ENGLAND will play Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals after they snatched a dramatic last-gasp extra-time winner against Sweden.
Artem Dovbyk broke Swedish hearts just seconds before penalties by powering in a sensational header to set up a clash with the Three Lions in Rome on Saturday.
Artem Dovbyk made no mistake from close range in added time of extra-timeCredit: Reuters
Artem Dovbyk scored a dramatic last-gasp winnerCredit: Getty
Man City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko opened the scoring with a cracking effortCredit: Getty
The game looked destined to go to penalties before Oleksandr Zinchenko’s brilliant delivery was met by Dovbyk.
Andriy Shevchenko’s Ukraine have now reached the last eight for the first time in their history.
Zinchenko’s opener for Ukraine and Emil Forsberg’s leveller for the Swedes ensured their tactical battle of an encounter stretched into extra time.
At least it gave England boss Gareth Southgate plenty of time to spend analysing Ukraine who – on occasion – can be extremely effective.
And an extra 30 minutes in their legs will do England’s chances no harm at all.
Despite playing with four at the back for all three of their group stage games, Ukraine decided to switch to a three at the back to provide extra cover.
After all, of the teams to reach the last 16, no side have faced more shots on target than Ukraine with 16.
For a young manager like Shevchenko it showed he has the tactical bravery to switch it up in big games.
Sweden stuck with their rigid but tried and tested 4-4-2 that saw them top a group that included Spain.
Ukraine opened the scoring on 27 minutesCredit: Getty
Sweden star Emil Forsberg rifled his country levelCredit: Reuters
Forsberg scored his fourth goal of the tournamentCredit: AP
That space down the right for Ukraine was gladly used by Andriy Yarmolenko as he drifted in and out of dangerous positions in the early stages of the first half.
In the 10th minute his pull-back in the box for an unmarked Roman Yaremchuk forced Robin Olsen into a smart stop down to his right.
But then we saw the benefits of Forsberg’s positioning and his licence to stay forward and roam as he began to find space himself drifting infield.
Another Swede with attacking freedom is Alexander Isak, whose give and go with Dejan Kulusevski resulted in a fine curling effort that just grazed the far post.
But Sweden were failing to learn their lessons with Yarmolenko, and they were punished in the 27th minute with a goal Southgate’s side would have been proud to conjure up.
Mykola Shaparenko’s inch-perfect cross-field switch picked out Yarmolenko unmarked on the edge of the box before the West Ham creator found Zinchenko with the outside of his boot.
The Manchester City wing-back struck it first time with the sweetest of hits – powerful enough to force its way through the hands of Olsen.
His celebration said it all, running over to Shevchenko with his finger pursed to his lips, as he became the youngest ever scorer for Ukraine at the Euros.
Emil Forsberg hit the woodwork twice in the second halfCredit: PA
Sweden were reduced to ten men when Marcus Danielson was sent off in extra-time for this challengeCredit: AFP
Sweden responded just before the break from the man they turn to in times of trouble.
Drifting inside once more, collecting a ball off Isak from 25 yards, Forsberg let rip and his deflected effort left Heorhiy Bushchan rooted as the ball bulged the net.
His fourth goal at the Euros means his surprise contention for the Euros Golden Boot continues, and his fifth in his last five games in all competitions for his country.
Remarkably, he had recently gone 11 games without a goal. Those days are long gone.
Sweden pressed their advantage in the second half, but amazingly refused to man-mark Ukraine’s only real creative threat in Yarmolenko.
Once again in the 55th minute he was found free and allowed to drive into the box as he teed up Serhiy Sydorchuk to smack the post with a curling effort.
But Ukraine were being penned back, and it was Sweden’s turn to tease their own fans with the lead by smacking the upright.
Breaking on the counter, Forsberg cut inside to hit the base of the post, and then moments later in a replicated move he thumped the crossbar.
Sandwiched in between that was a was a wasted effort from Isak as his first-time connection with Albin Ekdal’s ball over the top was fluffed.
Bushchan was then forced into his first real save of the half after being saved by his posts – tipping over a fired effort from Kulusevski.
The game headed to extra-time and was looking like a stalemate before momentum shifted hen Sweden defender Marcus Danielson was sent off in the 98th minute.
He had initially won the ball but his follow through clattered Artem Besedin and he was off after a VAR review.
It still looked to be heading to a shootout, but one final attack saw Dovbyk dramatically steal the headlines late on and set up a meeting with the Three Lions.
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