So England are through to the last 16 with a fairly comfortable yet uninspiring 1-0 win against the Czechs in a game that offered very little for fans to get excited about. This victory meant England topped Group D, and with it became the lowest scoring side in Euros history to win their group. There is no doubt we are looking strong defensively – three clean sheets in a row is nothing to be sniffed at, but I just can’t see where the goals are going to come from to win us this tournament. With our toughest test to come against Germany on Tuesday, this ‘safety-first’ approach from Southgate will surely throw up more questions than answers. Let’s see how the lads performed in their final group game;
Pickford – 7 – Another solid performance and another clean sheet. It’s hard to criticise the Everton goalkeeper when he’s in this kind of form as he hasn’t put a foot wrong the entire tournament. Great save to deny Tomas Holes midway through the first half.
Maguire – 8 – You would never have thought he hadn’t played any football in six weeks. Looked very comfortable bringing the ball out from the back and played in Kane with a magnificent through ball which he should have buried. Made some important tackles and interceptions and most importantly came through the game unscathed.
Stones – 7 – A much better performance from the Manchester City man which could be attributed to playing alongside his preferred defensive partner. Kept the dangerous Patrik Schik quiet and was taken off late on for a well-deserved rest.
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Walker – 6 – Did okay and seemed to put his howler against Croatia behind him. Looked more comfortable in possession and was defensively sound. Needs to offer more further up the pitch but it doesn’t look like the manager is allowing him to do so.
Shaw – 6 – A fantastic pass to set Sterling away early doors, but seemed to tire in the second half and has yet to show his scintillating form at club level at this tournament.
Rice – 4– Another poor showing from the West Ham man who gave the ball away countless times and conceded too many needless fouls. Hooked at half time perhaps to preserve his legs, but I don’t think he’ll look back on this game with much fondness.
Phillips – 6 – A decent first half in which he caught the eye with a few well timed runs whilst linking up well with Bukayo Saka. Less effective after the break but showed his versatility by switching to a more deep-lying role when Declan Rice went off at the interval.
Grealish – 7 – A fantastic first half but much like the rest of the side, went missing in the second. However his impact was clear, drawing fouls from the opposition in dangerous areas and setting up the goal for Sterling with a sumptuous delivery. A breath of fresh air in an England attack that has so far looked lifeless this tournament.
Saka – 8 – The 19 year old’s selection raised a few eyebrows but he was magnificent all night, tormenting the Czech defence with his unpredictable and lively runs. Great work in the build up to Sterling’s goal and he didn’t let the occasion faze him one bit. His positivity was refreshing to see and he was a huge bright spot for a team that’s in real need of creativity. Man of the match.
Sterling – 6 – Another goal to add to his tally but he was still outshone by Saka and Grealish. Struck the post in the second minute with a decent effort but I can’t help but feel like he’s capable of much more.
Kane – 4 – Another poor performance from the England captain who looks like a player with absolutely no confidence or self-belief. Keeps coming far too deep to get the ball and won’t trouble the German defence in the slightest when in this kind of form. Has to be dropped for Calvert-Lewin if we’re going to have any chance of progressing to the quarter-finals.
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Henderson (45 for Rice) –5 – Did very little to affect the game in a dreadful second half. Had a goal rightly ruled out for offside.
Rashford (67 for Sterling) – 5 – Coasted through the last 23 minutes.
Bellingham (68 for Grealish) – 5 – Much like the rest of the subs had very little impact on the second half.
Mings (79 for Stones) – 5 – Saw out the last 10 minutes comfortably.
Sancho (84 for Saka) – N/A
James Lynch – @JamesLynch88