PLAYER RATINGS: England’s standout performer, fatigued players, and young talent shining against Netherlands

PLAYER RATINGS: England’s standout performer, fatigued players, and young talent shining against Netherlands

England secured a place in the first major tournament final on foreign soil in the nation’s history thanks to a moment of magic from Ollie Watkins clinching the 2-1 win against the Netherlands on Wednesday evening. 

Gareth Southgate’s side faltered within the opening seven minutes when Xavi Simons caught the Three Lions asleep and sent a curving rocket past the leaping grasp of Jordan Pickford.

But England needed just 11 minutes to get back onto level footing, let in by a somewhat contentious penalty shout that Harry Kane stepped up and buried.

Despite coming out with bright moments in the second half, England continued to toil for the decider – but with the introduction of Watkins, and assist-maker Cole Palmer, on the stroke of 90 minutes England could begin to celebrate.  

Here, Mail Sport’s CRAIG HOPE assesses who dazzled, and who must do better, ahead of the team’s historic final on Sunday evening.

Ollie Watkins helped secure England’s berth in Sunday’s Euro 2024 when he came on as a super-substitute

The Three Lions will play their first-ever major tournament final on foreign soil in Berlin

The Three Lions will play their first-ever major tournament final on foreign soil in Berlin

England 

Jordan Pickford 6.5

Hard to blame him for Simons goal, so powerfully was it struck. Big save at 1-1 from Van Dijk and made goalmouth punch soon after as Netherlands exerted pressure. They were very important moments on reflection.

Kyle Walker 5.5

Stood off Simons and allowed shot for goal – he should have been less static. Does not sense danger as centre back and was lucky when Pickford bailed him out after Van Dijk beat him to bouncing ball second half.

John Stones 7

His best game of tournament and, for the first time, looked to step into No 6 domain and get on the ball. Marshalled backline well as they dealt with period of Dutch control second half. Will need more of this in the final.

Jordan Pickford is one of England's most consistent players, but was bettered by Xavi Simons

Jordan Pickford is one of England’s most consistent players, but was bettered by Xavi Simons

John Stones had his strongest showing of the tournament so far as he stepped forward and dealt with Dutch control in the second-half

John Stones had his strongest showing of the tournament so far as he stepped forward and dealt with Dutch control in the second-half

Marc Guehi 7

Read More

Mainoo’s display flew in the face of his tender age as England reach Euro 2024 final – SAMI MOKBEL

article image

Looked like he might have problems early on as Depay and Gakpo made diagonal runs through the middle. But this was a seamless return to the side thereafter and picked up steady form.

Bukayo Saka 8

Set the tone from the off, picking up from quarter-final performance. His incisive run led to penalty and his enthusiasm soon rubbed off on others. Not as impactful second half but kept at it in wing-back role and work-rate was commendable.

Kobbie Mainoo 8.5

Sensational first half. Flicks, tricks, drive, imagination – Netherlands could not live with him. His run to tee up Foden for big chance typified his fearlessness. Not as involved after break but kept running and running and never hid. England’s best. At 19, what a star!

Bukayo Saka was unlucky to have a goal ruled out for offside which could have settled the tie

Bukayo Saka was unlucky to have a goal ruled out for offside which could have settled the tie

Kobbie Mainoo (right) pulled off another command performance in England's midfield

Kobbie Mainoo (right) pulled off another command performance in England’s midfield

Declan Rice 7.5

Caught out for opener when robbed by scorer Simons but recovered well, as if motivated by mistake. Netherlands brought on another midfielder before break and that was testament to England’s engine-room – anchored with authority by Rice – bossing their domain. His best display here by a distance.

Kieran Trippier 6.5

Gave a typically honest 45 minutes and got himself into good positions high on the left. Hamstrung with final delivery given it’s not his preferred side, but cannot be faulted for endeavour and commitment.

Phil Foden 7.5

Unrecognisable first half, and that’s a compliment. Finally turned up at these Euros. Went so close to scoring three times before break and looked like a man with a point to prove. But, like the team, he faded second half and his withdrawal was fair.

Phil Foden was equally unlucky that his effort was saved on the goalline at the last minute

Phil Foden was equally unlucky that his effort was saved on the goalline at the last minute

Jude Bellingham 6.5

Better in that he saw more of the ball, but still not the talisman in general play. He was beaten in the air when Dumfries headed against the bar. Looks tired, as he has all Euros. 

Harry Kane 6

A cool penalty but still short of his best. Again not present in penalty area at key times – notably for Saka pull-back early in second half – and, while he used the ball well, it was all from too deep. The forward line looked more dynamic when he went off. 

Jude Bellingham has looked less than bright during this tournament and wasn't one of the side's strongest

Jude Bellingham has looked less than bright during this tournament and wasn’t one of the side’s strongest

England's captain Harry Kane had drawn criticism but was nerveless from the penalty spot

England’s captain Harry Kane had drawn criticism but was nerveless from the penalty spot

Substitutes

Luke Shaw (on for Trippier 46) 5.5

This was a bigger ask at left wing-back rather than centre-back, where he came on versus Switzerland, and did not look fully up to speed, which is understandable. The change didn’t really exploit the space on the Netherlands’ right.

Cole Palmer was introduced alongside Watkins and helped set up his crucial 90-minute strike

Cole Palmer was introduced alongside Watkins and helped set up his crucial 90-minute strike

Luke Shaw wasn't capable of starting the game but was brought off the bench for a cameo

Luke Shaw wasn’t capable of starting the game but was brought off the bench for a cameo

Cole Palmer (on for Foden 81) 7

Read More

REF WATCH: After a week of doubt over the referee, it’s the Dutch who will be marching with torches

article image

Sliced big chance late in game but then supplied the pass for Watkins goal. He made the impact England needed – again!

Ollie Watkins (on for Kane 81) 7.5

The hero! You thought his Euros might be over given Toney’s impact of late, but this is why Southgate brought him on, his willingness to run in behind and stretch the defence. And what a finish!

Manager – Gareth Southgate 8

First half, at least post-penalty, was the best his side have played all tournament. The performance faded but he made changes at the right time and what a difference they made. Had the guts to take Kane off and Watkins winner justified huge call.

Gareth Southgate showed his mettle in swapping off Kane for Watkins, making changes at the right moment

Gareth Southgate showed his mettle in swapping off Kane for Watkins, making changes at the right moment

Referee – Feliz Zwayer (GER) 4

What was he thinking in awarding England’s penalty after being sent to monitor? His original decision not to give it was not even an error, never mind clear and obvious! He booked Dumfries for that, unfairly, but then missed what might have been a second yellow for him. Made strange calls.

NED (4-3-3): Verbruggen 6.5; Dumfries 7, De Vrij 5.5, Van Dijk 6.5, Ake 5; Xavi Simons 6.5, Schouten 5, Reijnders 6; Malen 5 (Weghorst 46), Depay 6 (Veerman 35. 5), Gakpo 5.5

Manager: Ronald Koeman 5

Comments

No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *