Football Features

“We saw Gareth is nasty enough tonight” – Every player rated as England beat Denmark to reach first-ever Euros final

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 23:09, 7 July 2021

In an incredible night of football, England beat Denmark 2-1 after extra-time to qualify for the final of Euro 2020.

The Three Lions overcame conceding their first goal of the tournament to come from behind and pick up the big win. They will now face Italy in their first tournament final since the 1966 World Cup final.

Here’s how the players rated at Wembley:

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England

Jordan Pickford – 6 – The Pickford Wobbles were back again as he looked far from secure in the England net (bar one lovely save from Kasper Dolberg). However Denmark couldn’t get past Maguire and Stones enough to test him.

Kyle Walker – 7 – Lots of space behind him as always but some very good recovery runs to bail himself and team-mates out.

John Stones – 7 – Solid at the back.

Harry Maguire – 8 – An absolute colossus as per usual. Dominant at the back, both on the deck and in the air, and was a constant threat at set-pieces. England’s best player across the 120 and a key lynchpin behind the defensive solidity that saw England qualify for the final.

Luke Shaw – 7 – Constantly pushing the tempo, especially in the second-half as England really turned the screw on Denmark.

Kalvin Phillips – 7 – Really impressive, especially as the game wore on. His passing was precise and always put

Declan Rice – 6 – Struggled to impose himself on the Danish midfield. Bizarrely lasted 94 minutes before being subbed.

Mason Mount – 7 – A terrier as usual, scurrying around the field and getting stuck in.

Bukayo Saka – 7 – A constant buzzsaw of energy in both directions. Really helped neuter the impact of Joakim Maehle and his movement in attack was important to England too. Forced the own goal with a delicious run and cross.

Raheem Sterling – 8 – A hugely positive force for England on either flank. No Dane could live with his skill and speed and his run forced the own goal, another run won the penalty, and so many other runs caused so many other problems for Denmark.

“Many other runs” might honestly be an understatement, because in the face of Gareth Southgate’s inaction with his subs or unwillingness to use the pace available to him on the bench, carrying the England counter-attack was all put on Raheem Sterling’s shoulders. Many would crumble under the weight, but not the #BrentBoy who blitzed Denmark with a staggering 10 completed take-ons!

Some felt that the penalty was a dive from Sterling. “I don’t know why they didn’t ask the ref to take a look,” said Arsene Wenger, who disagreed with the penalty decision, on beIN Sports. “In a moment like that it’s important that the referee is absolutely convinced. It was not clear enough. VAR has let the referee down.”

Others, however, were unconcerned about such things and simply living the euphoria that Sterling delivered. “I’m going to say one name, Raheem Sterling today. He’s attacked this tournament. I believe he was the difference today. I’m delighted for him, I’m delighted for Gareth, I’m delighted for the team, I’m delighted for the whole country.”

Sterling himself was typically understated, evaluating the game with “top performance today.”

Harry Kane – 6 – Another game of moments for England’s captain. His pass for the English equaliser was a thing of beauty, bisecting the Danish defence with extreme prejudice. He was then pretty poor for much of the match, struggling to really impose himself onto the Denmark back-line. And when England needed someone to step up and convert a penalty… he missed! But then he buried the rebound with supreme quickness and put England into the final at Euro 2020 and then was somehow named star of the match. Football, bloody hell!

Substitutes:

Jack Grealish (for Saka 69′) – 7 – Really helped England up the tempo, causing Denmark no end of trouble. Bizarrely subbed off when Gareth Southgate switched shape to a back three. “There’s no doubt Gareth is nasty enough to make those decisions, and we saw that tonight,” said Roy Keane on Southgate’s decision to sub off the Aston Villa man who was barely on the field for half an hour.

Jordan Henderson (for Rice 95′) – 6 – Added some solidity to a midfield that needed it.

Phil Foden (for Mount 95′) – 6 – Looked really bright and lively.

Kieran Trippier (for Grealish 106′) – 5 – Allowed England to change shape.


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Denmark

Kasper Schmeichel – 8 – Absolutely impeccable. The best player inside 90 minutes. Made every save that was asked of him and dominated his area, collecting high balls and crosses with ease. Kept Denmark in the game as best as he possibly could, even saving Harry Kane’s penalty.

Andreas Christensen – 8 – Defended really well but was battling a persistent knock in the second-half. Subbed off.

Simon Kjaer – 8 – Really unlucky to score the own goal but played magnificently besides that. A colossus at the heart of the Danish defence.

Jannik Vestergaard – 7 – Looked the weak link in the Danish defence.

Jens Stryger Larsen – 6 – Worked hard up and down the flank but didn’t really get into the game.

Pierre Emile Hojbjerg – 8 – Battled ceaselessly against the English defence. A massive 6 tackles overpowered the English midfield and prevented England’s dominance from ever really feeling too oppressive even as it was obvious.

Thomas Delaney – 7 – Put in a great effort.

Joakim Maehle – 6 – Was shut down by Bukayo Saka for most of the game. Came alive after Saka left the field but by then it was too late and England were in their rhythm. His failure to impact the game was a massive credit to Southgate’s initial tactical plan.

Mikkel Damsgaard – 7 – Opened the scoring with an absolutely BELTING free-kick and looked a menace in possession but faded badly.

Martin Braithwaite – 7 – A constant threat to England with his movement and passing. The Barcelona man really showed his quality and had he gotten to run at Stones instead of the magnificent Maguire he could have made something happen.

Kasper Dolberg – 6 – Underwhelming as he was mostly denied service.

Substitutes:

Daniel Wass (for Stryger Larsen 68′) – 4 – Got booked early. Didn’t do much else.

Yussuf Poulsen (for Damsgaad 68′) – 5 – Just couldn’t get into the game.

Christian Norgaard (for Dolberg 68′) – 7 – The one Danish sub that worked as he really helped England

Joachim Andersen (for Christensen 79′) – 6 – Came into the defence but didn’t have anything like the class of Christensen.

Mathias Jensen (for Delaney 88′) – 6 – Worked hard.

Jonas Wind (for Vestergaard 105′) – 5 – Came on late but was too isolated.