International Soccer

Player ratings as Three Lions limp to top spot in Group C

England sealed their spot as winners of Group C with a 0-0 draw against Slovenia on Tuesday evening.

It was another uninspiring performance by Gareth Southgate’s side, who flashed glimpses of improvement but still fell well short of expectations, but Denmark’s 0-0 draw with Serbia ensured they sneak through as group winners.

How the game unfolded

Benjamin Sesko had the first half-chance of the game as the RB Leipzig striker sent a tame header towards Jordan Pickford inside the opening five minutes.

It was an uninspiring start from England, who had to wait until the 20th minute to even have their first shot. That effort did, however, result in Bukayo Saka tapping the ball into the back of the net, only for an offside flag to correctly rule the goal out.

England’s first official shots came on the half-hour mark. Harry Kane saw an effort blocked before a long-distance strike – the Three Lions’ first on target – was comfortably scooped up by Jan Oblak in the Slovenia net.

Kieran Trippier’s cross looked destined to lead to the opening goal, but Conor Gallagher failed to make contact with his head, before Kane’s outstretched boot could not steer the ball towards goal as England headed into the half-time break with the scores tied.

England were slightly brighter in the second half – they could hardly have been more uninspiring – but, aside from a goalmouth scramble, still found it hard to get through to Oblak’s goal.

With 15 minutes to go, Declan Rice fizzed an awkward strike wide as England continued to push for an opener, but there was simply no spark about the Three Lions once again.

Marc Guehi

Guehi impressed again / Crystal Pix/MB Media/GettyImages

GK: Jordan Pickford – 6/10 – Given some rotten backpasses at times but managed to clear his lines well.

RB: Kyle Walker – 5/10 – Too safe with his passing. Often turned backwards rather than looking to play in Saka.

CB: John Stones – 5/10 – Not particularly comfortable on the ball or when dealing with Sesko in the air.

CB: Marc Guehi – 6/10 – Slow and safe with the ball at his feet. Had the most touches of any England player in the first half, which speaks volumes of England’s problem.

LB: Kieran Trippier – 6/10 – Involved more going forwards and whipped in a handful of decent crosses, although his performance felt a little predictable, given his reluctance to use his left foot.

DM: Conor Gallagher – 5/10 – Pressed with nice energy but didn’t offer enough control in possession. Uninspiring passing.

DM: Declan Rice – 5/10 – Tried to get involved when England got forwards and made a handful of decent passes, but not nearly enough for a player of his quality.

RM: Bukayo Saka – 5/10 – Really poor in the first half but a far greater threat after the break. Did his best to try create something against Slovenia’s deep defence before being withdrawn for Palmer.

AM: Jude Bellingham – 4/10 – The man responsible for linking midfield and attack failed to perform his role. Often looked to be chasing shadows.

LM: Phil Foden – 6/10 – Far from his best but undoubtedly his strongest performance of the summer so far. Lively when given the chance to make things happen.

ST: Harry Kane – 5/10 – Isolated once again. Failed to hold the ball up well enough, but did play an outrageous ball through to Bellingham early in the second half.

Substitutes

SUB: Kobbie Mainoo (45′ for Gallagher) – 6/10

SUB: Cole Palmer (70′ for Saka) – 6/10

SUB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (84′ for Trippier) – N/A

SUB: Anthony Gordon (89′ for Foden) – N/A

Subs not used: Aaron Ramsdale (GK), Dean Henderson (GK), Ezri Konsa, Joe Gomez, Lewis Dunk, Luke Shaw, Adam Wharton, Ebere Eze, Ivan Toney, Jarrod Bowen, Ollie Watkins

Manager

Gareth Southgate – 5/10 – Fair play for actually trying something different, but this was woeful once again.

Jan Oblak, Benjamin Sesko

A good night for Sesko & Oblak / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

GK: Jan Oblak – 6/10 – Rarely had to push himself but rose to everything England threw at him.

RB: Zan Karnicnik – 6/10 – Dangerous buzzing down the right wing. His final ball was usually lacking but his movement was enough to cause problems for England.

CB: Vanja Drkusic – 7/10 – Had no issues repelling England’s limited attacks. Didn’t give Kane an inch.

CB: Jaka Bijol – 7/10 – Comfortable at the back and even offered a glimpse of his long-range passing skills to help Slovenia ease the pressure.

LB: Erik Janza – 6/10 – Wasn’t really tested by Saka at the back in a surprisingly quiet performance.

RM: Petar Stojanovic – 7/10 – A willing runner who was constantly looking to cause problems for England’s back line. Dangerous on occasion.

CM: Adam Gnezda Cerin – 6/10 – Happy to cede possession to England and instead sit back to help shield his back line.

CM: Timi Elsnik – 7/10 – Linked possession nicely in another comfortable midfield performance.

LM: Jan Mlakar – 6/10 – An occasional presence down the left wing. Offered enough to keep Walker on his toes.

ST: Andraz Sporar – 6/10 – A real danger in the box for Slovenia. Gave Stones and Guehi plenty to think about.

ST: Benjamin Sesko – 6/10 – A few nice flicks in a performance which saw him try to use his height to dominate England’s defenders.

Substitutes

SUB: Josip Ilicic (75′ for Sesko) – 5/10

SUB: Jon Gorenc-Stankovic (86′ for Mlakar) – N/A

SUB: Zan Celar (86′ for Sporar) – N/A

SUB: Jure Balkovec (90′ for Janza) – N/A

Subs not used: Igor Vekic (GK), Vid Belec (GK), David Brekalo, Miha Blazic, Adrian Zeljkovic, Jasmin Kurtic, Sandi Lovric, Tomi Horvat, Benjamin Verbic, Nino Zugelj, Zan Vipotnik

Manager

Matjaz Kek – 7/10 – Slovenia were never going to win the possession battle here, but they can hold their heads highest after a brave performance that could have easily been rewarded with three points on another day.

Player of the match – Jaka Bijol (Slovenia)

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