Wednesday 12 December 2018

Here is how the players rated in England's World Cup quarter-final win over Sweden

England's Harry Maguire celebrates victory with manager Gareth Southgate after the match
England's Harry Maguire celebrates victory with manager Gareth Southgate after the match

Rory Dollard

England have marched into the final four of the World Cup following their 2-0 win over Sweden. Here is how Gareth Southgate's men rated.

ENGLAND

Jordan Pickford: Barely needed in the first half, last week's penalty hero excelled again with a hat-trick of crucial saves in the second. He tumbled left and right to deny Marcus Berg and Viktor Claesson one-handed, then stretched with fingertips tip the former's close-range effort over. 8

Kyle Walker: Makes up for his lack of grounding at centre-half with power and pace. One timely interception off Berg's toe topped an otherwise accomplished outing. 7

John Stones: The Manchester City man looks a safer pair of hands with every passing game, helping cover Harry Maguire's runs and proving a reliable ball-winner. Far too savvy for the Swedes. 7

Harry Maguire: Used his formidable frame to power home his first England goal in unstoppable fashion. Near unbeatable in the air at either end of the pitch and pushed up into midfield with some success as space opened up. 8

Kieran Trippier: England's breakout star of the tournament was reliably effective again, hugging the right touchline and looking for his chance to cross. No dead-ball heroics this time, but looks destined for the team of the tournament. 7

Ashley Young: Unusually sloppy in open play, particularly during a nervy start. It could be his set-piece work which keeps him in the side ahead of Danny Rose and his floated corner provided the assist as England broke the deadlock. 6

Jordan Henderson: Pinged a few passes from the base of midfield his Liverpool predecessor Xabi Alonso would have been proud of, including a lovely lofted ball that put Sterling clear. Threw his body in the way of a great chance. 7

Jesse Lingard: Bagged an assist by swinging in the cross for the second goal and grew as the game went on. Did find himself marginalised and outmuscled for the best part of an hour though. 6

Dele Alli: Drifted clear of his man at the far post to and headed home well to give his side the required breathing space of a two-goal lead. Still looks short to be lacking full sharpness in attack but tracked back when needed. 7

Raheem Sterling: Much attention will be paid to his unconvincing finishing, and he spurned a couple of decent chances to end that debate, but the 23-year-old is the only Englishman whose instincts push the team forward towards the penalty area every time. Important for England's territory and tempo. 7

Harry Kane: England's six-goal captain was finally kept off the scoresheet in Russia, only really threatening when he lashed a low effort a yard wide after a Sterling run. Contented himself with more prosaic matters of hold-up play and link work. 6

Substitutes:

Fabian Delph (for Alli): Added fresh legs and enthusiasm as the game moved towards its finale. 6

Eric Dier (for Henderson): A late outing from the bench, and a less dramatic one than his previous appearance. 5

Marcus Rashford (for Sterling): Momentary cameo as England ate up the final few minutes. 5

SWEDEN

Robin Olsen: Did well to get a glove on the ball as Sterling attempted to round him for 2-0 and had no case to answer for the England goals. 6

Emil Krafth: Got the better of Young early on and was a favoured outlet for much of the first half. Gave away the corner that led to England's opener and may not have needed to and partially culpable for the second. 6

Victor Lindelof: No big errors but will have hurt professional pride that England enjoyed such aerial dominance in a part of the pitch he should be controlling. 6

Andreas Granqvist: Guilty of poor organisation on Maguire's goal, leaving himself in no man's land between the goalscorer and Kane. Bravely blocked a Sterling shot and a brave presence. 6

Ludwig Augustinsson: Created Sweden's first serious chance moments after the interval by picking out Berg at the far post and fashioned a couple of other openings as he kept probing down the left flank. Wasted a tempting free-kick. 7

Albin Ekdal: An unshowy performer in the centre and perhaps guilty of insufficient ambition when his side fell behind. Still outmuscled Lingard and nullified that threat. 6

Sebastian Larsson: Workmanlike in the engine room but unable to make his mark on proceedings. Overlooked for a late free-kick that he have fancied. 6

Viktor Claesson: Looked Sweden's most likely threat in the first half, dropping into pockets of space in front of the back three, but could not find a finish or a final ball. 7

Emil Forsberg: Taken for a ride by Maguire for England's opening goal, he was brushed aside with ease in what was an unfortunate mis-match. Sweden's king of assists created little of note. 5

Ola Toivonen: If Sweden were to win this, the Toulouse man needed to shine. It did not happen for him and he was a passenger for long periods. 5

Marcus Berg: A limited but willing focal point in attack. Twice denied by Pickford and will wonder if he might have been more clinical with the second of those chances. 6

Substitutes:

John Guidetti (for Toivonen): An angry, agitating presence who created some discomfort. 6

Martin Olsson (for Forsberg): A curious addition to the game with Sweden chasing a two-goal deficit. 5

Pontus Jansson (for Krafth): Thrown on for last-ditch nuisance value. 5

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