Written by David Robinson
England bounced back in spectacular style with a late 2-1 victory over Wales. Daniel Sturridge struck late into stoppage time to give the Three Lions a deserved win and a great sense of joy having conceded a last minute equaliser against Russia in their opening game. Gareth Bale scored a long range free kick to open the scoring against the run of play but Hodgson’s men pulled off the comeback with a Vardy equaliser and Sturridge who both came off the bench at half time. Full credit to the England players for a show of grit and ability to keep performances to a good standard. I rate each of the individuals after the win.
Joe Hart – 4/10
Not much action for Hart to do again but when he was called into action, he fell below the high standards the nation expects, first of all looking uncertain and spilling the ball when trying to claim a first half cross before his big moment in the game got the better of him as a Gareth Bale free kick beat him from range which he should have saved for a man of his calibre. He kicked well and made some basic contributions but the big moments a Goalkeeper prides themselves on weren’t acted upon.
Kyle Walker – 9/10
A very impressive performance against Russia meant that Walker should’ve been high on confidence but it would have been a test for him to maintain such a high level of performance. The Spurs right back did that and then some. He was the main attacking outlet causing Wales’s left side all sorts of problems and defended maturely. His decision making has been of the highest order which is what often separates great from the good and Walker has been nothing short of sensational so far. Fantastic.
Gary Cahill – 7/10
A very steady game from the Chelsea centre half, I thought Cahill gave England that all important composure that was needed at the heart of the defence after shaky moments against Russia. His distribution from the back was productive and he sweeped up any danger generally with conviction despite one concerning moment in the second half where he misjudged the path of the ball. Encouraging from the experienced defender.
Chris Smalling – 6.5/10
Still a little bit of tension in Smalling’s game or that’s how it appears but generally he has coped well. The Manchester United defender put in some crucial headers which might have been overlooked. He is a bit edgy in possession but was not put under pressure by the Wales front line which allowed Smalling to focus on his defensive capabilities which he executed well.
Danny Rose – 7/10
The 25 year old put in an excellent showing against Russia and while he didn’t hit the same high levels in this match that is not a bad reflection on his performance. The Spurs left back was solid all game and kept the wave of English attacks alive. He overlapped well and halted any danger down the Wales right side.
Eric Dier – 7/10
Dier is looking a highly accomplished player of late and his understanding of his position is second to none. His abilities on the ball have generally been good wanting the ball of the defenders and finding more creative forces with simple but sharp passes accurately. It’s no surprise to see the 22 year old make so many interceptions when he always finds the right positions on the pitch. A key part in a side that regularly took the ball of the opposition in the middle third.
Dele Alli – 5/10
Alli is not disgracing himself by any means at the tournament but with the big build up going into the tournament he has not lived up to expectations so far. The 20 year old occupied some intelligent positions going forwards but generally he was the main culprit for either slowing the play down or losing possession. His persistence was encouraging with his run into the box which fell to Sturridge an example.
Wayne Rooney – 9/10
The main man on paper is delivering when it really matters. The decision to play Rooney deeper has paid off with the Captain always in the thick of the action which has previously got the better of the Manchester United forward when he gets frustrated by a lack of service. Rooney ran the show in truth, switching the play well and doing a job box-to-box.
Adam Lallana – 8/10
Pleasantly surprised at how the Liverpool midfielder has performed in both games with a tremendous intensity about his play. His pressing game has been nothing short of superb. While we know Lallana has the capabilities technically, he is using them effectively drifting in from the right side and linking up play well with incisive passes.
Raheem Sterling – 2/10
I don’t want to single out an individual but this level of performance is unacceptable and quite frankly pathetic. Sterling missed a big chance early on from a Lallana cross which he ballooned over and from then on in he lost the ball countless times before being hooked at half time. He cannot play vs Slovakia, surely?
Harry Kane – 3/10
Every striker will have off days and that should’ve been considered last game vs Russia where nothing went right for the usually prolific Kane. The lone striker however put in another ineffective display summed up by the long range free-kick that went high and wide. Another player subbed off at half-time only for 2 strikers who were subbed on to score meaning that Kane looks to have blew his 2 opportunities.
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