England are going to the world cup! We can look forward to a last 16 exit in Brazil courtesy of penalties and a possibly dodgy decision the entire English media picks up on as the source of our failure. The three lions made it to the finals thanks to a 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley. Here’s how the players rated.
Joe Hart. Very little to do but saved well from a Robert Lewandowski one on one. Can take comfort in the fact the last two games have been error-free. 6
Chris Smalling. All the pre-match talk was why Phil Jones – who also isn’t a right back- hadn’t been chosen over Smalling who isn’t a right back. The United man put the doubters to shame with a superb performance, after a few early nervy passes, Smalling settled into the role and was one of England’s best performers on the night. Better than Kyle Walker was against Montenegro. 8
Phil Jagielka. Decent enough, but there were times when England looked a little out of sorts at the back and you cannot escape the feeling he’s not quite at the level needed to really progress in Brazil. 6
Gary Cahill. Like Jagielka, the Chelsea man did okay without ever really erasing the doubts many of us have about England’s defence. Blocked well from a Polish shot early in the second half. 6
Leighton Baines. Always looking to get forward- especially in the first half when his pin point cross was converted by Wayne Rooney for England’s opener. Some of his passing was sublime, but there were the occasional poor ones. ‘Occasional’ being the operative word. 8
Michael Carrick. How is this man not an England regular? Superb throughout his 70 odd minutes – the decision to substitute him was baffling. Controlled the game and found his man every time. A joy to watch as per. 8
Steven Gerrard. Offered very little but earned his goal through sheer tenacity and did provide a few good crosses. 6
Andros Townsend. Theo who? Townsend picked up where he left off on Friday, with another superb performance in an England shirt, simply has to be on he plane to Brazil. Bombed forward at every opportunity and hit the bar with a stunning long range effort. 8
Danny Welbeck. Snatched at some first half chances and got the ball stuck under his feet, but still played his part, tracking back, winning possession and moving the ball forward. Was a constant thorn in Poland’s side and made up for his profligacy with his work rate. 7
Daniel Sturridge. Deary me, talk about believing his own hype. Easily the greediest player I’ve ever seen in an England shirt- makes Alan Shearer look shot-shy. Not once did the Liverpool man look up to see where his team mates were, simply always tried to shoot no matter how remote the possibility of scoring. Selfish performance that deserved the subbing he got. 5
Wayne Rooney. Come back Wazza all is forgiven. Yet again Rooney took a qualifier by the scruff of the neck and completely dominated it. Found his touch, passing range and got on the scoresheet, if he continues this form in Brazil we may have a chance – at the quarterfinals. 9
Subs : Frank Lampard [for Carrick]. Gave the ball away, got booked, moaned at the ref, awful decision to bring him on for the excellent Carrick that was proven to be the folly it was. 4
Jack Wilsere [for Sturridge] Didn’t get injured which is a start, little time to do anything of note. 5
James Milner [ for Townsend] Don’t get the Milner hatred, he’s a model pro who’s worked his way up the football ladder to win titles and England caps. Too brief a cameo to really rate though. N/A.