England player ratings vs Colombia... sort of
1-1. 4-3. 0 red cards. 14 players. 3 lions. There were enough numbers in that game. So here are some words about those boys in red instead.
Jordan Picked-for penalties? Well, not really, actually. Yes, he made a brilliant save from Bacca’s penalty, and went the right way for Uribe’s which thumped the bar. Everton were quick to point out on Twitter his penalty saving form. But he was excellent throughout, including a brilliant save from Uribe’s viciously dipping shot. Distribution was solid too – certainly the ideas, even if not always 100% the execution.
Tough performance to rate that. He was excellent for 92.5 minutes, a constant threat going forward and solid defensively. But then he got cute. (I know, I know, he’s always cute isn’t he? With his straight hairline and single expression of wide-eyed, dogged determination.) But he tried to get too cute with that header and flick it behind for a corner rather than back out into the danger area.
Maguire really does look like he’ll soon be able to follow Jamie Vardy in giving up his part-time job (as an actor on The Bill) and go full-time in the Premier League. Another assured performance. His running with the ball out from the back was nearly as impressive as his aerial prowess in this match. The header he didn’t actually win might have been his most important contribution though, doing just enough to put off Falcao in extra time.
John Stones did what he had to do. He stopped Falcao. He passed it well. John Stones is a man who does what he has to do. He is John Stones. Maybe this is the greatest compliment you can pay an English centre back at the World Cup.
If Phil Jones is the man whose face doesn’t fit, then Kyle Walker is surely the man whose voice just doesn’t fit the rest of him. Whether he fits in this team is surely still an open question too. He did great work covering Colombia counters in the first half. He also, though, executed a carbon copy of his error against Wigan which cost City in the FA Cup and nearly cost England.
Along with Harry Maguire, handled Cuadrado brilliantly. Some decent set-piece deliveries but nothing earth-shattering. A calm, confident and intelligent performance from England’s elder statesman.
We briefly interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a personal apology from Will Almond, one half of the Foul Throw team, for this prediction from June 14th:
“Who is most likely to miss a vital penalty? Almond: It would be incredibly easy to just write down an England player here. So I think I will. Yes, that’s what I’m going to do. Jordan Henderson. Next.”
Twenty-eight words, a hundred and forty-seven characters, one act of treasonous sabotage. To misquote The Thick of It, ‘I cannot deny that my name is on [that post] and yet I do not recognise that man. It is me and yet it is another…. This has been a humbling moment in my quest to become the man I know I can be.’
My only other defence is to ask whether it was vital if England won anyway – if a penalty falls in the woods etc. Just be assured I felt appropriately sick for roughly three minutes. Sorry Jordan. Sorry England.
Anyway, he was generally tidy although as with a lot of the England midfield was probably better out of possession than in it. And he missed a penalty. Regardless of the quality of the kick itself we all know that a penalty is good if it goes in and bad if it misses.
Given a difficult job against a midfield who looked to hack at him at every opportunity. The player in an England shirt who often looks the most likely to make something happen in the midfield.
Better than expected, not as good as hoped? He was certainly committed. You could see that from his defensive work. He tracked back well and communicated constantly without diving into too many reckless challenges. We at Foul Throw want to owe Dele Alli an apology for unanimously naming him as the England player most likely to get sent off. But there’s still Sweden.
Could it be that he only thing stopping him diving in was the strapping on his own thigh? Maybe, but that seems harsh. A disciplined if slightly stodgy performance probably hampered by injury.
Sterling was clearly asked to do a job. No, not professional footballer. No, not perfect human being, although that is asked of him by some. Not even spin doctor, although again, he’s now presumably fully prepared for a life after football.
He seemed to be asked to hassle and harry as much as he was asked to get on the ball. He did that relatively well, and showed flashes of his talent when he was able to get on it. His end product was largely poor.
Six. Sex. Sechs. Chwech. Sitta. Golden. Boot.
It’s not just the goals (penalties) though is it? He also showed the vision of a leader and the precision passing of a Tory Minister holding the blame. Expert. If he dropped very deep at times that looked like a plan rather than a loss of focus.
Just as England broke with tradition last night, so will we, and do subs. There were four of them and they were on for much longer last night. Two of them scored from the spot in the shoot-out too.
England’s worst player on the night stepped up when he had to.
Very nearly made the difference when he fired only just wide from a very difficult chance in extra time. Wasn’t as energetic as against Belgium, but looked solid enough. Didn't do enough to unseat Young.
Mr Leicester did what everyone expected his club to do in 2015. Threaten, hassle and harry but ultimately fall away. He’s an instinctive player and at times it looked like the England shirt weighed heavy when it came to pulling the trigger. This was especially true of the chance in extra-time from a tight angle where he opted not to hit it first time. Is it telling he didn't take a penalty?
Made his major contribution from the spot. Emphatically.
A mention, finally, for two men not on the pitch. The first, Gareth Southgate. He knew, didn’t he? ‘We’re ready for penalties.’ He knew. Find me a charity shop; I need a waistcoat. The second, Ruben Loftus-Cheek. I’m not quite sure what the man has to do to get into this team. Still, see above I suppose. In-Gareth-we-trust.