England squad fly to Rome today ahead of Euro 2020 quarter-final against Ukraine

·4-min read

The England team will fly out to Rome later today, as they step up preparations for the quarter-final tie against Ukraine on Saturday.

This will be the squad's first experience of the tournament on foreign soil, having played their previous four Euro 2020 games at Wembley.

The team has so far been backed by a vocal and raucous crowd, which has seen England win three games and draw one on the way to the last eight.

However, UK-based fans will have to watch from home as they will not be allowed to support England at the Stadio Olimpico if they travel to Italy.

The country is on the UK's amber travel list and the Italian embassy in London said on Thursday that "anybody who has been in the UK in the previous 14 days, irrespective of their nationality or residency will not be admitted to the stadium, even if they have a ticket".

Ukraine fans will not be able to travel to Italy either, with non-essential travel from the country not permitted due to coronavirus restrictions.

The England and Ukraine teams, along with other accredited UEFA competition personnel, are granted exemptions from quarantine restrictions on arrival into Italy and other host cities because they operate within a 'bubble', provide regular tests and are therefore not required to self-isolate.

The team will have a light training session before their flight to Rome and fly back to London after the match.

One England fan who will be watching in Rome has said he will make "an extra effort to lift the noise".

Joel Phillips, 29, is originally from Doncaster but lives in Germany, which means he can fly out to Rome to cheer on the team.

He said: "I heard about the English fans not being able to get over so had a look on the UEFA website and they had tickets available, so I just bought one immediately and I'm working the rest out as I go along."

If England win on Saturday, they will face either Denmark or the Czech Republic in the semi-final at Wembley on 7 July.

And goalkeeper Jordan Pickford said on Thursday that there is extra motivation to beat Ukraine in Rome so the team can return to Wembley to play in front of 60,000 fans.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the match, he said: "We've got to create our own atmosphere in Rome, which we are capable of doing.

"The fans were tremendous the other night and throughout the group stages as well so I think that gives us added motivation for the game, to come back to a semi-final with 60,000 fans."

Pickford has been one of England's standout performers in the tournament so far, making some big saves in the last-16 win against Germany.

The Everton keeper praised his teammates for helping him keep four clean sheets, while also saying that backup the keepers in the squad have been excellent.

"For me, it is very good, and it is really nice, but it is not just me, it is the full 11 and everyone working really hard to keep those clean sheets," he said.

"We work hard every day. You have got to be on your game, not cutting corners. We work hard and share the load and get the best out of each other."

Follow the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Another to impress for England has been Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka, who has been done well in his two starts.

The 19-year-old will be hoping to start on Saturday but speaking on England Football's podcast on Thursday, teammate Luke Shaw said the teenager also plays a vital role off the pitch.

"You could ask anyone in the squad and they would say how nice a guy he honestly is," Shaw said.

"I didn't know him before I came to the camp and I didn't know what he would be like but I have got on so well with him, I would love him to be my brother.

"He is so cool, so funny and he makes everyone laugh and he doesn't mean it."

England's match against Ukraine will kick-off at 8pm on Saturday and both teams will know their potential semi-final opponents with the Denmark-Czech Republic game starting at 5pm.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting