Declan Rice and Raheem Sterling stood out as England beat Poland 2-1 to continue their perfect start to the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers.
England dominated possession from the get-go, but Poland were set up to absorb the pressure that the hosts were looking to create. Chances indeed came few and far between in the early exchanges until a fine run by Raheem Sterling ended with Michal Helik bringing him down inside the box. Harry Kane stepped up to take the penalty and made mistake in beating Wojciech Szczesny.
Post that, it was more of the same, with England struggling to carve out the openings, as Kane was the only one who came close to scoring, on one instance. Poland showed more purpose after the break, with England suffering some nervy moments before the break came for the visitors, with John Stones erring before Jakub Moder found the back of the net from close range.
It was all England thereafter and Stones ended up making amends for his earlier error, as he rose high before setting up Harry Maguire for the winner late on. Despite a resilient effort by Poland, it was England who claimed all three points and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Gareth Southgate’s men after they extended their perfect start to the FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifiers.
Nick Pope: 6/10
His run of clean sheets finally ended as Nick Pope conceded for the first time in England colours. In fairness, the Burnley stopper did not have much of a chance to stop Jakub Moder’s shot after John Stones’s error. Not forced into a single save otherwise.
Kyle Walker: 6/10
Anonymous for the most part, Walker was barely troubled at the back and he did not really make an outlet of himself going forward either. Engaged in just 3 duels, winning 2, while hardly putting in the crosses in the final third.
John Stones: 5/10
Stones has made it a habit to be colossal at the heart of the Manchester City defence and he would have hoped for the same against Poland. However, the 26-year-old produced an inexplicable gaffe that offered Poland a way back into the game. Stones, though, did make amends late on when he provided the assist for Harry Maguire’s goal.
Harry Maguire: 7/10
The man who made the difference in the end. Maguire produced a brilliant finish from a close range volley to hand England all three points. Before then, he was solid for the most part bar one or two nervy moments early in the second half.
Harry Maguire has scored 3 goals for England:
An impressive finish. 👌👌👌 pic.twitter.com/pi3Iso0sjR
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) March 31, 2021
Ben Chilwell: 6.5/10
A solid evening for Chilwell, who won 9 duels, made 5 interceptions while also completing a couple of tackles. Moving forward, though, he could have done better as even though he played 2 key passes, he was sloppy in possession at times, losing the ball 20 times. Will look to address his end product.
Kalvin Phillips: 6/10
Starting another game for England, Phillips fared better than he did against Albania, but there were still some forgettable moments. From a sporting perspective, his inclusion alongside Declan Rice does not make a great deal of sense, but Phillips did well to keep things simple and progress England forward when given a chance.
Declan Rice: 8/10
A big reason why England were comfortable for the most part on Wednesday. Rice was a solid customer in the middle of the park while being extremely precise with the ball at his feet, misplacing just four passes all game. Won as many as 7 duels while making 5 tackles, 2 clearances and 2 interceptions.
Mason Mount: 7/10
The only true creative option for England in the starting lineup, Mount saw a lot of the ball and kept on probing to find the openings against a stubborn Poland defence. Played a couple of key passes and had a late effort blocked superbly. Indispensable for Southgate.
Phil Foden: 7/10
A top class showing by Foden, who completed each of the 40 passes he attempted on the night while also creating a couple of decent openings. Came close to scoring once as well, but it was not to be for the Manchester City prodigy in front of goal. Nevertheless, he, along with Mount, pulled the strings well in the final third.
Harry Kane: 7/10
Harry Kane has 47 goal contributions in 48 games for club and country this season 😱 pic.twitter.com/R2sTNzO8it
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 31, 2021
The England captain scored for a second successive game, notching up his 33rd strike for the national side. Could have celebrated a brace, but was denied by Wojciech Szczesny. Never stopped putting in the hard yards, which then brought his teammates into the game. A fine effort by Kane.
Raheem Sterling: 8/10
The player who carried the greatest threat for England on the night. Sterling ran at the Poland defence with purpose and one such run yielded the penalty that Kane converted for the opener. A tad bit wasteful with the ball, but in the end, he got the job done to an extent.
Reece James: N/A
A late introduction, James helped see the game out.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin: N/A
On for Kane, Calvert-Lewin did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Jesse Lingard: N/A
On for Sterling, Lingard did not have enough time to make an impact.