England overcame a pedestrian start to race to a comfortable 3-0 win over Senegal on Sunday as goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka swept them into a tantalizing Cup quarter-final clash. world with France, defending champion.
England overcame a pedestrian start to earn a comfortable 3-0 victory over Senegal on Sunday as goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka swept them into a mouth-watering World Cup quarter-final clash with France, defending champion.
England were slow to prevail against the African champions, a side they had never faced before, and survived a few scares before two goals late in the first half changed the game. atmosphere of the evening and it was not a match after the break.
The win extended England’s all-time unbeaten streak against African sides to 21 games, eight of them at the World Cup. Morocco, who will face Spain on Tuesday, are now the only African team remaining in the tournament.
The absence of suspended Idrissa Gueye and injured Cheikhou Kouyate made the Senegalese midfielder too weak to pose problems for England.
With Sadio Mane missing the tournament through injury, the Africans also lacked the edge to trouble an England defense that kept a third straight World Cup clean sheet for the first time in 20 years.
Although ultimately a convincing victory, England will have to wonder how and why they took so long to come out on top.
For most of the first half they were slow and static and a series of misplaced passes gave Senegal chances. The best of them fell on Boulaye Dia and only goalkeeper Jordan Pickford’s powerful left arm prevented the Africans from taking the lead.
With the relentless Senegalese batsmen boosting their men, the normally boisterous England fans were silent – and had nothing to lift them.
They found their voice after 38 minutes, however, when England finally injected some pace, breaking down the left through Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham, who crossed for Henderson, who arrived late, to score the opener.
Kane had an almost identical chance a few minutes later and although he stepped aside, his goalscoring drought at this tournament ended emphatically in first-half stoppage time. .
Bellingham again popped out of his own box and fed Foden, who rolled the ball into the captain’s path to crush an unstoppable shot to become England’s eighth goalscorer in Qatar.
It was a lead that looked unlikely, but England came out full of confidence after the break and it no longer looked like a contest.
Saka, recalled by coach Gareth Southgate in his only change since the win over Wales, lifted smartly in third after 58 minutes after a penetrating run and a low cross from Foden.
It was England’s 12th goal of the tournament, the most of any Qatar team and equaling their all-time high set four years ago when they reached the semi-finals.
From then on, England were able to go through the stages and stay out of trouble as they are yet to receive a yellow card and appear to have avoided any major injuries ahead of the France showdown.
They know they are unlikely to get away with an equally slow start next Saturday night against a French side who dispatched Poland impressively 3-0 earlier on Sunday, but the starters will also be well aware that their former rivals possess the weapons to do real damage if given the chance.