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'Something special is happening' - Former England stars react to Euro 2020 quarter-final win over Ukraine

22:40 BST 03/07/2021
Kane Shearer GFX
The Three Lions have reached the semi-final with a fifth consecutive clean sheet on Saturday

Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand are among the former England players to express their excitement at the 4-0 thrashing of Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-final on Saturday.

The group has watched with pride as the Three Lions have kept clean sheets in each of their five games while improving their attack as the tournament has progressed.

Shearer has said that "something special is happening" with Gareth Southgate's team, and the ex-players all lauded the mentality demonstrated by the current squad.

What has been said?

"Something special is happening," Shearer told BBC One. "We started the tournament slowly but we are improving with every game. My head is telling me to calm down but my heart is getting carried away.

"Really, really positive, well done Gareth and well done England!"

Lampard, meanwhile, said "now is the time for us [observers] to get excited about [the performance] and the time for them to keep their heads down and keep confident."

Ferdinand praised the way Southgate has used his abundant squad options.

"I am even more confident now," the former centre-back said. "Biggest compliment I can give this side is I have never ever seen a side so composed.

"All the players coming on are impacting the game in a positive way, the manager is utilising the squad. Everyone is justifying their selection. They are hard to play against."

England's attacking growth

During the group stage, the Three Lions were criticised for playing negative football despite their glut of available attackers. They produced 0.0 expected goals in the second half of a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic to close the round - a sign of their intention to kill games at any cost.

But England have now scored six goals in two knockout matches, first defeating Germany 2-0 and then dominating Ukraine.

Harry Kane scored twice on Saturday, while Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson also chipped in with second-half goals. Henderson's header marked his first goal for England.

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