A classy France side survived a late rally to come out on top against Fabio Capello’s England at Wembley. The visitors took the lead on 16 minutes after Karim Benzema darted into the box to finish inside Ben Foster’s near post, with Mathieu Valbuena adding a second 10 minutes after half-time. England started to fight back towards the end of the game, with Peter Crouch coming off the bench to restore hope. But Laurent Blanc’s men held on to earn themselves a well deserved victory.
Ben Foster – 6
Phil Jagielka – 5
One of the more interesting selections – purely down to the position Capello had the Everton man playing. Although usually sharp tracking back in the centre of defence, he struggled to match Malouda’s pace on a number of occasions – moving to centre-back at half-time as a result where he let Valbuena in for the goal.
Rio Ferdinand – 5
Hasn’t been great for club of late, but Fabio needed an old hand to keep the new boys in line. Dealt with everything in the air, so France played the ball across the ground. Spent most of the game playing simple passes out of defence.
Joleon Lescott – 7
Kept Benzema relatively quiet for a large part of the game. Pace was really useful in the middle of the park as France attempted to get behind, but the doors stayed shut.
Kieran Gibbs – 7
Didn’t have a bad game by any stretch. Has the athleticism to keep any winger at bay and likes to get stuck in when things get a bit scrappy. Could do with being loaned out to a Premier League side to keep him on his toes.
Theo Walcott – 5
Got swamped out all game, was never given a chance to run with the ball and was taken off at half-time after making minimal impact. Seems to be at a bit of a dead end in terms of form at this level. Could really do with another hat-trick some time soon.
Jordan Henderson – 6
Improved slightly in the second-half, but rabbit in the headlights springs to mind for the first period. Didn’t seem confident enough to launch some of his through balls that are ever present at the Stadium of Light, and as a result England lost what they thought they had by picking him. Nevertheless, got stuck in when England started to push on. Could do with seeing him on the wings, even if it is in a few years.
Gareth Barry – 6
Came off at half-time as Capello tried to get his side back into the game. Offered nothing going forward barring a short pass to take the ball out of danger. Was taken off at half-time for Ashley Young.
James Milner – 5
Could be accused of trying a little too much at times. Certainly had a few options before shooting wide on a number of occasions. Sagna had a great game at right-back which didn’t help anything.
Steven Gerrard – 7
Was very unlucky not to have stolen the headlines with headers and darts into the box. Kept going right to the end despite probably being out of position. Although positioned as an attacking midfielder, Carroll’s flick-ons were falling to thin air, and the Liverpool man found himself playing up front for most of the game – something his skied first-half effort in the box highlighted.
Andy Carroll – 6.5
Looked like he wanted it and it was a shame he didn’t get his dream debut. As expected, put himself about and kept Phillipe Mexes occupied all evening. Was rewarded for his efforts with a late substitution and a round of applause.
Adam Johnson – 6
Looked frustrated with a lack of service further up the field – something that Walcott experienced during his time on the field. Tried to get Abidal running as best as he could, but nothing came off as the visitors dealt with any signs of danger down the wings.
Micah Richards – 6
Failed to really gain a connection with Johnson down the right, which was a problem on both sides as England played without their first choice full-backs. On the flipside Malouda was taken off after failing to really make an impression in the second-half, mainly because of Richards.
Ashley Young – 6
Was thrown on at half-time as England searched for a hero, but it wasn’t to be. Got to the touchline well before either messing up his final ball or cutting inside only to get crowded out. Looks like he’s played a few too many games of late and could do with a rest.
Stephen Warnock – 4
With France looking to see out their 2-0 lead with 15 minutes remaining, Warnock’s introduction didn’t exactly see Les Bleus shaking with fear. Every ball received by a member of England’s back four was sent swiftly back up field as the defence were left with the task of just watching what was going on in the other half.
Jay Bothroyd – 5
Had to come on just for the sake of it, and almost silenced the critics with a header towards the end of the game. Any bad touches and passes will picked up on more than they would be in the Championship, but was thrown in at the deep end in the hope that something miraculous would happen. Can only keep scoring at club level to stake a claim in future squads – that along with praying that Cardiff gain promotion, just to ease the pressure.
Peter Crouch- 7
Will be one of the few players that go home with a smile on their face after notching goal number 22 for his country. The part he plays in England’s next game will be in the hands of Harry Redknapp, who ultimately gets the say over whether he plays week in week out. But gave Capello’s side hope when there was none, and continues to keep performing at international level. Carroll has presence, but Crouch has goals.