England secured their spot in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 victory over rivals Wales.
The Three Lions went into the game knowing a draw would have been enough to seal passage and for the first half it looked as though that would come, with England struggling to break down a frustrating Welsh defence.
But Gareth Southgate’s men turned things up a gear in the second half, with two goals from Marcus Rashford either side of a Phil Foden effort enough to seal top spot while also knocking Wales out.
Here’s how the players rated at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium:
Danny Ward – 4 – In for the suspended Wayne Hennessey, it looked as though he would bring his late Leicester form into the tournament with a great stop on Rashford in the first half. But then early-season Ward showed up as he was well-beaten by Rashford’s free-kick, taking a step the wrong way, and then allowed the Man Utd man’s second effort to squeeze through his legs.
Neco Williams – 5 – Didn’t really do anything wrong but wasn’t involved too much before having to come off with a head injury.
Chris Mepham – 4 – Wasn’t noticed too much in the first half as England struggled to test but was overrun in the second. Did produce a decent sliding block on Bellingham’s shot when he was trying to make it 4-0 but that was the highlight of his performance.
Joe Rodon – 4 – Not the best performance over the full 90 minutes as England’s quality eventually won out.
Ben Davies – 4 – Stood fairly resolute with the rest of his defence in the first half but that was more due to England’s lack of quality in attack. Let things slip after half time and he was dispossessed by Rashford very high up the pitch in the build up to Foden’s goal.
Aaron Ramsey – 6 – Much like the rest of his teammates, Ramsey dropped out in the second half but he was quite good in the first, helping Wales keep some control of the midfield.
Ethan Ampadu – 6 – Arguably one of Wales’ best players across the tournament, the utility man appears to have found a home in the midfield role.
Joe Allen – 6 – Good in the first half but his lack of match fitness really showed after the break.
Gareth Bale – 4 – You wouldn’t even know Bale was on the pitch, giving how isolated he was in the match. Managed just seven touches, with no player having fewer, in his 45 minutes on the pitch before being taken off at half time with a suspected injury. Could that be his international career over? Apparently not, with Bale saying post-match that he intends to continue.
Kieffer Moore – 5 – Took until the 55th minute for Moore to get his first real action of the match with a long-range shot deflected by Maguire to force a save. But he wasn’t the threat England needed him to be.
Daniel James – 5 – Like Bale had just seven touches in the first half, but with his first real action of the second he curled a ball just past the far post. Still wasn’t good enough for Wales in attack.
Connor Roberts (for Williams 36) – 4 – A forced sub for Wales, Roberts struggled to match the quality that Williams had and was run ragged by England’s wingers.
Brennan Johnson (for Bale 45) – 5 – Couldn’t really make much difference after coming on at half-time.
Joe Morrell (for Davies 59) – 4 – The game was done by the time Morrell came on but he couldn’t help Wales build anything in midfield.
Harry Wilson (for James 77) – 5 – Didn’t have too much time to make an impact on the game.
Rubin Colwill (for Allen 81) – N/A – A late sub.
Jordan Pickford – 6 – Great stop on Moore’s deflected shot in the second half but didn’t really have to do much else.
Kyle Walker – 7 – Making his first appearance at the World Cup coming in for Trippier, Walker showed why he would be Southgate’s first-choice right-back with a solid performance. He’ll expect to be starting ahead of Trippier for the rest of England’s tournament.
John Stones – 7 – Alongside the rest of the England defence, Stones had a relatively easy night but he still had to be alert to keep their sheet clean. Should have made it four, but fired over from very close range.
Harry Maguire – 7 – Got forward a lot in the first half and was perhaps one of England’s better attacking outlets, but he was just missing the support (we won’t say anything about that shot). But like Stones he too had to make sure Wales left the match without a goal.
Luke Shaw – 7 – Perhaps not as attacking as he would normally be as England suffered in the first half, but this was another good display from Shaw.
Jordan Henderson – 6 – The Liverpool man was a passenger of sorts in the first half but his experience showed after half time as England took control. He probably won’t start come Sunday, mind you.
Declan Rice – 7 – This was another good performance from Rice which showed why he is one of the first names on Southgate’s team sheet.
Jude Bellingham – 8 – Another one of the first names on Southgate’s team sheet, it’s hard to envision an England team without Bellingham in the midfield. Southgate is still trying to figure out where Bellingham works best but he makes it so easy to be picked regardless. The future is now.
Phil Foden – 8 – Had a slow start to the game but he was stifled slightly by being stuck out on the right and the less said about his set pieces the better. But at half time Southgate switched him over to the left where he thrived. It was Foden who won the free-kick for Rashford’s opener with an excellent run, though he probably went down a bit too easily. He then got his goal with a good run at the back post to get onto the end of Kane’s ball, making it 2-0.
Harry Kane – 7 – Back in his playmaking role, it actually worked for Kanes because he had two willing runners in Rashford and Foden, happy to get central and fill the gap left by the England captain. Could have had an assist in the first half with an excellent pass to Rashford but did get one for his testing ball across goal for Foden.
Marcus Rashford – 9 – Missed an opportunity in the first half when he really should have beaten Ward, but he didn’t let that affect him too much making some good runs in the first half. Put England ahead with a wonderful free-kick, the first direct free-kick scored at the World Cup and then won the ball very high up the pitch for Foden’s goal. Capped off the win with good work for England’s third of the game and 100th overall in World Cups, beating Ward at his near post. Taken off with 15 minutes to play, most likely to be rested for his start against Senegal on Sunday.
Callum Wilson (for Kane 57) – 6 – A good option for Southgate to have off the bench and he already has a good understanding with his fellow attackers.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (for Walker 57) – 6 – Decent without being anything too spectacular. It is bizarre that Southgate cannot find a way to get him into his England team.
Kalvin Phillips (for Rice 58) – 6 – Ensured England didn’t miss Rice in this substitution, helping them keep control.
Kieran Trippier (for Shaw 65) – 5 – Unfortunately not as good as Shaw and he may now have lost his right-back spot.
Jack Grealish (for Rashford 76) – 6 – Caused some problems as we know he can when the game was stretched.