HomeWorld NewsUkraine 1-1 England: Player ratings as Three Lions’ winning streak comes to an end
Ukraine 1-1 England: Player ratings as Three Lions’ winning streak comes to an end
September 9, 2023
England failed to win a match for the first time in 2023 after being held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine in Euro 2024 qualifying.
The Three Lions have taken 13 points from a possible 15 in Group C and are still almost assured of qualification to next summer’s finals but they were far from their best in Wroclaw on Saturday evening.
Ukraine, playing in neighbouring Poland due to the ongoing conflict in their own country, did well to stifle England and were good value for their point.
How the game unfolded
With 26 minutes on the clock, Ukraine took a surprise lead. Viktor Tsyhankov fed the overlapping Yukhym Konoplia down the right flank beyond Ben Chilwell, and his low cross was smashed in by Oleksandr Zinchenko after he evaded the eyes of Arsenal teammate Declan Rice.
This was the first time that England had trailed in a game since their 2022 FIFA World Cup quarter-final defeat to France.
That opener kicked England into life and they carved out a great chance to equalise almost immediately. Harry Kane’s through ball was taken in stride by Jordan Henderson. The midfielder seemed destined to shoot and score, but he instead tried to square the ball to James Maddison, with Illya Zabarnyi making a crucial interception.
A similar opportunity came and went 10 minutes later when Jude Bellingham slipped through Maddison, only to mis-control the ball and lose possession.
On the stroke of half-time, England did find a leveller. Kane dropped deep into midfield and played a wonderful ball over the top for Kyle Walker to chase, with the right-back keeping his cool and firing in at Georgiy Bushchan’s near post.
After the break, England went close to taking the lead when the ball quickly shifted from Maddison to Kane and then Bukayo Saka, who proceeded to cut inside and cannon a shot off the crossbar.
Late on, a whipped free-kick from substitute Marcus Rashford was pushed away by Bushchan, while Harry Maguire was close to tapping in the second delivery, only to collide with the goalkeeper instead.
But England were unable to find a winner and Ukraine held on to secure a precious point.
Zinchenko gave Ukraine the lead / PressFocus/MB Media/GettyImages
Walker was imperious at both ends / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages
GK: Jordan Pickford – 5/10 – Didn’t have too much to deal with.
RB: Kyle Walker – 8/10 – Scored his first goal for England on his 77th appearance for the Three Lions. His recovery pace ensured the lively Mudryk was ineffective.
CB: Harry Maguire – 5/10 – Met plenty of set pieces but was unable to convert them. Sometimes shown up by the quickness of Ukraine’s counter attacks.
CB: Marc Guehi – 7/10 – Stepped up with confidence to win most of his duels both on the floor and in the air.
LB: Ben Chilwell – 4/10 – Guilty of under-hitting several passes, making runs into dead-ends and was routinely sought out as a weak link in the defence.
DM: Declan Rice – 5/10 – Failed to track Zinchenko for the opening goal. Broke up play well but didn’t seem as confident in his distribution.
CM: Jordan Henderson – 5/10 – This was a match where the idea of Henderson was streets ahead of the midfielder’s actual execution. He covered Walker, made late runs into the box and bustled his way into challenges, but never to great success.
CM: Jude Bellingham – 5/10 – Wasn’t on the same wavelength as his other midfielders and failed to provide much threat in the final third either.
RW: Bukayo Saka – 6/10 – Overcame an early knock to carry on. England’s most lively player in the final third but he was often quickly surrounded by yellow shirts.
CF: Harry Kane – 8/10 – Such was the congestion in the Ukraine box that it made further sense for Kane to drop deep and dictate play. Walker’s equaliser was a noteworthy example of this tactic working.
LW: James Maddison – 5/10 – Showed glimpses of his creative wizardry but was a little careless with the ball in the first half and found it tough breaking down Ukraine’s stubborn backline.
SUB: Marcus Rashford (66′ for Maddison) – 5/10
SUB: Phil Foden (66′ for Bellingham) – 5/10
SUB: Conor Gallagher (87′ for Saka) – N/A
Subs not used: Johnstone (GK), Ramsdale (GK), Trippier, Colwill, Tomori, Dunk, Phillips, Eze, Wilson
Gareth Southgate – 5/10 – England were only at their best in the immediate aftermath of Ukraine’s opener. Otherwise, they played without urgency or intensity.
Player of the match – Oleksandr Zinchenko (Ukraine)