Harry Kane says England must ensure beating Germany âwasnât for nothingâ as attentions turn to the quarter-final against Ukraine and keeping their European Championship dreams alive.
Having reached the World Cup semi-finals three years ago, Gareth Southgateâs men have a first major trophy since 1966 in their crosshairs having ended their wretched knockout run against Die Mannschaft.
Raheem Sterling and skipper Kane sealed an historic 2-0 last-16 victory against Germany at a bouncing Wembley on Tuesday, setting up a mouthwatering quarter-final clash with Ukraine in Rome.
âItâs hard to put into words, really,â Kane said after opening his Euro 2020 account to wrap up progress.
âItâs been a difficult time for everyone â everyone being at home, everyone not being able to go out.
âAs players it was one of the best feelings ever but we know we put a smile on the fansâ faces. People at home watching, people in the stadium.
âWe gave them a moment that they probably havenât had for a long period of time, so thatâs special to be able to do that, to have that gift to be able to do that. Theyâre the moments that stick with you forever.
âOf course we want to make sure that it wasnât for nothing. We want to make sure we go and make it all worthwhile.
âBut theyâre the nights and theyâre the days that stick with you, stick in your memory â not just for me as a player but I think the fans and everyone watching as well.â
Kane found it hard to switch off after getting back to Englandâs St Georgeâs Park base around midnight, with the squad watching Ukraine edge a 2-1 extra-time victory against 10-man Sweden on the coach back from London.
âIt was a good game,â he told the Lionsâ Den. âObviously it went to extra time so it was a tough game for both teams.
âSweden went down to 10 men and then, yeah, Ukraine had a huge high scoring in the last minute of extra time.
âIâm sure theyâll be buzzing today as a team and Iâm sure theyâll take that into the game on Saturday as well.
âI mean, weâve just got to make sure for everyone. I think their greatest strength is their team unity.
âWe need to be ready for that so we know that if we play to our highest abilities and mentally then we should have enough to win the game. But itâs knockout football, anything can happen, so weâve got to make sure weâre ready.â
The dynamics now change for England as they play their first match of the Euros away from Wembley, having so far gone through their four matches without defeat and conceding a goal.
Kane highlighted the importance of creating the energy amongst themselves without a partisan crowd to cheer them on, while recovery is key as they prepare to fly to Italy on Friday.
âThis oneâs more mental than anything,â he added.
âComing off a big high like that yesterday, itâs about kind of getting back down to earth, focusing on whatâs to come because we havenât done nothing yet.
âWeâve still got a long way to go and Ukraine will be a tough game in a different stadium so a different experience. One weâve not had yet in this tournament.
âItâs just important that we focus on that now. Like I said, we have a vision of where we want to be and itâs not just winning them one-off games, them one-off knockout games. Itâs going all the way.
âWeâve got to make sure we recover well now. The boys are training who didnât play and training hard, and weâre going to need everyone if we are going to go far in this tournament.â