England advances to Round of 16 after beating Wales 3-0 at FIFA World Cup

England will next face Senegal in the round of 16. Wales finished in last place in the group and has been eliminated.

England’s Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their first goal.

England’s Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring their first goal. | Photo Credit: Hannah McKay

England will next face Senegal in the round of 16. Wales finished in last place in the group and has been eliminated.

Marcus Rashford scored, twice, and then kneeled pointing to the sky, for a personal dialogue with a friend he had just lost to cancer.

The England manager did not know about the striker’s loss, the professional in him keeping the personal out as England played its best game in the World Cup so far.

“I didn’t have any idea (about Rashford’s loss). So that didn’t manifest itself in his body language recently, it was not something he had mentioned to us, and I just heard it outside,” Gareth Southgate said at the post-match press conference.

Gareth Southgate, as the FIFA start list suggested, came out with a rejigged 4-3-2-1 formation with skipper Harry Kane – the lone man at the helm – but as the game progressed, Phil Foden and Rashford moved upfront on either side of the captain while there was a midfield triangle with Declan Rice at its base.

The overload was too much for Wales as England had seven shots on target and went home (their hotel with an unlimited supply of milkshakes and not the fermented brew their fans prefer any day) with a 3-0 win to set up a pre-quarterfinal date with the African champion, Senegal.

The England midfield, with a leader like Jordan Henderson in the pitch, constantly looked to bite but the Welsh did well to keep the goals at bay as the first half ended.

Neco Williams, one of its few Premier League starters, was already substituted for a concussion in the 34th minute and Gareth Bale, too, was out at the restart as his hamstring felt strange.

A Rashford strike hit Williams on his face in the 23rd minute and he looked clearly dazed but the FIFA medical team, with their constant pitch-side and television monitoring, took 11 more minutes to be convinced.

Rashford’s goal came five minutes into the second half as he picked his spot perfectly, angling the ball in through where a darting Harry Maguire stood ahead of the Wales wall improperly erected.

Goalkeeper Danny Ward had not set his fortress right and his positioning too was vulnerable as the ball sailed into the net from his left.

It was two in two minutes for England as Foden added the next as Wales lost the ball to a snapping Rashford on the right touchline. The ball came to Kane, and he just pushed it towards his younger mate who had the easiest tap-in to make.

The Wales fans behind its goal lost their voice but the English soared, and it was again “Coming Home”.

Ward’s night was about to become more miserable as Rashford brought down another ball over the Wales defenders, then quickly skated inside the box as a sidestep took Connor Roberts away from the equation and his left footer sneaked between Ward’s flapping legs.

Wales’ goalkeeper Ward concedes England’s third goal at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 29, 2022.

Wales’ goalkeeper Ward concedes England’s third goal at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on November 29, 2022. | Photo Credit: AFP

The Manchester United forward almost had his hattrick again reaching to a ball beyond the now completely broken Wales backline but this time, fortunately, Ward’s outstretched leg did its job and the score line didn’t change.

Wales had waited 64 years to be at the World Cup and now its stay was over just after three games.

Its fans had been the best as the Red Wall was always standing behind its team while the Red Choir made the metro rides more pleasant.

Get all the results for the FIFA World Cup 2022 here:Full list of all matches, scores, results, goalscorers

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