UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine
Another disappointment for the Three Lions
England team review and player ratings





Despondent England players look on as another tournament comes crashing to a halt after another penalty shoot out



By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor

So... Another tournament, another penalty shoot-out, another defeat. Another failure. After low expectations, high hopes, dedicated commitment - still England fall short. All the effort, desire and pressure, we couldn't get close. All the last ditch tackles, incredible blocks and goal-line clearances - England still couldn't win.

Disappointment rather than jubilation. Hope rather than expectation. The underlying truth is: failure rather than success.

To be honest, England have lucked themselves through this tournament. Battered by France; held on and got an excellent point. We conceded two goals against a poor Sweden side that posed no threat to us, and relied on a big man up front. If not for substitute Theo Walcott, England would have been out early. They weren't. Co-hosts Ukraine next. A point needed. An average performance at best, and if not for a mistake by the extra assistant referee, the Three Lions could have been hanging on. If it wasn't for a magic cross from the captain, excellent movement from Welbeck, and a goalkeeping calamity, England wouldn't have won.   

We got out of the group. Success. We won the group. Better. We take on Italy. What we wanted. A chance to put aside doubters, raise expectations even more, and reach the Euro Semi-Finals for only the second time. No. Battered and bruised by an average Italy side who played like Spain. Yes, Italy were the better side, but the fact that we were stuck in our own penalty area, struggling to clear the ball away was the highlight of our tournament. We were like Sweden. Average side, with average players, hoofing the ball long to a big guy up front who couldn't even control it never mind find a white shirt.

We started well, after De Rossi had smashed a post, we closed down well, kept the pressure on and kept the ball well for the best spell of possession we've had in the tournament. We managed to create some decent half chances too. But not enough. The stats don't make for great reading either - fewest shots, fewest passes, lowest possession in all four games. Dimanti - only on the pitch for the last fifteen minutes made more passes than the whole of Rooney and Gerrard managed in 120 minutes.

At least we held onto penalties. And it was going well, when Montolivo missed. But, the mentality is still the same: pressure of spot kicks. Young smashed his effort against the bar; Cole - who had the courage to step up and take one, and took one and scored in the Champions League final, saw his weak penalty held by Buffon. Where was Andy Carroll? Stood in the middle watching players put their careers on the line. Why did we have to rely on Ashley Cole to take a decisive penalty? And despite Joe Hart's obvious, pathetic attempts at a Bruce Grobalaar Italy converted and won. That's the difference between Hart and the class of Buffon. The Juventus keeper saved a pen and Hart didn't. That was the same as Grobalaar.

So, England look forward. World Cup is two years' away... but we have got to qualify. That should be a easy enough. Youth will be given its chance to blossom, and this was some players' last tournament. Hopefully, when it comes to Brazil in two years' time, we can have low expectations, not put pressure on the young bodies and hopefully play an awfully lot better. Let's go and attack. Because we can. All we need is a bit of courage. Otherwise, despite all the great things, defeat and failure will long shadow the England football side.



England's Euro 2012 Schedule:- 

Group D

Monday 11th June           France vs England                KO 5pm            ITV1            Donetsk                Result:-  Drew 1-1         Preview         Report

Friday 15th June             Sweden vs England              KO 7:45pm        BBC1             Kiev                    Result:-  Won 3-2         Preview         Report

Tuesday 19th June          England vs Ukraine              KO 7:45pm         ITV1            Donetsk                Result:-  Won 1-0         Preview         Report


Sunday 24th June         England vs Italy          KO 7:45pm        BBC1        Kiev         Result:-  Drew 0-0 *Lost 4-2 on Pens        Preview        Report      

1. Joe Hart (Goalkeeper)-    Appearances (sub):  4 (0)         Minutes played:  390        Clean sheets:  2         Goals conceded:  3        YC:  0

Club team-  Manchester City

Comment: An average tournament to be honest. Did well in places with some good saves; the most saves in the tournament shows what England got into. Unpredictable with some crosses and some saves were very fortunate not to land to opposition players. Tried to put off Italy's players during the penalty shoot-out, but how many did he save? None. Still a lot to learn. Rating: 6.5/10

3. Ashley Cole (Left Back)-     Appearances (sub):  4 (0)         Minutes played:  390          Goals:  0         Assists:  0         Yellow cards:  1        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Chelsea

Comment: Good, reliable and consistent. Another good tournament for the Chelsea man nearing 100 caps. Brave in the tackle and all-round excellent defending. Nearly scored on the many occasions he ventured forward. Linked up well with Young, and forge a good understanding in defence.  Rating: 7.5/10

6. John Terry (Centre Back)-     Appearances (sub):  4 (0)          Minutes played:  390          Goals:  0          Assists:  0         Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Chelsea

Comment: A rock at the back. People - including myself - said he shouldn't be there; he should have been dropped with his court case outstanding. Rio Ferdinand should have been in the squad instead. But he didn't let that affect him. His partnership with Lescott was, at times, incredible. He showed why he is still a top class player. Although he has lost a lot of pace, he was able to use what he had to make desperate blocks and tackles, plus a goal-line clearance that kept England in front against Ukraine.  Rating: 8/10

8. Jordan Henderson (Centre Midfield)-    Appearances (sub):  0 (2)     Minutes played:  39       Goals:  0         Assists:  0        Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Liverpool

Comment: No action really for the Liverpool man. Made a couple of sub apperances, holding the midfield well, and keeping it nice and tight. Will play a more prominent role in the subsequent tournament in Brazil.  Rating: 2.5/10

10. Wayne Rooney (Striker)-   Appearances (sub):  2 (0)      Minutes played:  207         Goals:  1         Assists:  0          Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0 

Club team-  Manchester United

Comment: Not at his best; far from it. Came back from his ban and looked a bit lethargic. He still influenced the game, though not as much as he would have wanted. Scored to win the match against Ukraine, but was poor against Italy, and looked as though he was carrying a niggle. Had he played all 4 games, would have been better, but still England's main man.    Rating: 6/10

15. Joleon Lescott (Centre Back)-    Appearances (sub):  4 (0)      Minutes played:  390        Goals:  1         Assists:  0           Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Manchester City

 No doubt one of England's best players. Himself and Terry at the back were outstanding. Never put a foot wrong throughout his 390 minutes of action. A permenant figure in this England side now and will be for a considerable amount of time. Scored a brilliant goal against France too, as England began well.   Rating: 8.5/10

17. Scott Parker (Centre Midfielder)-    Appearances (sub):  4 (0)       Minutes played:  351         Goals:  0        Assists:  0           Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Tottenham

Comment: A war horse, a hunter, a lion in the centre of that midfield. Ran his socks off, and then having to be sacrificed as his tank of fuel had ran out. Closed down and harried the opponents all competition. Some nice, controlled play in the centre of midfield but didn't hold the ball long enough and was restricted to a defensive role.   Rating: 6.5/10

21. Jermain Defoe (Striker)-    Appearances (sub):  0 (1)        Minutes played:  14          Goals:  0        Assists:  0           Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Tottenham

 Poor Jermain might as well have not been in the squad unfortunately. Came on against France for 14 minutes and couldn't influence the game. May well be used as an impact sub for future England matches.  Rating: 1.5/10

2. Glen Johnson (Right Back)-   Appearances (sub):  4 (0)       Minutes played:  390       Goals:  0 (1 OG)       Assists:  0       Yellow cards:  0      Red cards:  0

Club team-  Liverpool

Comment: Not many people thought he should have been first choice, but he hasn't let that affect him. Solid enough in defence, he made some crucial tackles and trumendous blocks. Wasn't his usual agressive self in an attacking sense. Caught out of position on a few occasions, for example the Sweden equaliser. Despite this, quite a good tournament. Rating: 7/10

4. Steven Gerrard [C] (Centre Midfielder)-   Appearances (sub):  4 (0)       Minutes played:  390         Goals:  0         Assists:  3         Yellow cards:  1        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Liverpool

Comment: Excellent performance; captain's performance. He led by example. Everything that was good came through him, including most passes. No surprise that he ended the tournament with 3 assists - all crosses - for England's goals.  Rating: 8.5/10

7 Theo Walcott (RW)-   Appearances (sub):  0 (4)        Minutes played:  101         Goals:  1          Assists:  1         Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Arsenal

Comment: Somehow not picked in the starting eleven. How he wasn't is mesmorising. He was England's best attacking threat down the flanks by far. He ran at the defender and caused him all sorts of problems. Scored an amazing goal against the Swedes and followed it up with an assist for Welbeck. Had he been fitter, a starting berth against Italy would have been imminent.  Rating: 8/10

9. Andy Carroll (Striker)-    Appearances (sub):  1 (2)         Minutes played:  161           Goals:  1         Assists:  0          Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Liverpool

Comment: The Liverpool man was a big boulder; nothing else. A big lump up front. When he started, he looked very slow and unaccustomed to international football. Then he scored a wonderful header, and was an instant hero. His sub appearance against Italy was a huge let-down: slow, robotic and poor. Will have a bigger part to play I'm sure, but needs to improve drastically next season to justify his place.   Rating: 3.5/10

11. Ashley Young (Left Winger)-   Appearances (sub):  4 (0)      Minutes played:  390          Goals:  0         Assists:  0          Yellow cards:  1        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Manchester United

 A very poor tournament for the Manchester United winger. He began okay with some neat interplay with teammate Welbeck, but on the left side of midfield, he offered very little. Once he received the bal he either lost it or gave it away. Sometimes he tried a little too much and England would again be on the back foot. Therefore, spent most of his time defending.  Rating: 4.5/10

16. James Milner (Right Winger)-   Appearances (sub):  4 (0)      Minutes played:  281      Goals:  0        Assists:  0          Yellow cards:  1        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Manchester City

 Brought in to defend the dodgy right back position. Defended stoutly and at times, confidently. Going forward he was like Young: poor. Was definitely one of England's weak links; he missed an open goal against France, and never once attacked the defender and try and beat him. Crossing was abysmal, and his passing was way off too.   Rating: 5/10

20. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Left Winger)-  Appearances (sub):  1 (2)    Minutes played:  80     Goals:  0      Assists:  0    Yellow cards:  1     Red cards:  0

Club team-  Arsenal

 A gamble by Roy. But an excellent decision, and one decision that would not have disappointed the England faithful. Fulll of attacking vigour, poise and courage. Showed he has no fear and played out of his skin in the match against France: he beat players, set up attacks, and just injected a bit of pace and excitement into that rather unspectactular England team. One for the future, but a great start.  Rating: 7.5/10

22. Danny Welbeck (Striker)-   Appearances (sub):  4 (0)        Minutes played:  321         Goals:  1        Assists:  0         Yellow cards:  0        Red cards:  0

Club team-  Manchester United

 A magic find. He's had a world class season, not just ofr Manchester United but now for England too. His hold up play was superb, he ran and helped out the midfield, closing down the opposition as well. He linked the play well like a chain, and was always a threat. Ran with the ball exposing weaknesses in the oppositions' defences. A cracking goal to win the match against Sweden, proving just how far he has come as a player. There is no reason why he shouldn't be in the team from now onwards.  *STAR PLAYER Rating: 8.5/10

Manager Watch: Roy Hodgson

Squad:-                                 Rating: 7 - Picked some players in form, plus the usual suspects who normally make the squad. Was criticised for taking Terry over Ferdinand, and picking players such as Downing, Milner, Johnson, Henderson and Kelly, over players such as Richards, Carrick, Scholes, Lennon and Crouch. But he surprised everyone with the inclusion of Oxlade-Chamberlain, a move glorified by the player's performance.

Personnel:-                           Rating: 7.5 - Picked the same team more or less: the same back four and goalkeeper didn't change, which was good. A little defensive with Milner on the right, and Gerrard deeper. But a nice balance, greater tuned with Rooney's inclusion later on in the tournament. 

Tactics:-                             Rating: 7.5 - back to the tried, trusted and English 4-4-2 system. But with a twist. Organisation, work-rate, team spirit exemplified to make a complete team. Yet, England were a little too deep at times, and it would have been nice to see the wingers involved more and Gerrard more involved in an attacking position. Also, maybe we need to have a back-up plan for the better sides, as we were found out against Italy. 

Substitutions:-                     Rating: 8.5 - Excellent. His subs worked wonders. Roy wasn't afraid to change things, and made a quick, bold, snap decision if he felt things could be better. Theo Walcott: Do we need a better example? Oxlade-Chamberlain, too. He saw Parker was struggling so replaced him. 

Overall Rating:-                    Rating: 8

England's Player of the Tournament:    Danny Welbeck- Rating 8.5/10

England's Worst Player:   Ashley Young- Rating 4.5/10



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