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England beat Senegal 3-0 to reach World Cup quarter-finals as Harry Kane makes Three Lions history

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CNN

England reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup for the second consecutive tournament thanks to a 3-0 victory over Senegal.

It was a slow start for the Three Lions, but two quick goals from Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane late in the first half sparked a brilliant performance and put Gareth Southgate’s men in complete control of the game.

Kane’s goal was his 11th for England at a major tournament, the most scored by a Three Lions player in history.

Bukayo Saka added shine to the scoring in the second half, sending the ball wonderfully past Senegal keeper Edouard Mendy after being found by Phil Foden’s low cross, as Aliou Cissé’s side never had the seem to be back in the game.

The result and performances are as good as England have produced in knockout football under Southgate and will no doubt have sparked renditions of ‘It’s Coming Home’ across the country.

Reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the final of Euro 2020 has given this team invaluable experience in the latter stages of the football tournament and fans are hoping that this group of players can finally end 56 years of injury.

This England team is undoubtedly one of the best in this tournament and the players will be confident of improving on their semi-final in Russia four years ago.

England fans have grown tired of disappointment and grief in the years since the country’s only major victory at the 1966 World Cup, and since taking over as manager in 2016, Gareth Southgate gave fans hope to finally put an end to this fruitless race.

Preparation for this tournament was less than ideal, however, as England suffered relegation from their Nations League group and suffered a few surprise defeats: the worst, a 4-0 hammering at home to Hungary.

But this team is tournament hardened, reaching the semi-finals and then the final of its last two major competitions, and the players turned it on when it mattered.

No team have won more points or scored more goals than England during the group stages and Southgate have the enviable problem of trying to choose from a plethora of attacking talent.

Given the vast amount of quality attacking options at the manager’s disposal, the former England international has at times been criticized for his team selection and conservative tactics, but it’s an approach that has served him well so far.

Senegal started the game on the right foot and dominated the first stages.

Southgate certainly hadn’t changed that approach here in what was an extremely cautious 25-minute opener, and it was Senegal who had the first real chance of the game.

Harry Maguire, arguably England’s best player so far in this tournament, kicked the ball into a dangerous area which led to a brilliant chance for Ismaila Sarr, but he skimmed his effort over the bar below the pressure from Jordan Pickford.

Despite the absence of star man Sadio Mané through injury, this Senegal side still possess quality all over the pitch and England would certainly not have taken the African champions lightly.

Senegal have grown in the tournament, improving with each passing game. The Teranga Lions stepped up the game again against England and were undoubtedly the best team in the first half hour.

It was another error from England, this time from John Stones under pressure, which gave Senegal another opening, with Boulaye Dia pulling a smart save from Pickford.

But just when Senegal were really starting to dominate, England hit back with a punch seven minutes before half-time.

Henderson completed a sweeping counterattack, driving the ball home from inside the penalty area after being found by Jude Bellingham’s low cross.

That goal breathed life into England and the Three Lions ended the first half strong, with Kane – still scoreless in this tournament – ​​and Luke Shaw fending off good opportunities.

England will face France in an epic quarter-final on Saturday.

With the last kick of the half, England doubled their lead and stepped into the quarter-finals.

It was only a matter of time before Kane was put on the scoresheet, with the Tottenham Hotspur striker finishing off another counterattack launched again by Bellingham.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who is still only 19, has produced a remarkable first half; it was as good an individual performance as any so far in this World Cup.

That quick double forced Senegal coach Aliou Cissé to make three half-time substitutions, but his substitutions had little, if any, effect on the match.

The result was put beyond doubt just over 10 minutes into the second half, as Saka’s fine finish capped another wonderful English move. Three Lions fans have been used to nerve-wracking games over the years, but those 45 seconds were probably the most relaxed fans have watched this team in a knockout game in years.

The win sets up a tantalizing clash against Kylian Mbappé and defending champion France in the quarter-finals, with the two European powers battling it out for a place in the last four on Saturday.

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Cnn

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