"I know what will be happening at home,” Gareth Southgate said in the aftermath of England’s 4-0 win over Ukraine in the quarter-finals of EURO 2020.
“It's lovely to see everyone on a Saturday night, beer in hand. They should enjoy it. It's been a long year for everyone.”
Grinning from ear to ear, the Three Lions boss had the look of a man floating on cloud nine after his side punched their ticket to the semi-finals of the European Championship.
And rightly so. In knockout matches at major tournaments, Southgate’s four wins in the England dugout are unmatched.
For the first time since the 1960s, the Three Lions have qualified for back-to-back major tournament semi-finals. Eight games have passed since England last conceded a goal. With that in mind, The Boar Sport’s report cards for England versus Ukraine are as follows.
Player of the Match:
Luke Shaw: Of all places, Luke Shaw put in a masterclass performance in Jose Mourinho’s new backyard. The Manchester United full-back was excellent versus Ukraine, contributing at both ends of the field.
Only two English players have provided three+ assists at a major tournament: David Beckham (EURO 2000) and Shaw (EURO 2020).
Southgate didn't start Shaw for England's opening game of the tournament, opting to play Kieran Trippier at left-back instead. Since then, however, the 25-year-old has established himself as a key player regardless of the system the Three Lions deploy.
To top off a fantastic performance, Shaw's dead-ball deliveries were perfect against Ukraine.
Harry Kane: And we have lift-off! After a string of sub-par performances by his lofty standards, Harry Kane burst back onto the scene with a brace against Ukraine.
Raheem Sterling: Troublingly, The Boar is running out of adjectives to describe Raheem Sterling's performances.
The Manchester City winger's assist for England's opener was simply delicious. After drawing the attention of FOUR defenders, Sterling threaded a delicate pass into the penalty area for Kane to fire into the net.
Put some respect on his name, Sterling has had a career tournament at EURO 2020.
Harry Maguire: You know a player is 'big time' when a BBC News at Ten journalist refers to them by nickname. Well, that is exactly what happened to Slab Head (aka, Harry Maguire) on Saturday evening.
Since returning from injury, the Manchester United centre back has been rock solid for the Three Lions. However, against Ukraine, Maguire also restored England's attacking threat from set-pieces by heading a Shaw cross beyond Heorhii Bushchan.
John Stones: A calming influence in possession, John Stones performed his role as Maguire's partner in defence perfectly.
Jadon Sancho: On the cusp of becoming a Manchester United player, Jadon Sancho was impressive during his first start of the European Championship.
Selected to play on the right due to his right-footedness, Sancho dictated the tempo of England's attack by playing quick give-and-goes during the transition.
Although it is unlikely that he will retain his place in the XI, he - and Southgate - will be pleased with Sancho's performance.
Mason Mount: Ending the first half with the most tackles of any English player, Mason Mount put in another solid performance in attacking midfield.
Credited with the assist for Jordan Henderson's second-half header, Mount is likely to retain his place in the line-up if Southgate sticks with his 4-2-3-1 for England's semi-final clash against Denmark.
Declan Rice: Since making his international debut for England in 2019, the Three Lions have conceded in just eight of the 28 games Declan Rice has appeared in.
Against Ukraine, he was dominant in midfield. Rice completed 90% of his passes, stung the palms of Ukraine's goalkeeper with a driven shot from range, and made four interceptions.
Kalvin Phillips: Another strong performance from the Leeds United midfielder. Kalvin Phillips' importance to England's press can be boiled down to two stats:
- 23 pressures
- 8.1km distance covered
A product of Marcelo Bielsa's coaching, Phillips is one of the most effective pressers in world football.
Jordan Henderson: Finally, Jordan Henderson has his first England goal - and what a header it was, too! Beyond that, the Liverpool midfielder dictated the play following his introduction after the break.
Kyle Walker: Despite gifting Roman Yaremchuk a chance to score in the first half, Kyle Walker had a decent evening in England's defence.
However, if the Three Lions stick with a back four against Denmark, a strong case could be made in favour of selecting Trippier to start.
If England line-up in a back five, Walker is sure to retain his place in the team.
Jordan Pickford: Rated highly in every report card until this point, Jordan Pickford wasn't at his best against Ukraine. Following a scuffed clearance in the second half, the Everton goalkeeper's confidence was shaken.
Pickford, though, remains on course for the Golden Glove. Thus, perspective is required.
Nothing to See:
Kieran Trippier, Marcus Rashford, Jude Bellingham, Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
With 'Three Lions' roared into the night across the nation, it is difficult not to feel giddy about England's prospects following their victory over Ukraine.
However, Kasper Hjulmand's Denmark are a much stronger side than Andriy Shevchenko's Ukraine.
In fact, Wednesday's semi-final versus Denmark will be more difficult than England's round of sixteen encounter with Germany.
The Danes are in fabulous form, are playing an impressive brand of football, and beat England last year.
A huge challenge awaits. Is this England side up to the task?
Time will tell.
England versus Denmark, Wednesday 7 July, 20:00, UEFA European Championship Semi-Final.