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World Cup 2022 – England 3-0 Senegal: Gareth Southgate’s side set up quarter-final showdown with France

England set up a huge World Cup quarter-final showdown with defending champions France after easing past Senegal with a 3-0 victory in the last-16.

After a sluggish start at the Al Bayt Stadium, England burst into life in the 39th minute when Jude Bellingham brilliantly set up Jordan Henderson for the opener.

It got even better for Gareth Southgate’s side just before the break when Bellingham launched a devastating England counter, which was finished off by Harry Kane (45+3) for his first goal of the tournament.

England’s charge to the last eight continued after the break as Bukayo Saka (57) justified his recall to the starting XI with a deft finish to convert Phil Foden’s cross.

It led to an extremely comfortable end to the game for England as Southgate made a host of substitutions as he aims to keep his squad fresh for what lies ahead.

It sets up a mouth-watering last-eight contest with France on Saturday (kick-off 7pm), who were inspired by a clinical performance from Kylian Mbappe as his double helped secure them a 3-1 victory over Poland.

Big moments in the game…

  • 23 min: Sarr blazes first chance of game over the crossbar.
  • 32 min: Pickford comes to England’s rescue, making a superb block to deny Dia.
  • 39 min: Bellingham’s squared pass sets up Henderson for England’s opener.
  • 45+3 min: The advantage is doubled as Kane finishes off an exhilarating England counter-attack.
  • 57 min: England extended their lead as Saka turned home Foden’s inch-perfect cross.

England’s potential route to the World Cup final

Quarter-finals – Saturday December 10
England vs France – Kick-off 7pm

Semi-finals – Wednesday December 14
England vs Morocco/Spain/Portugal/Switzerland – Kick-off 7pm

How England breezed past the African champions to reach last eight…

Image:
Jordan Henderson celebrates after opening the scoring for England against Senegal

Just as they did against Wales, England started slowly and there were some uncomfortable moments for Harry Maguire, who was twice outpaced in the early stages by Boulaye Dia and then Iliman Ndiaye.

Senegal were pressing aggressively and causing England’s defenders, who were seeing lots of the ball, plenty of issues.

England just couldn’t get going and Senegal created the first opening of the game. The ball fell kindly for Ismaila Sarr, who blazed a shot from the edge of the six-yard area over the bar under pressure from Jordan Pickford. There was also an appeal for a penalty the build up to the chance with Senegal claiming a handball against John Stones, but after a brief VAR check, play was waved on.

Pickford was back in action shortly after as Saka gifted possession to Sarr, who slid the ball through for Dia. The forward’s strike looked to be heading for the far corner but the outstretched left arm of the Everton goalkeeper, who came to England’s rescue.

It took until the 39th minute, but England finally showed their quality and to devastating effect. Foden picked out Kane, who slid the ball through for a marauding Bellingham. The Borussia Dortmund broke into the Senegal penalty area before squaring for Henderson, who swept home a first-time finish under Edouard Mendy to give Southgate’s side the lead.

England burst into life after the goal. Kane fired over after being picked out by Saka’s low cross, but the Tottenham striker wasn’t to be denied for long.

A scintillating counter-attack was started by the ever-impressive Bellingham, who eased past several Senegal players before picking out Foden. England had a two-on-one and the Man City star squared for Kane, who drilled the ball past Mendy to put his side firmly in control at the break.

England’s lead was strengthened just before the hour when Saka produced a deft finish after latching onto Foden’s low cross, and from that moment the game was over as a contest.

England were in cruise control from that point and Southgate rung the changes with progress assured to consecutive World Cup quarter-finals – something the national team last managed in 2002 and 2006.

Southgate managed the game perfectly as Saka and Foden were replaced by Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford before Bellingham, Henderson and Stones all got a deserved rest as focus started to switch to Saturday’s blockbuster showdown with France.

Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham celebrate England's opening goal against Senegal
Image:
Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham celebrate England’s opening goal against Senegal

What does the result mean?

Bukayo Saka celebrates after putting England 3-0 up against Senegal
Image:
Bukayo Saka celebrates after putting England 3-0 up against Senegal

England now have a World Cup quarter-final against holders France to look forward to next Saturday, December 10.

Kick-off at the Al-Bayt Stadium will be at 7pm.

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