Jordan Pickford was the hero at both ends as England secured third place in the UEFA Nations League following a 6-5 penalty shootout victory over Switzerland after a goalless 120 minutes in Guimaraes. In a game seen by many as insignificant, both teams started with a high level of intensity. England captain Harry Kane hit the crossbar following a deft chip in the opening two minutes but it would be Switzerland that controlled the game in the early stages with a few half chances that were routine saves for Pickford. Raheem Sterling had a good chance that was saved by the legs of Yann Sommer in the 14th minute after being played through by Kane. Sterling missed another opportunity in the 30th minute after failing to make contact with a low pass across the face of goal by Trent Alexander-Arnold. Dele Alli would later miss a free header after a near-perfect cross from Alexander-Arnold, in a first half where both teams created chances with no real end product. England almost had a slice of good fortune in the 54th minute after a deflected Danny Rose cross almost resulted in an own goal from but the post came to Switzerland’s rescue. Pickford was called into action for the first time just moments later and some clever Swiss passing resulted in Granit Xhaka coming close with a side-footed shot from just outside the penalty box. England thought they took the lead in the 83rd minute after a Dele Alli header hit the crossbar and landed at the feet of Callum Wilson who tapped in from close range. However VAR would strike again as Wilson was believed to have committed a foul earlier on in the build up. Sommer would make a tremendous double save in extra-time. The first coming from yet another Alli header before Sterling’s close range rebound was stopped by the Swiss number one. England’s dominance continued into the second period of extra time, with Sterling once again coming close, this time hitting the crossbar from a free-kick in the 116th minute. Harry Maguire, Ross Barkley, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Pickford all scored in the penalty shootout but were still taken to sudden death. Eric Dier slotted home to put the pressure back on Switzerland before Pickford became the hero once again saving from Josip Drmic. Here’s how the England players were rated:
Jordan Pickford - 7
Made a fine save in the second half from Xhaka’s attempt but was rarely tested in 120 minutes before being the hero once again in the penalty shootout. His fine penalty was arguably the best of the bunch.
Trent Alexander-Arnold - 8
Constantly making runs into the attacking third and provided a number of key crosses into the penalty area that unfortunately weren’t converted. Only a matter of time before he becomes an England regular.
Harry Maguire - 7
Continues to establish himself as England’s number one centre back with another solid performance making important tackles and blocks when needed.
Joe Gomez - 7
Looked comfortable alongside Maguire in the heart of the England defence and also made some important tackles whenever Switzerland got forward.
Danny Rose - 5
Was chasing Mbabu on a number of occassions and was careless with the ball before getting substituted in the 70th minute.
Fabian Delph - 5
Looked sloppy in possession, and a slip almost resulted in a Swiss goal in the first half before getting substituted in extra time.
Eric Dier - 6
Didn’t play badly at all, but was hardly spectacular either. His penalty was converted well.
Jesse Lingard - 5
Didn’t really contribute much to the game apart from getting booked in the first half before getting substituted in extra time.
Dele Alli - 7
Was on the end of a number of crosses from Alexander-Arnold and looked very sharp as he made a number of encouraging runs into the attacking third.
Raheem Sterling - 6
Struggled to really trouble the Swiss defence in what proved to be a frustrating afternoon in-front of goal. His frustrations were evident in his celebrations after scoring England’s fourth penalty.
Harry Kane (C) - 6
Almost scored within the opening 2 minutes, but didn’t really create many other chances as he would regularly drop back and help the midfield before getting substituted in the 75th minute.
Kyle Walker - 5
Replaced Rose and played in a more unfamiliar role of left back which showed as he struggled to make any sort of impact.
Callum Wilson - 7
Replaced Kane and thought he scored the winning goal but committed a foul which was spotted by VAR. His pace and power was a handful for the Swiss defence.
Ross Barkley - 5
Didn’t really make an impact after being brought on in the second period of extra time but did score a cheeky Panenka in the penalty shootout.
Jadon Sancho - 5
Once again didn’t really have enough time to have a say in the game after being brought on in the second period of extra time but converted his penalty in the shootout.