Soccer-England could reach Euro final, but we must improve - Shevchenko

·2-min read
Euro 2020 - Quarter Final - Ukraine v England

ROME (Reuters) - Ukraine boss Andriy Shevchenko tipped England as likely Euro 2020 finalists following his side's 4-0 quarter-final loss and said that his nation would have to improve their pool of players if they are to compete on the game's biggest stages.

The former Ukraine striker, who spent much of his career playing for AC Milan in Italy before joining English Premier League side Chelsea, said he was not too disappointed with his team's performance, despite the drubbing.

"The English team is really strong, individually and as a team as well, they have a great coach (Gareth Southgate) and they reached the semi-finals, and I can see that this team can make it to the final," he told reporters.

"We did not deny our principles, we had good parts of the game, but there are sometimes - set pieces, for example - today we didn't work very well at them."

Shevchenko's team were undone by a Harry Kane double and two headers from set pieces by Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, who netted his first international goal. England will face Denmark in the semi-finals at Wembley on Wednesday.

Ukraine defender Oleksandr Karavaev added: "We made a lot of mistakes, especially from set-pieces. Conceding at the beginning of both halves was especially hard to take. That was a big psychological blow because we were well-prepared for the game."

Four goals up just after the hour mark, England took their foot off the gas as they closed out the game.

"England played very pragmatically today, they used their strong sides, they exploited our mistakes they played very well, at a top level. They controlled the game," Shevchenko said.

The England team boast a host of household names, while Shevchenko's squad was mostly drawn from the Ukrainian top flight, rather than the leading five leagues in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

"Until we have a domestic championship at a good level, we will get to this level less often," the 44-year-old added.

"In order to be able to compete with such players, you need to have players who play in the top five leagues."

Shevchenko said that he and his staff would now take stock before deciding what to do next.

"We're going to go back to Kiev, we'll summarise everything and report on what we have achieved. The federation will have to make a decision (about our futures), there is time to do it, no-one is in a rush," he added.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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