England sealed bragging rights after running out 1-0 winners over the auld enemy Australia this evening.
It wasn’t cricket or rugby but the ninth meeting in the arena of football. With this summer’s Ashes — which saw the five test series tied but the Aussies retaining the urn — still fresh in the memory this was an opportune moment for sporting revenge or another seismic win.
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Two decades removed from their famous 3-1 win at Upton Park, the Socceroos were seeking another upset and in a scrappy affair it was Gareth Southgate’s men who came out victorious through Ollie Watkins’ fourth goal for the Three Lions.
Here’s how the players rated at Wembley:
Sam Johnstone – 6 – A rare outing for the Crystal Palace goalkeeper, who was called into action early on when a Keanu Baccus shot took a flick off Tomori. Johnstone did brilliantly to parry it away.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6.5 – Playing in this now-familiar hybrid role, the Liverpool full-back-cum-midfielder saw the ball as much as anyone representing the hosts.
Lewis Dunk – 6 – Made a brilliant block to deny Strain following a scintillating Australian counter.
Fikayo Tomori – 5 – A first England appearance since a goalless draw with Italy in June 2022 for the Milan defender.
Levi Colwill – 5.5 – An interesting debut for the Chelsea youngster who started nervously, even picking up a yellow card, before settling into the swing of things.
Jordan Henderson – 5 – The most experienced of England’s starters. Though eyebrows continue to be raised at his inclusion, Henderson nevertheless is seen as a necessary presence by the Three Lions boss.
Conor Gallagher – 5 – Although playing alongside Henderson in central midfield, the Chelsea man was encouraged to get forward as often as possible.
Jarrod Bowen – 5.5 – Handed an opportunity to stake another claim as Bukayo Saka’s understudy, but didn’t fully grab it despite his best efforts.
James Maddison – 6 – With his club boss in attendance, Maddison was glad to see the flag go up after ballooning the ball high and wide midway through the opening half.
Jack Grealish – 6.5 – Back in the side having missed the September fixtures through injury. Grealish was energetic throughout and unfortunate not to get himself on the scoresheet.
Ollie Watkins – 7 – Another seeking to offer Southgate an alternative but needed the performance to match. Watkins came really close to putting England in front after rounding Ryan but his effort struck the post. But you can’t keep a good striker down, and the Villa striker was in the right place to steer in a Grealish shot that was going wide into the net.
Marcus Rashford (for Grealish 61) – 5 – A chance to put his recent club struggles behind him but Rashford never had a sniff on goal.
Kieran Trippier (for Henderson 61) – 5 – His introduction saw Alexander-Arnold move into central midfield.
Kalvin Phillips (for Gallagher 61) – 5 – He can’t quite break into Pep Guardiola’s team but Phillips, much like Henderson, remains a key part of Southgate’s set-up.
John Stones (for Tomori 61) – 5 – Returning to international duty after spending time on the sidelines.
Phil Foden (for Maddison 73) – N/A – A late sub.
Eddie Nketiah (for Watkins 73) – N/A – A late sub.
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Mathew Ryan – 5 – Kicking himself that he didn’t keep a clean sheet.
Ryan Strain – 4.5 – On debut was tasked with keeping tabs on the mercurial Jack Grealish, which proved to be easier said than done.
Harry Souttar – 6 – A presence in the Australian backline often standing firm, making crucial tackles and clearances.
Cameron Burgess – 5 – Very fortunate not to have come off worse following a late Gallagher challenge.
Kye Rowles – 4.5 – Fired a shot over the crossbar following an Australian corner.
Keanu Baccus – 5 – Had the first real opportunity on goal for Australia but his effort was superbly denied by Johnstone in the England goal.
Jackson Irvine – 3.5 – The more conservative of Australia’s two holding midfielders Irvine seldom featured on the front foot and was booked late on.
Connor Metcalfe – 5 – Operating in a deep-lying forward role Metcalfe was often isolated and whenever in possession there weren’t enough gold jerseys around him.
Martin Boyle – 4.5 – Starting on the right flank of Australia’s midfield, Boyle had moments going forward but admittedly his focus was restricting any English momentum.
Mitchell Duke – 5 – Came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock.
Craig Goodwin – 5 – Stationed on the Aussie left wing Goodwin nearly had a moment running into free space but was cynically brought down by Gallagher.
Brandon Borrello (for Strain 74) – N/A – A late sub.
Lewis Miller (for Goodwin 74) – N/A – A late sub.
Jordan Bos (for Duke 74) – N/A – A late sub.
Aziz Behich (for Rowles 83) – N/A – A late sub.
Awer Mabil (for Boyle 83) – N/A – A late sub.
Mohamed Toure (for Metcalfe 90) – N/A – A late sub.