Will Jones writes about football. When he's not doing that he's a  filmmaker  and occasional stand-up comedian.  Jones is an Arsenal fan. It's his cross, he bears it.

Will Jones writes about football. When he's not doing that he's a filmmaker and occasional stand-up comedian.

Jones is an Arsenal fan. It's his cross, he bears it.

Will Almond is also a Will, and also writes about football. What a world.  Almond is a Leeds fan, so he's just cross - largely down to years of boardroom ineptitude.

Will Almond is also a Will, and also writes about football. What a world.

Almond is a Leeds fan, so he's just cross - largely down to years of boardroom ineptitude.

England player ratings vs Sweden…sort of

England player ratings vs Sweden…sort of

Maguire and Pickford - Foul Throw.jpg

On Saturday afternoon, 8th July 2018, Gareth Southgate’s young England side overcame a dogged Sweden outfit to reach the nation’s first World Cup semi-final since 1990.

It’s fair to say that so far, the lads have been decent.

Jordan Pickford

We worried about his distribution and his risk taking with the ball at his feet. We concerned ourselves about his tendency to parry shots back into dangerous areas.

We needn’t have (he obviously let hat one in against Belgium on purpose for a more favourable draw).

Jordan Pickford…Man of the match. Man of the moment. Or should that be Mackem?

Kyle Walker

Sweden had their chances in the second half, but as they pushed so hard to get back into the game that was always going to happen. 

On the occasions when the men in yellow could fashion shooting opportunities, Pickford invariably stood firm. But generally, the England back line were solid and Walker’s pace was integral to that. He’s growing into his new role more with every game.

Also, great tweet post match.

https://twitter.com/kylewalker2/status/1015629039103401985 

John Stones

Has become this England team’s defensive general. Is tidy in possession, seemingly always well positioned, and provides a goal threat at set pieces.

Good on you, John.

Harry Maguire

Everyone’s favourite bit-part actor in The Bill is taking Russia by storm. His goal put England into a semi-final; he’s the kind of rugged, all-action defender England loves; and is evidently a hit with the ladies.

Bobby Moore + James Bond = Harry Maguire. No arguments.

Kieran Trippier

The man the camera operator always struggles to keep in frame during the national anthem. You can almost feel him scrambling to adjust.

Whilst Trippier may often appear to be absent during the pre-match pleasantries, he never goes missing during the match. Let’s just remember he’s a touch vertically challenged and not stick him on the back post for corners, eh?

Ashley Young

Was perhaps a surprise to see him start given how exhausted Tuesday night clearly left him, but old-man-Young was at it once again and constantly a threat down the left.

It’s worth remembering that throughout both the 2015/16 and 16/17 Premier League seasons, Young was a bit part player at Old Trafford and his career was almost certainly declining gently into irrelevancy and retirement. Last season though, the 32-year-old reinvented his game, became a starter for United once more and forced his way into a World Cup squad for the first time in his career. Which is amazing.

Jordan Henderson

Harry Kane is England’s captain, Henderson is their leader though. 

The Liverpool skipper was a giant in midfield once more and it’s impossible not notice that all that ‘only passes sideways’, ‘defensive liability’ and ‘he runs funny’ stuff has disappeared. Presumably it’s retreated far up Alex Ferguson’s arse.

Jesse Lingard

Better against Sweden than Colombia. Found Dele Alli with a wonderful lofted ball for the second goal, and generally caused havoc with his relentless running and smart pressing.

Might have made more of some counter attack opportunities late on with better decision making, but we’re not going to mark him down for that. 

Also, his mum was at the game and surprised her son at the final whistle. There was a hug. We’re not crying. You are. 

Dele Alli

Still not 100%, but again, an improvement from his showing against Colombia and he took his goal well. Frankly, we’re just chuffed he wasn’t suspended for this round given the provocations of the South Americans. Before the tournament, Foul Throw was convinced that if one player were to let this Three Lions side down by getting a needless red card it would be Dele Alli. So far we’ve been proved dead wrong. Which is nice.

Raheem Sterling

Was put clean through on goal twice. First time he was offside so we are just going to discount that now. Second time he tried to round the ‘keeper who got a vital hand to the ball, then Sterling hesitated and was crowded out. He should have done better.

BUT…The Manchester City man had a great game overall, and is probably the player those Sweden defenders will be most glad to see the back of. He stretched the defence, created chances and worked hard to make things happen.

Of course, all that amounted to him once again being rated lowest of all the England players by the fans who voted on the BBC Player Rater. For his performance, Sterling was given a score of 5.23 (Eric Dier scored 6.05 and Fabian Delph got 6.06 - neither played more than 20 minutes of the match). 

In fact, Sterling has come bottom of the BBC Player Ratings, as determined by fans, in each of the 4 games he has played in at the tournament so far. This is obviously ridiculous, and to argue it has nothing to do with the sustained media (The Sun and Daily Mail, we’re glaring at you) agenda that has hounded Sterling for the last year or two is facile. 

Sterling certainly looks low on confidence in front of goal right now. We can hardly help.

Get behind Sterling, we need him.

Harry Kane

Didn’t score, but we all saw him have a quick word with Maguire before that corner and he surely said ‘here you are mate, you have this one.’

It was another disciplined and measured performance from the captain who really does look to be inspiring his side, and indeed the whole country.

Arise…

 

In a return to the norm, we’re not doing the subs. Which is a good thing because it means the game didn’t go to extra time. Because England won 2-0 inside 90 minutes. To get to a World Cup semi-final.

Let’s not beat around the bush. It’s coming home.

England Player Ratings vs Croatia… sort of

England Player Ratings vs Croatia… sort of

Quarter-final previews

Quarter-final previews