Tuesday, July 23, 2024

England player ratings: Jude Bellingham the poster boy of redemption as Gareth Southgate avoids Iceland moment – Sky Sports


The fall-out to embarrassing defeat for England had the potential to be as violent as the one following the Iceland aberration at Euro 2016; An inexplicable paralysis that afflicted Gareth Southgate’s side again was deservedly punished by Slovakia before Jude Bellingham’s late intervention

Sunday 30 June 2024 21:11, UK
England came from behind to book their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 after an astonishing turnaround to beat Slovakia 2-1 in Gelsenkirchen.
This was the night England surely had to show up. They were poor again, but sometimes all it takes is a spark to light a fire.
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This was game No 99 in charge of England, and it could well have been Southgate’s last after another flakey performance – but Jude Bellingham sent the game to extra-time with a sublime overhead-kick before Harry Kane completed the turnaround 52 seconds after the restart.
England’s main men showed up when it mattered most but their synchronised celebrations betrayed a lack of joined-up thinking across the 120 minutes.
Here, Sky Sports rates the England players from their match in Gelsenkirchen and you too can rate all of them below…
Appeared to injure his hand in the warm-up. Could do little about Slovakia’s opener as he watched such muddled defending in front of him.
England looked vulnerable throughout but Pickford was not at fault. In keeping with the group stages, didn’t make a save until fielding Stanislav Lobotka’s shot on 88 minutes with England running on empty.
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Walker got caught on the inside by the ball for Lukas Haraslin as England survived one of several early scares. It was not the only time the Manchester City full-back was beaten by his opposite man during the first half. Shaky in possession. First time in his international career there are now serious question marks over his starting berth.
It was the quickness of thought rather than his legs which brought Haraslin so much unexpected joy.
Guehi will miss the quarter-final after being cautioned inside the opening four minutes through no real fault of his own after Trippier’s carelessness. Beaten in the air by Ivan Schranz and then was flat-footed in following the same player’s run into the box for Slovakia’s opener. But it was his brave flick-on which brought Bellingham’s crucial late leveller.
Poor communication with Guehi for Slovakia’s opener as the pair attacked the same ball and was then caught in two minds on whether to follow the run of Schranz or close down the passer Strelec. Stones did neither.
Keystone cops defending nearly led to a second Slovakia goal when Stones switched off at Bellingham’s restart but Strelec shot from distance curled off target. Such carelessness summed up England.
Poor pass led to Guehi being left with no option but to block David Strelec for his early booking. Slovakia targeted the makeshift left-back and Trippier drew boos from supporters when he was too slow to move the ball as England trailed. Ballooned one shot over before he was hooked for being far too ponderous and predictable in possession.
Crunching challenge on Juraj Kucka midway through the first half was needed to sharpen England. It didn’t enliven his team-mates, and Rice was partially at fault for Schranz’s strike as he became a bystander in not reacting quick enough to the second ball. Hit the post with a fierce drive in agonising fashion before the late drama and was disciplined throughout extra time.
A shining light for England before he was replaced late on as Southgate finally threw caution to the wind with the Manchester United midfielder on a yellow card.
No fear and willing to take people on, Mainoo (19 years 72 days) became the third-youngest player to start a knockout stage game for England at a major tournament after Michael Owen against Argentina in 1998 (18y 198d) and Wayne Rooney against Portugal in 2004 (18y 244d).
Intelligent passing and wasn’t affected by the early booking for treading on Duda’s foot by the Turkish official Umut Meler. Had the confidence to attempt an audacious volley off target midway through opening period.
Saka collected Walker’s searching pass to skip past David Hancko inside seven minutes. Felt then that he had the beating of his man but Hancko soon figured him out.
Moved to left-back after Cole Palmer’s introduction, despite mentioning in midweek that it was not the solution having last played there for Arsenal against West Brom in September 2021.
Did a job that should never have been asked of one of the Premier League’s most devastating right midfielders before he was moved back to his more familiar position following Eze’s introduction.
Pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a moment of sheer brilliance. Bellingham saved Gareth Southgate’s job with England’s first attempt on target. Up to that point, his body language would have again been questioned.
A Champions League winner and LaLiga title holder already in his first season at Real Madrid, but his incredible bicycle-kick drew his finest moment in an England shirt to date.
Southgate stuck resolutely by his man. Bellingham mouthed ‘who else’ to fans after being mobbed by his team-mates. Seemed to have gone missing when England needed him most before delivering deep into stoppage time. A late birthday present for the boy wonder who turned 21 on Saturday.
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Staggering that Southgate watched the first three games and continued with the same front four when it was clearly not working. Virtually anonymous and should have been hooked at half-time despite a couple of decent deliveries from the right.
Ought to have held his run to equalise from Trippier’s cross but drifted offside to douse celebrations. Thankfully for England, it didn’t prove critical. Good delivery with his left foot deserved to be buried by Kane with England still behind.
Kane (79) overtook Peter Shilton (78) as the player with the most ever competitive appearances for England. One deflected header wide in the first half and an over-hit cross. But moves were breaking down long before they even reached the isolated striker.
This victory won’t disguise the glaring miss from close range when you would have bet your mortgage on him to score. He was in the right place to deliver seconds into extra time but there will be a clamour now for the England captain to be partnered up front against Switzerland.
Cole Palmer (On for Trippier, 66) – 6
As Slovakia fans reminded their counterparts of Iceland’s Viking Thunder Clap, Palmer emerged on the touchline to replace Trippier. Immediately created an opening for Bellingham with a low ball into the box. Should have started.
Eberechi Eze (On for Mainoo, 84) – 5
Anxiety left England straitjacketed, frozen in their frustration. What was Southgate waiting for? With 15 minutes to go, Slovakia easily beat the half-baked press as Foden threw his hands in the air. Even the players were crying out for a change.
Looked like it had come too late in the day for Eze, but the Crystal Palace midfielder did brilliantly to put off Peter Pekarik at the far post as Slovakia went close to forcing penalties. A square peg in a round hole.
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Ivan Toney (On for Foden, 90+4) – 6
England had hit a new low when they left the field to a chorus of the loudest boos from their own supporters after a dreadful first-half. Something had to change. It was astonishing nothing shifted at the interval. Toney healed England’s disconnect having entered in the 95th minute.
I’d have refused to come on, but the Brentford striker unlocked Kane by his presence, being in the right placed to guide Eze’s wayward volley into the striker’s path for his winning header.
Conor Gallagher (On for Bellingham, 105) – 5
Gallagher was partnered alongside Rice in midfield meaning a front three of Eze, Toney and Palmer for the final 15 minutes as England absorbed late pressure and clung onto the win. Typically tenacious cameo.
Ezri Konsa (On for Kane, 105) – 5
Operated at left-back in the second half of extra time when he perhaps ought to have started there. His emergence indicated that Luke Shaw is still some way short of full fitness.
“If you keep doing the same things you’re going to keep getting the same results,” said a shocked Gary Neville at the break.
Southgate had to “throw reputations out the window”, Neville added, but he refused. This was looking like a performance that his England reign would be remembered for, with his legacy tarnished.
For so long, it was a performance that went back to yesteryear from a group of players who weren’t united. But Southgate lives to fight another day.
At this stage, all that matters is winning, but England cannot expect a similar outcome if they perform like this against Switzerland. The calls for drastic changes – in personnel and system – this coming week will only grow louder after this hollow victory.
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