'Good to come away from Wembley' says Southgate as England arrive in Rome ahead of Euro 2020 clash with Ukraine

ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent examines Southgate's plans for Saturday's match


England have arrived in Rome ahead of their Euro 2020 quarter-final clash against Ukraine at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night - their first away game of the tournament.

But Gareth Southgate has said being away from home is not a disadvantage, telling a pre-match press briefing: "It's good to come away from Wembley."

The Three Lions saw off old foes Germany to reach the last eight in front 40,000 fans, the biggest sporting crowd since the start of the pandemic.

The England boss said his squad had the "opportunity, the confidence, and the belief" ahead of their meeting with Ukraine.


'A different sort of a challenge is good for us,' says Southgate


"They're looking forward to the challenge. I think it's good to come away from Wembley now.

"It would have been hard to replicate the atmosphere we had the other day, three days later," he said.

"I think a different focus, different surroundings, a different sort of a challenge is good for us."


ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent looks ahead to England's clash with Ukraine

With the semi-finals and final back at Wembley, however, England will be aiming to keep progressing.

Southgate's side are yet to concede at Euro 2020, with Jordan Pickford in fine form between the posts in the victory over Germany.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford makes a save from Germany's Timo Werner. Credit: PA

Speaking alongside Southgate on Friday was Harry Maguire, who paid tribute to England's defensive line-up.

"It's not just the defence - it's a great goalkeeper behind us too. It's a big team effort, it's not just the defenders. But of course, it's nice as a central defender to keep clean sheets.

"But the main focus is winning football matches and at the moment we're doing that, so long may it continue."

Southgate opted for a three-man defence in the last-16 win - but may be tempted to revert back to a back four as he did throughout the group stage.


'It's a big team effort' says Maguire on England's Euros clean sheet


On the up front line-up, Southgate praised "a strong array of attacking talent" as he spoke to reporters.

"Raheem [Sterling] has been on fire," the England boss said - Sterling opened the scoring against Germany with his third goal of the tournament.

"His goals have made it a bit more difficult [for other players] to get onto that lefthand side that they favour.

"It's not an easy situation, but it's a strong situation for us as a team," Southgate said on choosing his attacking players.

England’s Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game against Germany on Tuesday Credit: Mike Egerton/PA

Ukraine will have to be at their best to breach what has proven to be an impenetrable backline so far this summer.

Andriy Shevchenko’s side reached the last eight with a 2-1 extra-time victory against Sweden.

In a pre-match press conference on Friday, Shevchenko was quizzed on whether playing away from home may impact England - and whether Europe would be siding with Ukraine or the Three Lions.


'I hope that such an attitude will turn into more fans supporting Ukraine'


"Ukraine deserves sympathy from the fans for how well they've played, how much they've tried at this tournament," the coach said.

"I hope that such an attitude will turn into more fans supporting Ukraine.

"But I'm more than sure than England have shown they play great football, and they also have a lot of fans. So at the stadium, we will see who will support whom better."

Italy’s Covid-19 restrictions mean that most England fans will struggle to get to the match, with quarantine measures in place.


The England squad flew from Birmingham Airport to Rome earlier on Friday


Those considering breaking the rules have already been warned they will be turned away from the stadium - even if they have a ticket.

Only a select few England fans - those living in Italy, or other European countries not required to quarantine upon arrival in Italy - will be able to watch the game in Rome.