After a must win victory in the game against Sweden in Euro 2012 there is much to take from the game. Players such as Gerrard, Welbeck, Carroll and Walcott shone.
Unfortunately England again made hard work of a game they should have comfortably won. Sweden are an average team and although they were fighting for their Euro 2012 progression, one would have to say that against a better team England would be punished more emphatically.
My England player ratings:
Joe Hart (7) Assured and confident as usual. Came to claim the ball well when needed. Some important saves including a excellent stop from Ibrahimovic on 75 minutes. Maybe could have marshaled his defence better?
Glen Johnson(7) Used pace well and made a couple of good last gasp tackles. Got up and down the pitch tirelessly. Maybe could have done better to prevent Mellberg’s first goal and maybe should have done better to prevent his second.
John Terry (7) Looked strong at the back. Unlucky not to score with a fine header. Lack of pace could be a problem against better opposition.
Joleon Lescott(6) Played a couple of aimless balls forward from defence and will have to retain the ball better if England are to progress. Generally played well and looked fairly solid.
Ashley Cole (7) Typically assured performance from the best left-back in the world. Worked hard going forward and got back when required. Still got the pace and boundless energy despite his years.
James Milner (6) Held onto the ball well and worked hard. Unfortunately was too lightweight in the tackle and offered little creativity going forward.
Scott Parker (7) Workman-like performance. He got knocked down frequently, but always got straight back up. Good shot early on tested their keeper.
Steven Gerrard (8) A captains performance. Led by example. Wondrous cross for the first England goal. Was involved in everything good England did going forward and got stuck in well helping out the defence.
Ashley Young (6) Played fairly deep. Didn’t manage to create much going forward and was knocked off the ball too easily. Question marks around whether operating in the deeper role really is his best position.
Danny Welbeck (8) Scored the winning goal with a touch of class. Worked hard the whole game making runs. His movement was too much for the Swedish defence and he got his reward by being in the right place at the right time to get England’s third.
Andy Carroll (8) Excellent header to score England’s opening goal. Held the ball up well for the team and was a constant thorn in the Swedish defence’s side. Always looked dangerous.
Theo Walcott (9) Super-sub. Came on for the ineffective Milner. Great swerving goal with only his third touch. Slow Swedish defence couldn’t handle his electric pace. Speed of his direct runs created many chances, including setting up Welbeck’s winner.
Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain (6) Came on with only a few minutes left for Welbeck. Did OK with his limited time but didn’t make a real impact.
Overall I think Roy Hodgson made the right substitution at the right time. But if England are to progress in the knock-out stages then they will have to tighten up at the back, especially from set-pieces.
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