ENGLAND’S GROUP-STAGE STARS – PLAYER RATINGS: Raheem Sterling proved doubters wrong, Harry Kane MUST now deliver and Kalvin Phillips showed quality… but most of the forwards misfired
- England signed off their Euro group stage with a 1-0 win over Czech Republic
- Raheem Sterling’s goal ensured England topped the group with seven points
- England’s only major disappointment was a goalless draw against rivals Scotland
- Sportsmail looks at England’s star of the show and who needs to up their game
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here
Just like that, England’s group campaign is over and it’s time for the |Euro 2020 knockouts where a tough yet relishing test lies ahead.
England signed off their group stage adventure with a 1-0 victory over Czech Republic thanks to Raheem Sterling’s early header at Wembley on Tuesday evening.
While it wasn’t the prettiest journey through the group with just two goals scored, England sealed top spot with seven points thanks to victories via the same scoreline against Croatia and the Czech Republic.
The only real disappointment was a goalless draw against fierce rivals Scotland at Wembley in the second encounter.
But now it’s time to look ahead and build up for what is set to be a daunting last-16 clash likely against one of France, Germany or Portugal next Tuesday at Wembley.
Ahead of that enthralling fixture next week, Sportsmail has run the rule over England’s squad so far, including who has been the star of the show, the surprise package and who still needs to step up to the plate…
England sealed top spot in Group D thanks to a narrow 1-0 victory over Czech Republic
JORDAN PICKFORD – 7.5/10
Three games, three clean sheets. While England haven’t been too tested so far, Pickford has impressed in between the sticks and he appears a much calmer figure compared to previous years.
The Everton goalkeeper has made some vital saves during the group stage while his distribution remains a key component of England’s play.
But Pickford will know that a much tougher test is awaiting him, and he will have to be at his absolute best in the last-16 clash to help seal England’s progression at the Euros.
KYLE WALKER – 7
Walker is likely to start for the Three Lions at right back next Tuesday and his experience could prove vital heading into the knockout stage.
The Manchester City right back hasn’t put a foot wrong so far and he has certainly matured defensively playing under Pep Guardiola over the last season, which is evident from his displays for England at the Euros.
Kyle Walker hasn’t put a foot wrong at the back for the Three Lions so far during the Euros
KIERAN TRIPPIER – 6.5
The Atletico Madrid defender hasn’t featured since playing the full 90 minutes in the opening day victory over Croatia at Wembley.
But, like Walker, Trippier was a steady figure in defence for England, and that was even while playing out of position at left back.
He will be disappointed with his lack of game time since, but remains a very reliable figure for Gareth Southgate, and he could play some part in the last-16 clash if his manager uses five at the back against a tougher opponent.
REECE JAMES – 6
Like Trippier, James has only featured in one match so far, and that was in the drab goalless draw against Scotland in round two.
He struggled to make a real impact, having been rather cautious when going forward and not adding that directness that England needed from the flanks.
It’s a struggle to see the young Chelsea defender forcing his way into contention in the knockout stages, but he has a very bright future ahead of him for England.
JOHN STONES – 8
Renaissance man Stones has been one of England’s stand-out performers so far during the Euros, playing a key role in the heart of defence to help his side keep three clean sheets.
Stones has been formidable from a defensive point of view – strong in the air and in the challenge – while his calmness on the ball has helped England play out from the back.
The Manchester City star will need a big performance defensively if England are to stand any chance of making it through to the quarter-finals.
John Stones has shone at the back, helping England keep three clean sheets in as many games
TYRONE MINGS – 7
Mings has also played an integral role for the Three Lions, forming a key partnership alongside Stones in the opening two matches against both Croatia and Scotland in London.
The Aston Villa defender stayed resolute against Croatia when the pressure ramped up on England, while he enhanced his reputation against Scotland to deny the visitors any success in the air.
He was very unfortunate to miss out against the Czech Republic on Tuesday but with Harry Maguire now back in action, Mings is set to be watching on from the sidelines as England begin their knockout campaign.
HARRY MAGUIRE – 6
Maguire finally returned to action on Tuesday night following his six-week injury lay-off and it was a successful day at the office for the Manchester United centre back against the Czechs.
Maguire looked very assured from a defensive point of view alongside Stones while his calmness on the ball also stood out. He produced a brilliant through ball to Harry Kane in the first half, which nearly led to a second for England, while he wasn’t afraid to carry the ball forward.
Southgate will be delighted that Maguire, one of his leaders, has returned to the pitch and his partnership with Stones could prove pivotal for England going forward.
Harry Maguire looked assured at centre back after returning to action following an ankle injury
LUKE SHAW – 7
Shaw appears to have made the left back position his own after Trippier started the opening match. While he was fairly subdued like the rest of his team-mates against Scotland, he played a big role for England on Tuesday.
Shaw produced a wonderful through ball into the path of Raheem Sterling down the left, only for the City striker to be denied by the post in the opening minutes at Wembley.
The Manchester United defender has enjoyed a brilliant revival in recent times, and he will be desperate to continue his impressive form against one of the big guns in the last-16. Southgate will be demanding a lot from him, and he will have to be at his best defensively and in attack.
KALVIN PHILLIPS – 8.5 (SURPRISE PACKAGE)
Phillips was the star of the show as England got off to winning ways in their Euro 2020 campaign, producing a box-office performance in the middle of the pitch against Croatia.
He was robust in the tackle, got into clever positions to break play up and link up the attack, and got his just reward with a fantastic assist for Sterling’s strike, rightly earning all the plaudits.
Phillips was frustrated against Scotland but returned to his impressive ways against the Czech Republic, where he moved into a deeper role directly in front of England’s centre backs following Declan Rice’s substitution. He has proved he is here to stay for the Three Lions.
Kalvin Phillips has been the surprise package for England so far in the heart of midfield
DECLAN RICE – 7
The West Ham midfielder has been a reliable figure for England at the Euros so far this summer alongside his Leeds counterpart Phillips.
Rice’s ability to break up play with interceptions and his hard-tackling nature makes him vital to England’s fortunes. And against one of France, Portugal or Germany, Southgate will be relying on Rice to snuff out the imposing danger.
England must be at their very best defensively in the last-16 clash, and Southgate may play two defensive holding midfielders, one of them which is very likely to be Rice.
JUDE BELLINGHAM – 6
Borussia Dortmund’s teenage sensation has been limited to bit-part roles off the bench for the Three Lions so far but he has got fans talking.
When thrown onto the pitch to help England hold off Croatia in their opener, 17-year-old Bellingham certainly didn’t let the occasion get the better of him and put himself about both defensively and going forward.
Bellingham has a massive future ahead of him for both club and country, and it will come as no surprise if he becomes one of England’s go-to players over the next few years.
JORDAN HENDERSON – 5
Just like Maguire, many questioned Liverpool skipper Henderson’s inclusion in England’s squad having not played since February due to a groin issue.
After missing the opening two matches, he finally enjoyed some game-time as a half-time substitute against the Czech Republic. He was energetic and at times creative from the holding midfield position, and even thought he had got himself on the scoresheet late on only to be called offside in the build-up.
While he offers England that experience and extra energy in the middle of the pitch, it’s difficult to see him landing a starting spot in the last-16 clash with the Liverpool midfielder still clearly trying to build up his fitness.
Jordan Henderson’s return is a big boost but it’s hard to see him starting the last-16 clash
PHIL FODEN – 7
After a superb season for Manchester City, in which he became a regular in Guardiola’s starting line-up, much of the attacking burden was placed on Foden’s shoulders ahead of the Euros.
And he was one of the stand-out players for England against Croatia, hitting the post with a delightful curling effort after cutting in on his left foot. But he struggled to produce the goods against Scotland and was left out of the 23-man squad altogether on Tuesday night.
The City youngster will have been extremely disappointed by that, but he will definitely come back into the equation next Tuesday, and Southgate will be depending on him to dazzle in attack.
JACK GREALISH – 7.5
Grealish, alongside Foden, was the player England fans were most excited to watch strut their stuff in attack. But it had been a disappointing start to the Aston Villa captain’s Euros campaign, having missed out against Croatia while coming on as a second-half substitute in the draw with Scotland.
But he more than grabbed his opportunity against the Czechs, assisting the only goal of the game with a delightful chipped cross to the back post for Sterling to head home.
Grealish is England’s best ball-carrier and he must start for the Three Lions in the last-16 encounter.
Jack Grealish starred for England against Czech Republic, setting up Raheem Sterling’s goal
MASON MOUNT – 7
Mount has already become one of England’s go-to players and he got off to a very strong start with a stand-out display against Croatia on matchday one.
The Chelsea youngster provided England with quality on the ball and energy without it, while he looked like the biggest threat to unlock Scotland’s defence during the stalemate.
Southgate and England received the huge blow of the news of Mount having to self-isolate alongside Ben Chilwell for a period of 10 days after coming into contact with Chelsea team-mate Billy Gilmour, who later tested positive for Covid-19, following the Scotland draw. His inclusion for the last-16 clash is consequently touch-and-go.
RAHEEM STERLING – 9 (STAR OF THE SHOW)
England’s best player at the tournament so far, scoring both of his country’s goals as they sealed top spot in Group D with seven points.
Sterling’s inclusion in England’s starting line-up was under heavy scrutiny after a dip in form for City late on last season, but he has answered his critics in the best way possible and is Southgate’s Mr Dependable.
Sterling was a threat throughout against Croatia and was rewarded with his goal following clever movement to get onto the end of Phillips’ pass, while he was in the right place at the right time to nod home Grealish’s cross on Tuesday night. He is a banker to start in the last-16 clash.
Sterling has been the star of the show so far, scoring both of England’s goals at Wembley
BUKAYO SAKA – 7.5
After playing no part in the opening two matches of the tournament, it appeared as if Saka would be watching on from the sidelines for the rest of the tournament too.
But he was given his chance to shine against Czech Republic, and he took his chance in style. The Arsenal starlet showed no signs of nerves and was always looking to get on the ball and take on his man, and he played a pivotal role in the build-up to England’s goal.
The 19-year-old has given his England manager a welcome selection dilemma heading into the knockout stages.
Bukayo Saka justified Gareth Southgate’s trust in him with an electric display on Tuesday
HARRY KANE – 6 (MUST DO BETTER)
England’s talisman has failed to live up to his reputation in the opening three matches, and Southgate will be desperate he turns around his fortunes during the last-16 encounter.
Kane was very subdued against Croatia and Scotland, with both sides not giving him a sniff and some were even questioning whether he should start against the Czechs. However, Southgate remained defiant over his main man.
And while he didn’t score on Tuesday, Kane looked like he was returning to his best form, with clever movement and neat build-up play, and he almost got his first goal of the tournament only to be denied by goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik. Hopefully the England skipper can go one step further next week.
Gareth Southgate will be desperate talisman Harry Kane finds his form during the last-16 clash
JADON SANCHO – 4
It has been a horrid Euros campaign to date for Sancho, whose future is mired in uncertainty with Man United looking to wrap up a deal with Borussia Dortmund for his services.
Sancho was left out of the England squad altogether against Croatia while he was an unused substitute against Scotland. And on Tuesday, he only came on for the final six minutes, in which he could hardly prove his case.
While he looked threatening during his brief time on the pitch, it appears very unlikely we will see him in action in the last-16 fixture. For some reason, he just isn’t in Southgate’s good books.
MARCUS RASHFORD – 5
Another player, like Sancho, who will be very frustrated with his situation for England at the Euros.
Rashford has been limited to appearances off the bench so far, coming on as a late second-half substitute in all three matches.
Southgate is clearly looking to use Rashford to capitalise on tired defences late on in games. And he will be praying the striker can make the difference in what could be a cagey knockout clash.
Not played so far: Sam Johnstone, Aaron Ramsdale, Conor Coady, Ben Chilwell, Ben White, Dominic Calvert-Lewin (came on for one minute vs Croatia).
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