International Soccer

England half-time player ratings from disastrous half against Slovakia

England’s Euro 2024 hopes are hanging by a thread after Ivan Schranz’s goal handed Slovakia a deserved half-time lead in their last 16 clash in Gelsenkirchen.

The pressure was on Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions to prove their mounting critics wrong after a tired, laboured group stage showing yielded just one win in three games. Draws against Denmark and Slovenia were pretty painful to watch, with Southgate’s team selection, tactics and unwillingness to be more adventerous drawing the ire of pundits and supporters alike.

Heavy favourites against Slovakia, England made just one change to their starting lineup – Kobbie Mainoo coming into the side to replace Conor Gallagher. But despite his positive impact in midfield, England looked all at sea in the first 45 minutes against Slovakia.

Their sloppiness in possession and poor-decision making cost Marc Guehi an early booking – ruling him out of a potential quarter-final tie with Switzerland – and Mainoo and Jude Bellingham were also shown yellow cards in a frantic first 15 minutes.

Slovakia had already got in-behind a couple of times by the time John Stones and Guehi miscommunicated to give Slovakia the lead. The pair went up for the same aerial ball, which neither were unable to win, and David Strelec’s pass was latched onto by Schranz.

He coasted away from the retreating Guehi, who was unable to make a challenge after his early caution, and slotted the ball past the sprawling Jordan Pickford from close range – England’s goalkeeper immediately fuming by the standard of the defending in front of him.

Things weren’t any better further up field as Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden in particular struggled to have any kind of positive impact on the game. England’s final ball was dismal when it really mattered, leaving the players to shrug their shoulders as they strode into the dressing room at half-time staring down the barrel of a humiliating exit from Euro 2024.

Jude Bellingham

Bellingham was well off the pace again / Carl Recine/GettyImages

GK: Jordan Pickford – 5/10 – Must be completely bewildered by what’s going on in front of him. No chance with the goal.

RB: Kyle Walker – 3/10 – Just doesn’t add anything to England’s attack whatsoever. Rapid recovery pace just doesn’t justify ongoing selection.

CB: John Stones – 3/10 – No communication whatsoever with Guehi for Slovakia’s goal. A rookie mistake that you simply can’t mistake on the international stage.

CB: Marc Guehi – 4/10 – Treated to an early hospital pass by Trippier, resulting in a yellow card and suspension for the quarter-final. Understandably ponderous after that but, like Stones, had to do better for the goal.

LB: Kieran Trippier – 3/10 – Clearly isn’t fit and is putting in the kind of performance Newcastle United fans have been enduring for the best part of six months.

DM: Declan Rice – 4/10 – Seems to be lacking the confidence he exudes at Arsenal, perhaps feeling the weight of expectation. Slowed things down way too much.

CM: Kobbie Mainoo – 6/10 – The only real bright light of England’s first-half performance. Dipped a volley over the crossbar and tried to make things happen.

CM: Jude Bellingham – 2/10 – Some have argued that Bellingham’s year at Real Madrid perhaps wasn’t as good as the hype would suggest. Whatever the case, he’s absolutely off the pace here and looks completely confused by his role.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 5/10 – Some neat footwork early on will have silenced those calling for Cole Palmer’s introduction. Way below the standards he sets at Arsenal, mind you.

ST: Harry Kane – 3/10 – Scored 44 goals in all competitions for Bayern Munich last season but you’ll be forgiven for thinking Kane hadn’t scored 44 goals in his career. Bizarre.

LW: Phil Foden – 2/10 – Blimey, not much to say is there? Is clearly frustrated with his role in the team – one that is making England’s most creative player completely anonymous.


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