England took a step closer to qualifying for Euro 2016 after they defeated Slovenia 3-2 in Ljubljana.
After falling behind to a poor goal from Milivoje Novakovic, two goals from Jack Wilshere put Roy Hodgson’s men in front. However, former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Nejc Pecnik levelled the game late on, only for Wayne Rooney to score the 48th goal of his international career to seal a narrow England win.
Here’s how the players got on:
Had very little to do early on apart from a simple save after a Slovenia free-kick was poorly defended by the England back line. He was unable to do anything about the first goal, after the defence in front of him played a very poor offside trap, but could have possibly have done better for the Pecnik’s header.
RB- Phil Jones 4
Jones’ lack of willingness to stick to the line meant that very little of the play happened down the right-hand side. When he did receive the ball, he wasn’t able to link up with Andros Townsend, so the ball often headed back into the cluttered midfield. The goal came from a sloppy throw-in deep inside the Slovenian half from the makeshift full-back. He was brought off at the break.
CB- Gary Cahill 5
After a quiet half, the Chelsea man should shoulder the majority of the blame for the Slovenian goal as he attempted to play an offside trap that was clearly not going to work, rather than go with Novakovic before the 36-year-old tucked the ball past Joe Hart. Apart from that one incident, it was a decent performance from Cahill.
CB- Chris Smalling 6
It was a much better first half for the Manchester United defender than the one he endured in Dublin. He was giving the Slovenians no time on the ball, and looked to use well once he had won it. However, that changed shortly before the break when he sat in no man’s land as the ball was slid into the goalscorer’s path for the opener.
LB- Kieran Gibbs 6
The Arsenal man put in a couple of testing deliveries in the opening minutes, although his teammates didn’t seem too keen to gamble on a Slovenian mistake. He made a couple of great runs down the line, to offer some width to an otherwise narrow front three. He should have done better in the aerial battle with Pecnik for the second goal.