It was billed as the battle of Britain, and late drama saw bragging rights firmly fall to substitutes on a frantic afternoon in lEns.
Having managed to somehow squander a one-goal lead against a Russia side who, on the evening, were very poor, England knew they needed to win against Chris Coleman’s Wales side. They did just that, and as a result, leapfrog their opponents into top spot in Group B.
How did the England players fare individually? Read below, for the Three Lions’ player ratings.
Goalkeeper mistake, fullbacks’ lively, defenders okay
Joe Hart: 6/10. Was harshly criticised for Gareth Bale‘s opener, although looking back at the strike, he’ll be frustrated that he was unable to claw it away from the corner. Apart from this, made one or two saves but didn’t have much else to do.
Kyle Walker: 7/10. Used his explosive pace to good effect and enjoyed a fierce battle with Swansea’s Neil Taylor – one he won on a number of occasions during the contest. Was a credible attacking outlet, but his crossing was poor, hence ‘just’ the seven.
Gary Cahill: 6/10. Didn’t seem particularly comfortable in possession, and Hal Robson-Kanu got the better of him physically on more than one occasion. Came close to scoring one of his own at the other end, just like centre-back partner Smalling.
Chris Smalling: 6.5/10. Was more of an imposing figure at the back in comparison to Cahill, specifically in the air. Came close with a first-half header but he’ll be looking to keep improving as the games begin to come thick and fast.
Danny Rose: 7/10. Didn’t have much to do defensively, and grew out of his shell as the match wore on. Just like Walker, used his acceleration to good effect – a good attacking option on the left.
Solid midfield display
Eric Dier: 7.5/10. Was excellent cover for the backline and protected them well as he did against Russia, but tried too many ambitious passes to start counter-attacks when he didn’t need to.
Dele Alli: 6.5/10. Questions over his temperament will continue to surround the 20-year-old, but ultimately, his attacking positioning was lively and his assist for the late winner was well-executed to good effect.
Wayne Rooney: 7/10. Was a good display from the skipper in midfield, as he did well to stretch play out to either side with long passes. Drove forward upon occasion but looked out-of-place deep in midfield at times, making one or two needless tackles where he shouldn’t really be.
Topsy-turvy forward line
Adam Lallana: 7/10. Some promising touches, lung-busting runs into the area and a general, all-round, decent display by Lallana – who covered almost every blade of grass.
Harry Kane: 4/10. Where to start? He was virtually non-existent for large periods of the first 45, disappointing with the few set-pieces he was given, and rightly taken off at the interval.
Raheem Sterling: 5/10. Plenty of critics are quick to jump on Raheem’s back, but a player in bad form, is all he is. Clearly trying to create chances but at times, lacks the composure to make an important decision to give his team-mates a goal-scoring opportunity.
Substitutes – Impactful and effective
Jamie Vardy: 6/10. Made his presence felt at a crucial point where Wales were edgy and England smelt blood – but was largely quiet for the remainder of the match.
Daniel Sturridge: 7.5/10. Excellent. After an initial wayward shot flew over the bar, his decision-making improved drastically and he was constantly looking for the ball at feet. Direct, a pest to defend against, the Liverpool man struck in the dying embers and will surely start against Slovakia next week.
Marcus Rashford: 6.5/10. A decent cameo appearance on his Euro debut, the Manchester United youngster made a few good touches and provided fresh legs at a time England needed it.