England 2-1 Netherlands: Player ratings as Three Lions reach final

    Well, that was all a little bit special, wasn’t it? England have had to work hard during this tournament, they’ve had to dig deep, face questions, face a barrage of quite unnerving criticism at times.

    Was that all deserved? It’s hard to dispute that question. Yet, here they stand, here we stand as a proud nation on the verge of something remarkable.

    For the first time in English football history, they are through to the final of a major tournament on foreign soil. They will face Spain on Sunday, hoping to become Euro 2024 champions. They will have to do it against the competition’s best side.

    However, very rarely do the best team win in tournament football. It’s becoming all the more apparent that knock-out games are about moments. Special moments. Oh so special moments. We have lived and breathed them over the last few games.

    Truth be told, Gareth Southgate‘s men should be back at home. Though, they have Jude Bellingham’s overhead kick against Slovakia to thank. They have the heroes of the penalty shootout on Saturday to thank and they now have Ollie Watkins to thank too.


    The Aston Villa star had played just 20 minutes at the Euros this summer against Denmark in the group stages but came up with a simply astonishing moment of individual brilliance in the 91st minute. Turning on a dime, he swivelled and then struck the ball past Bart Verbruggen, sparking euphoria among England’s players.

    Still, there is one last job to do against Luis de la Fuente’s Spain side this weekend. Can they? The nation will hold a collective hope.

    Before that, let’s attempt to do each player justice after Wednesday night’s efforts. Here are our player ratings.


    Jordan Pickford – 6


    The Everton goalkeeper was one of the heroes last weekend, saving Manuel Akanji’s penalty against the Swiss. Didn’t have much to do on this occasion and was beaten by Xavi Simons’ rasping first-half strike.


    Kyle Walker – 6


    Better from the full-back tonight after a few rather inconsistent games at this tournament. Made a fabulously well-timed tackle on Cody Gakpo to stop a run in behind during the second half.


    John Stones – 6


    Another decent performance from one of England’s most consistent players at this tournament. Didn’t have a huge amount to do but stuck with Wout Weghorst and Co well late in the game.


    Marc Guehi – 7


    Very good again from a man who could well go down as England’s Player of the Tournament.


    Kieran Trippier – 5


    Same problems as we’ve had all tournament on the left-hand side. Not high enough and as a result stifled England’s attacking threat. Did okay defensively.


    Kobbie Mainoo – 7


    Brilliant. Southgate deserves praise for finally picking him and the Manchester United teen has repaid him excellently. Ended the game having completed 86% of his passes and won 100% of his duels.


    Declan Rice – 5


    Dispossessed for the goal and made a number of lapse passes. Not the Arsenal man’s finest performance for his country.


    Jude Bellingham – 6


    Struggled again truth be told and was probably lucky not to be hooked when Cole Palmer came on. Still, you know he’s capable of golden moments and he helped England get up the pitch in the second half.


    Bukayo Saka – 7


    Not as bright as he was against the Swiss but still England’s best-looking forward player of those who started. Constantly drove at Nathan Ake and was unfortunate to have a goal ruled out for offside in the second period.


    Phil Foden – 7


    Much better from Foden on Wednesday. The system change has really helped him pick up more pockets of space in the centre of the pitch. Almost scored a beauty from range that struck the post.


    Harry Kane – 6


    Scored a first-half penalty but beyond that, it was another weary performance from the England skipper. Substituted in the second half, a change that ultimately won the game.




    Ollie Watkins – 8

    The rightful Man of the Match. Only needed nine minutes on the field to send England into the final after a brilliant finish. It’s a goal that will go down in folklore.

    Cole Palmer – 7

    Changed the game again with his ability to get on the ball and pick out passes. Grabbed the assist for the winner with an intricate ball in behind the Dutch defence.

    Luke Shaw – 6

    Offered much more of an outlet down the left-hand side than Trippier. Has to start the final, provided he’s fit enough.

    Conor Gallagher & Ezri Konsa – N/A

    Came on too late as Southgate looked to protect a late lead.


    Every England penalty shootout at major tournaments

    After England’s victory over Switzerland, relive all of the Three Lions’ penalty shootouts at major tournaments.

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