Harry Kane, Jack Grealish and Declan Rice impressed but England were held to a 1-1 draw in a FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers tie on Wednesday
In what turned out to be an all round frustrating game, England dominated the proceedings for large parts without really threatening Wojciech Szczesny in the Poland goal. In fact, the 31-year-old just had to make a couple of straightforward saves, with most of England’s efforts being rather wasteful.
The breakthrough finally came with 18 minutes left in regulation time, as Harry Kane unleashed a fiercely driven shot from 30 yards out that slammed into the bottom right corner. Poland then probed a little as they looked for a way back into the game and they were rewarded for their efforts late on.
In a moment wherein most of England’s players simply switched off, Robert Lewandowski sent in a cross from the left side of the box before Damian Szymanski headed in from point-blank range to earn a 1-1 draw for Poland. The result means England have dropped points for the first time in FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers and The Hard Tackle runs the rule over Gareth Southgate’s men.
Jordan Pickford: 6/10
A nervy display by Pickford, who nearly gifted Poland the equaliser before they eventually scored the goal themselves in injury time. Otherwise, he was decent enough, making three straightforward saves, although his distribution was not that accurate.
Kyle Walker: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Walker, who was a tad bit wasteful at times in the attacking phases. The 31-year-old did get the assist for the goal that Kane scored but that was created almost entirely by the England captain. Switched off late on to allow Robert Lewandowski to drift out and cross the ball in for the equaliser. Has to do better.
John Stones: 7/10
Along with Harry Maguire, Stones formed a solid central defensive partnership for the umpteenth time. The 27-year-old dealt with the threat of Lewandowski astutely, winning three duels while making two clearances, a block and an interception. Not at fault for the equaliser.
Harry Maguire: 7/10
A near faultless performance by Maguire, who hardly ever puts a foot wrong in England colours. The senior central defender was not called into action much but was equal to whatever Poland tried to throw at him. Managed to be reliable with the ball at his feet, completing 49 of the 53 passes he attempted.
Luke Shaw: 7/10
As solid as ever from Shaw, who worked incredibly hard on both ends of the pitch. While he did not create chances galore in the final third, the left-back was a constant outlet and is starting link up well with Jack Grealish. At the back, he was reliable for the most part, although he could not stop Damian Szymanski from scoring the equaliser.
Declan Rice: 8/10
Against Poland, Rice was quite the colossus, as he hardly ever allowed the hosts to get on top of him in the middle of the park, forcing them to bypass him when they looked to charge forward. Solid on the ball as well, the 22-year-old completed 91 percent of his attempted passes. Making the holding midfield spot his own for years to come.
Kalvin Phillips: 7/10
📸 – Phillips decided to pass this to Sterling instead of Kane… pic.twitter.com/vpuWOfy9dj
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) September 8, 2021
A boisterous display by Phillips, who looked to be the disrupting quantity in the middle of the park for England. Along with Rice, the 25-year-old combined for a solid midfield partnership, although on the ball, he lacked imagination and even spurned a chance to release Kane once. Needs to better his output on the ball, especially when he has the ability to do so.
Raheem Sterling: 7/10
A typically energetic performance by Sterling, who here, there and everywhere. The 26-year-old even dropped deep at times to help Kyle Walker in the defensive phases while also carrying the ball forward with purpose. Played a couple of key passes as well, but could not manage to find the back of the net this time.
Mason Mount: 6/10
One of those days when nothing Mount tried came off. The young playmaker just could not manage to create the openings as he usually does. While he misplaced only three passes all game, most of his passing was of the “low risk low reward” kind. Instead, he aimed a fair few shots at goal, though he never really forced a save out of Wojciech Szczesny.
Jack Grealish: 8/10
From one perspective, Grealish’s performance was one full of frustration as he was clipped a few times while his tendency to fall down easily also came to the fore. However, at times, the former Aston Villa captain was the only player trying to make things happen, as suggested by his joint game-high two key passes. Really deserved an assist for that performance.
Harry Kane: 8/10
Harry Kane has scored in each of his last 15 World Cup and European Championship qualifying games.
Outrageous. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/bdLk5lFLGR
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 8, 2021
Wednesday’s performance was not really Harry Kane at his best. In fact, the England captain flitted in and out of the game quite regularly and managed just two shots in the entire game. However, one of those shots ended up in the back of the net courtesy a sumptuous finish, which is a mark of how great a striker Kane really is, as he stepped up when the chips were down.