Substitute Jack Grealish makes an inspiring cameo off the bench as goals from Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane help England secure a 2-0 win over Germany.
England book their place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Euro 2020 in an emphatic fashion, as they secured a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals Germany at the iconic Wembley Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
It was a tight and tense game, a game laden with political rivalry and tension, further fueled by English fans booing the German national anthem at the start.
As such, both sides started out cautiously, unwilling to take too many risks going forward. Germany exhibited a particularly interesting low-risk method that witnessed even the attackers relying on a host of backpasses. England, in contrast, sat back, looking for the right opportunity to pick the holes in the German defence.
After a goalless first-half, and half an hour more of an evenly contested match-up, England finally found their moment in the 75th minute, when substitute Jack Grealish combined with Luke Shaw who produced an excellent cross for Raheem Sterling.
The Manchester City winger made no mistakes, drawing first blood with a close-range finish that sent the stadium into a frenzy. The joy, though, did not last long as Germany crafted a glorious one-on-one situation for Thomas Muller. Fortunately for the Three Lions, the Bayern Munich attacker failed to convert the opportunity.
It proved to be extremely costly at the end, as England sealed the victory with a rare goal from Harry Kane, in the 88th minute, effectively securing a place in the quarter-final. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a closer look at how both the English and the German players performed in their heated encounter at Wembley this midweek.
Jordan Pickford: 8/10
Jordan Pickford’s astonishing saves to deny Timo Werner and Kai Havertz were among the most crucial points of the game. His save to deny Havertz, in particular, was outrageous as he showed incredibly quick reflexes. The England shot-stopper stepped up when needed, picking up yet another deserved clean sheet.
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 29, 2021
Kyle Walker: 7.5/10
Kyle Walker was solid enough on the right-hand side of the English defence. He stayed deep alongside his partners, not allowing too much freedom for Robin Gosens out wide. His defensive positioning was simply way too good for the opposition, Gosens most of all.
John Stones: 7/10
John Stones played at the heart of the English backline. He wasn’t particularly faultless in defence but put his body on the line for his team when required.
Harry Maguire: 7/10
Much like Stones, it wasn’t particularly a faultless performance from Harry Maguire. However, his physical presence was always a help while the Man United centre-back was a major threat from set-pieces. Looked more and more solid as the game progressed.
Kieran Trippier: 7.5/10
Kieran Trippier was one of the unsung heroes of this England win. He covered the entirety of the right flank pretty much, offering useful crosses out wide as well as containing the threat of Gosens. He has vindicated Gareth Southgate’s trust, becoming his country’s favoured option at right-back.
Luke Shaw: 8.5/10
Luke Shaw started the game slowly but eventually had a blast on the left-hand side. He recovered possession numerous times, often becoming unbeatable in the defensive unit while playing a key role going forward as well, notably securing the assist for Sterling’s opener. The Man United star deserves a lot of credit for his improvement over the past couple of years.
Luke Shaw! What a revenge for him. Mourinho! With all due respect! His performance lately is “in your face”
— Jan Aage Fjortoft 🏳️🌈 🇳🇴 (@JanAageFjortoft) June 29, 2021
Kalvin Phillips: 7/10
Kalvin Phillips wasn’t particularly outstanding in the middle of the park for England. However, the Leeds United midfielder offered a good work rate and picked out intelligent passes. His stamina is indeed an asset, largely thanks to a certain Marcelo Bielsa.
Declan Rice: 7.5/10
Declan Rice played a vital role in the second line of press for the Three Lions. His defensive positioning prevented the opposition from making too much impact from the middle. The West Ham United star is grooming into an ideal long-term replacement for Jordan Henderson.
Bukayo Saka: 7.5/10
Bukayo Saka was one of England’s best players in the first half, wriggling through tight spaces. His influence, though, faded as the game progressed.
Harry Kane: 6.5/10
Harry Kane astonishingly had only two touches on the ball until the 29th minute. He was anonymous for the most part of the game, but stepped up to the plate at the death, latching on to the cross from Grealish to seal the win for his side.
Raheem Sterling: 9/10
Raheem Sterling was definitely the player of the match for the home side. He kept finding pockets of space in the German defence throughout the game, making the desired impact in the 75th minute by scoring the opener. His trickery on the ball made it difficult for Matthias Ginter to establish himself in his position, which, in turn, led to a lack of support for Joshua Kimmich.
Raheem Sterling's game by numbers vs. #GER
100% shot accuracy
6 ball recoveries
6 duels won
4 touches in the opp box
3 take-ons completed
2 tackles made
Raheem the Dream. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/xOe98lWIYo
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 29, 2021
Jack Grealish: 8/10
Jack Grealish changed the complexion of the game after coming on for Saka during the midway point of the second half. He had a part to play in the build-up to Sterling’s goal while assisting Kane’s late strike.
Jack Grealish for England at the Euros:
Most carries into the final third
Most carries into the 18-yard-box
Most fouls drawn
— bet365 (@bet365) June 29, 2021
Jordan Henderson: N/A
A late replacement for Rice. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Manuel Neuer: 6/10
While Pickford was performing very well on the opposite flank, Manuel Neuer’s disastrous Euro 2020 continued, even though the goalkeeper couldn’t have done anything to save either of the two goals. He did, however, keep out Sterling’s long-range effort in the first half.
Matthias Ginter: 4/10
Matthias Ginter was by far the weakest link in the German backline. He looked shaky in his defensive contributions and had to walk on a tightrope after being booked in the 25th minute. Certainly not good enough for his level.
Mats Hummels: 7/10
Mats Hummels was undisputedly the best performer for Germany in this game. He made one goal-saving tackle on Kane in the first half and looked rather comfortable for the most part. Unfortunately, the veteran centre-back could not deal with the cross of Shaw for Sterling’s goal, allowing England to seal a late win.
How did hummels clear that he wasn't even in the frame pic.twitter.com/sy99zwWFwV
— Bryan (@Classy_Kimmich) June 29, 2021
Antonio Rudiger: 6/10
Antonio Rudiger didn’t look particularly bad in the defensive unit for Germany. He kept the opposition quiet but he was nowhere near convincing enough. He did initiate a late turnover that led to Thomas Muller’s excellent opportunity.
Joshua Kimmich: 4/10
Joshua Kimmich had a shocker against England, as he struggled to impose his authority on the right-hand side. He majorly looked like a misfit, having problems especially without the optimum support from Ginter.
Toni Kroos: 6.5/10
Toni Kroos was perhaps the pick of the German midfielders. The Real Madrid veteran recovered possession well, looking rather composed on the ball. However, the lack of support around him played a key factor in the defeat.
Leon Goretzka: 5/10
Leon Goretzka could not vindicate Joachim Loew’s decision to start him over Ilkay Gundogan. He faltered miserably, offering nothing to the table, especially up against the likes of Rice and Phillips.
Robin Gosens: 3/10
Robin Gosens was one of the least active players for Die Mannschaft in this encounter. He was nowhere to be seen at all, after being marked out of the game by Walker and Trippier. Should not have played as long as he did.
Kai Havertz: 6/10
Kai Havertz had a mixed performance against England. He offered decent ball progression, often looking for breakthroughs in the final third. At the same time, though, he was very frustrating to watch, struggling to craft anything for a large period of the second half.
Thomas Muller: 1/10
Thomas Muller was culpable for missing a late opportunity that could have helped Germany equalise things. Even apart from the miss, the Bayern Munich star looked very shaky, giving away possession multiple times and offering very little creativity going forward.
— Lovefootball.ng (@lovefootballng) June 29, 2021
Timo Werner: 6/10
It was a questionable decision to start Timo Werner ahead of Serge Gnabry. The move didn’t pay off either as the Chelsea forward missed a decent scoring opportunity, though he did provide good movements upfront.
Serge Gnabry: 4/10
Gnabry finally came on in the 68th minute, replacing Werner. He did not offer anything to the table during the final stretch of the game. Instead, he conceded possession in midfield that led to England’s second goal.
Emre Can: N/A
A late replacement for Ginter. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Leroy Sane: N/A
A late replacement for Gosens. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Jamal Musiala: N/A
A late replacement for Muller. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.