Wayne Rooney made his return to the England squad in style, scoring the winning goal for the Three Lions in a 1-0 victory over co-hosts Ukraine. Here, we take a look at how the players fared at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk on Tuesday night.
Joe Hart – 7
Hart was rarely tested during the whole game as his defenders in front of him did their job well, which restricted the co-hosts to shoot from distance and most of their shots were way off target. Hart did have to be alert to make a fantastic one-handed save from a swerving Konoplyanka effort and managed to get a hand on Devic’s goal-bound shot, which gave Terry enough time to make a goal-line clearance.
Glen Johnson – 6
The Liverpool full back is often criticized for being poor defensively and he nothing in the game to change that. Konoplyanka ha d a very fun time of the right of the England defence against Johnson and cut inside him too easily, which allowed the Ukrainian winger to swing in several dangerous crosses and fire off a few shots from range. As an attacking threat, Johnson was muted and was unable to create sort of impact on the game.
John Terry – 7.5
Terry was the rock at the heart at the England defence. He played crucial part in maintaining a clean sheet for his side with a fantastic goal line clearance to deny Devic. He was on hand to make several vital interceptions and was literally unbeatable in the air.
Joleon Lescott – 7
Like Terry, Lescott was literally unbeatable in the air and headed away many Ukraine crosses in his own box. He is developing a decent partnership with Terry in the heart of the England but at times he was beaten for pace and looked slightly slow on the ground. His real test of ability will come against more tougher oppositions in the knockout stages of the competition.
Ashley Cole – 6.5
The Chelsea defender was troubled by Ukraine’s wing play and was battling Yarmolenko throughout the game. Although Cole managed to win some battles, he allowed his direct opponent too much time and space to cut in and shoot on several occasions. The left-back did manage to get forward on few occasion and almost scored his first ever England goal with a half-volley which was well saved by Pyatov.
James Milner (Sub Off 70′) – 6
Milner is only in the side because of his high workrate and because he provides defensive cover for the suspect Johnson. Going forward Milner is never going be a threat like Ashley Young or Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, so its like asking too much from him to be a creative outlet for England. Nonetheless, Miner did his duties very well and helped Johnson a lot, but he was unable to offer much going forward.
Scott Parker – 7.5
Parker was one of the best England players on the field. He was brave and strong in challenge and literally put his whole body on the line to stop Ukraine. He earned raucous cheers for blocking a cross with his face in the closing stages. He may not be the most technically gifted player in the England squad but gives his everything when playing for his country.
Steven Gerrard – 8
The England captain was once again influential in guiding his country to victory. He led his side from the front and was at times seen shouting instructions to his players which kept them disciplined and organised. He was also dangerous when he got forward and one of his forward forays eventually led to England’s goal, after he burst past Selin on the right and drilled a cross for Rooney to head in.
Ashley Young – 7
Like the previous game, Young start on the left but this time he was more effective and a threat for the Ukrainian defence. He often used his pace well to beat Gusev before sending in quality crosses for his forwards. His crosses were of top quality with the right amount of dip, swerve and power which made them a nightmare to deal with. He was unfortunate not to get an assist to his name.
Wayne Rooney (Sub Off 87′) – 7
Most of the pre-match focus was on the return of Wayne Rooney to the England starting XI and what kind of impact he would have. The United forward answered that question by scoring winner. He rusty at times and missed a glorious chance from 6 yards in the first half but he was a constant threat upfront for the Ukrainian defence.
Danny Welbeck (Sub Off 82′)- 6.5
Welbeck was selected ahead of Carroll to start this game because his understanding with his United teammates Rooney and Young. The young striker was unable to make much of a telling contribution in the game, although his hold-up play was good and his understanding with Rooney looked promising.
Theo Walcott (Sub On 70′) – 3
Came on as a substitute in the second half for Milner and with 20 minutes to play against the tired Ukrainian defence, Walcott had no impact on the game at all. He failed to create any sort of impact and hardly touched the ball.
Andy Carroll (Sub On 82′) – N/A
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Sub On 87′) – N/A
Andriy Paytov – 4
It was a night to forget for the Ukrainian keeper as his horrendous mistake led to Rooney scoring the winner. He looked very nervy in the first half but improved after conceding the goal in the second half and made a couple of smart saves to deny England scoring more goals.
Oleg Gusev – 7
Gusev put in a tireless shift down the right side for the co-hosts and managed do very well combining his defensive duty of marking his pacey opponent in Ashley Young and at the same time providing an attacking outlet for his side down the right.
Yevhen Khacheridi – 7
Khacheridi had the huge task of dealing with Wayne Rooney and managed to put in a respectable performance for his side. Although he was often outmuscled by Rooney, he still managed to keep the talismanic striker at bay for majority of the game with his tight marking.
Yaroslav Rakitskiy – 7
Rakitskiy was a stable presence at the back for Ukraine and his brilliant tackles kept the English forwards on their toes. The 22-year-old defender showed great maturity and character in leading his backline and was also an attacking threat from set-pieces.
Yevhen Selin – 6
Selin was a constant presence on the left and troubled Johnson for most of the game with his attacking runs. He was given a lot of space by the Liverpool defender and happily used it to create several good opportunities for his strikers. However, he was responsible for England’s winner as he allowed Gerrard to go easily past him in the build-up.
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk – 6.5
The Ukraine captain managed to break up a few of England’s counter-attacks with his excellent reading of the game and made a few well-timed challenges. He was guilty of occasionally wasting possession with a few misplaced passes but otherwise had a decent game for his side.
Denys Garmash (Sub Off 78′) – 5
Garmash was the worst player on the night. His final ball in threatening situations was poor which resulted in gifting possession to England during promising Ukrainian attacks. He did not seem to have the hunger to win the game and let down his teammates with his lack of effort.
Andriy Yarmolenko – 7
The 22-year-old Ukrainian proved a tricky customer for the English defence and often had Lescott and Terry on the back foot with his pace and quick foot work. But at times he made the wrong choice by having a go at goal from long range when a simple pass to his teammate would have been a better choice.
Marko Devic (Sub Off 70′) – 7
Devic was very nearly the hero for Ukraine with his effort which was cleared off the line by Terry. However, replays showed that the ball had crossed the line and England were lucky to lead. He made some smart off-the-ball moves and gave Terry and Lescott something to worry about throughout whole the game.
Yevhen Konoplyanka – 8
Konoplyanka was Ukraine’s best player of the game. His direct running caused Johnson problems throughout the game and not only managed to create numerous decent goal-scoring opportunities for his team, but also hollowed out a few chances for himself with his quick feet. He came very close to scoring with a superb dipping and swerving long range shot which forced a brilliant reaction save from Hart.
Artem Milevskiy (Sub Off 77′) – 7
Milevskiv offered a very physical presence upfront and held the ball up well for his team. His unselfish play also led to him creating several opportunities for his team but was unable to really threaten the England goal himself.
Andriy Shevchenko (Sub On 70′) – 6
Probably made his last appearance for his country but was unable to go out with a bang. He recieved a huge reception from not only the home fans but also the England supporters when he came on in the second half. He was not able to create a much of an impact and didnt get many chances to score as Ukraine’s midfield tired out towards the end of the game.
Bohdan Butko (Sub on 77′) – N/A
Serhiy Nazarenko (Sub On 78′) – N/A