Two games from glory: Gareth Southgate and England fans dare to dream

ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia speaks to the chairman of Harry Kane's former youth club as she looks at how fans have reacted to England's victory

Gareth Southgate's England side have fans dreaming of glory with just two games between them and glory.

Saturday night's 4-0 drubbing of Ukraine has set up a semi-final clash with Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday - with the prospect of the Three Lions walking out in front of 60,000 fans.

Captain Harry Kane and Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire delighted fans with goals in their team’s quarter-final showdown with Ukraine in Rome on Saturday.

And it was Jordan Henderson who took the scoreline to a hefty 4-0 as the nation begins to look ahead to that semi-final date with destiny.

The game was the most-watched live TV event of 2021, the BBC has said.

The network said it pulled in a peak audience of 20.9million and 81.8 per cent of all available viewers, with an average audience of 19.8 million.

Coverage of the semi-final against Denmark on Wednesday flips back to ITV.

Southgate became just the second man to progress through to the last four in both the World Cup and European Championship, joining 1966 World Cup winner Sir Alf Ramsey in the achievement.

Fans in Trafalgar Square, London, celebrate as England beat Ukraine 4-0 Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

“When I look at the people who are in that list of England managers, Sir Bobby (Robson) and Sir Alf (Ramsey), so many of the managers who have gone before, it is an absolute honour to be in that sort of company,” he said.

“I know how high I hold them in esteem and it is lovely to be able to get the results that are putting our country back on the football map again, really.

“Teams have to go on a bit of a journey and they have to go through some pain sometimes to be able to progress.

“We’ve had some great nights over the last four years, but we’ve also had some painful nights and we’ve learned from all of those experiences and that’s definitely helped us prepare for another tournament and prepare for the individual games.

“We didn’t want to take a backward step, we wanted to really grasp the opportunity rather than hope that we might win or, you know, let fate have a chance to play its part. And I thought the players were decisive and ruthless all night.”

Gareth Southgate revelled in England's win. Credit: PA

Fans who dared to dream that Gareth Southgate’s men will continue on the path to glory were given an early boost when Kane hit the back of the net just minutes into the match.

Jubilant fans in London’s Trafalgar Square jumped up and screamed with delight, throwing their cups of beer into the air and hugging each other in celebration.

By the final whistle, England were cruising. The Duke of Cambridge was among those expressing excitement for what lies ahead, with a post on Twitter saying: “Another top team performance and clean sheet from @England tonight. #ThreeLions. Well played to Ukraine. Can’t wait for Wednesdays semi final!”

The tweet was signed off with the letter “W”.

The win against Germany, in particular, had the nation backing Southgate and his players to deliver and the England boss was pleased to do his bit.

“I’m conscious it is not just our country that has been through so much difficulty,” he added.

“But we’ve also had a lot of division for a little while and I know that these England nights are nights that bring everybody together.

“And so to give them so much enjoyment, over the last two matches in particular but I think the ones before as well, and to have them with hope looking forward now is part of the privilege of being in the job.”

As England fans at home and abroad chant 'it's coming home', Gareth Southgate talks about why these are 'special moments'

Fans were urged not to travel as Italy remains on the UK’s amber list, but support for Gareth Southgate’s men remained high regardless of pandemic restraints.

Pictures showed England fans posing in front of the Colosseum ahead of the game, with some living outside the UK managing to get tickets.

In London, people gathered in the fan zone in Trafalgar Square on what they hoped would be a night to remember for all the right reasons.

Fans in Manchester celebrate Credit: Martin Rickett/PA

Fans sang Hey Baby by DJ Otzi and dozens of men ripped off their shirts, swirling them around their heads after England scored the fourth goal.

One supporter, Marc Ghossein, told PA: “It’s an amazing feeling. We have been waiting for this for 25 years now. We’re almost at the semi-final, it’s coming home. England is going to win this year.

His friend Ellie Mhanna added: “England is going to win this year’s Euros for sure. They’ve been consistent and they deserve it.”

One woman, whose boyfriend had celebrated the win with the crowd, told PA: “He’s taken off his shirt now, there’s nothing I can do.”

England walk on the pitch before the match Credit: Marco Iacobucci/PA

Supporters in Leicester Square were singing and chanting “it’s coming home”.

Trevor Harris, 40, from Watford,told PA: “It’s coming home. You can hear everyone chanting it. England is England and it’s about time we actually started playing.”

Keira Starr, 19, added: “I thought we’d lose, but now I actually think we’ll be in the final.”

The victory sees the men’s team reach their first European Championship semi-final for 25 years.

England’s Lionesses reached the Euros semi-final in 2017, but were knocked out after being beaten 3-0 by the Netherlands.

Southgate’s squad, meanwhile, reached the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018.