England player ratings vs Switzerland: Sensational Bukayo Saka steps up but Harry Kane peripheral again

Bukayo Saka dragged England back into the match (AP)
Bukayo Saka dragged England back into the match (AP)

England beat 5-3 Switzerland in a nerveless penalty-shootout by Gareth Southgate’s players to set up a European Championship semi-final against the Netherlands Wednesday.

Jordan Pickford saved from Manchester City’s Manuel Akanji, while England scored all five of their spot-kicks after a 1-1 draw here in Dusseldorf.

In a cagey game, Breel Embolo pounced at the back post to convert Dan Ndoye’s low cross to put Switzerland in front in the 75th-minute.

But England quickly responded through Bukayo Saka, their standout player on the night arrowing a brilliant curling strike off the post from 25 yards.

Declan Rice forced a save from Yann Sommer in extra-time, but the Swiss finished the stronger and Xherdan Shaqiri went closest to a winner when he curled a corner directly against the upright.

Cole Palmer, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka, Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold all scored from the spot, parking wild celebrations.

Here’s how we rated the England players in Dusseldorf

Trent Alexander-Arnold dispatched the decisive spot-kick (Getty Images)
Trent Alexander-Arnold dispatched the decisive spot-kick (Getty Images)

Jordan Pickford 8

The hero in the shootout, saving Akanji’s tame effort. Largely untroubled before Switzerland struck. Composed with the ball at his feet, even when pressed.

Kyle Walker 6

Embolo got in front of him at the back post to stab Switzerland in front. His distribution was sloppy but his recovery pace is important in a back-three.

John Stones 7

Could only touch Ndoye’s cross into Embolo’s path for the Swiss goal. Otherwise composed defensively, snuffing out a couple of dangerous moments.

Ezri Konsa 8

Nutmegged by the cross for the Swiss goal, slightly marring what was otherwise an excellent performance defensively. Made a couple of crucial interventions, twice denying Embolo with a lunging block, then a clearing header. Not entirely comfortable on the ball on the left.

Kieran Trippier 5

Offered nothing in the way of attacking threat down the left again. Recycled the ball well enough but hopefully this is the last we see of him on the left.

Declan Rice 7

Looked more alert, stepping forward to make a series of important tackles and interceptions. Could have been more adventurous in his passing but came close to a winner when he extended Sommer in extra-time.

Kobbie Mainoo 7

With Saka, England’s standout player in the first half. Drove the team forward with a couple of surging runs and twice saw dangerous shots blocked. More subdued after the break and withdrawn following Embolo’s goal.

Bukayo Saka 9

Dragged England back into the game with a brilliant equaliser. Had Michel Aebischer on toast in the first half, justifying the decision to keep him on the right. Pinned the Swiss wing-back in his own half and wriggled away from him repeatedly. Ended the debate about moving him to left-back and exorcised the ghost of his penalty miss at Euro 2020 with a cool finish in the shootout.

Bukayo Saka’s brilliant equaliser took England to extra time (REUTERS)
Bukayo Saka’s brilliant equaliser took England to extra time (REUTERS)

Phil Foden 6

More involved centrally and pulled the strings from deep in the first half. Drastically faded in the second half and wasted a couple of promising breakaways.

Jude Bellingham 7

Showed flashes of brilliance, particularly when he found space in the left channel and drove forward, but was in and out of the game. Had a couple of shots blocked and a late effort saved by Sommer. Cool as you like from the penalty spot.

Harry Kane 4

Looked jaded and was peripheral. Fluffed his one sight at goal – a free header in the first half – and was well marshalled by Akanji. Is he short of fitness or does he simply need runners beyond him?


Luke Shaw (Trippier 78’) 7

Looked encouragingly sharp on his much-anticipated return to the pitch. Burst to the byline on one occasion. Made a big tackle on Denis Zakaria in extra-time.

Cole Palmer (Konsa 78’) 8

Lively, always looking to pass forward or dribble into dangerous areas. His penalty was ice cool, as expected.

Eberechi Eze (Mainoo 78’) 7

Deputised at left wing-back again and did well. Had a sight of goal in the 89th-minute but dragged his shot wide of the near post.

Ivan Toney (Kane 110’) 7

Offered a focal point for the final 10 minutes and dispatched his penalty nonchalantly.

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Foden 114’) 7

Scored the winning emphatically to justify Southgate’s decision to send him on.