, will appreciate a comfortable victory.
Early in the contest, there wasn’t much action, and there wasn’t much momentum or pace. It didn’t feel much like a competitive game. England was in charge and not under any risk, but they weren’t doing much either.
As he frequently does, Kane posed the biggest danger. He had a penalty appeal denied within the first 10 minutes and missed a few early opportunities, including one that was slightly more than a half chance when he mishandled a volley 26 minutes in.
But he was never going to turn down too many, and on minute 37, the skipper skillfully began and completed a move to break the tie.
The Arsenal player crossed the ball, and the Tottenham star dove deep to get on the end of it, making it look so simple. Saka received the pass from Saka on the right side.
Two minutes later, the score was 2-0 as the first goal’s creator demonstrated how dangerous he is from the right side with both crosses and goal-scoring attempts.
Saka received the ball more than 20 yards away with his back to the goal, skipped past his defender, and curled a beautiful effort from the perimeter of the box into the far top corner.