England yesterday crushed Senegal 3-0 to reach their second successive FIFA World Cup quarter-finals.
Goals from Jordan Henderson (38), Harry Kane (45 +3) and Bukayo Saka (57) saw England complete a resounding victory at Al Bayt Stadium.
Trophyless since 1966, England found their players in scoring form to set up a quarter-finals date with defending champions France who beat Poland 3-1 at Al Thumama Stadium yesterday.
The first few minutes easily belonged to England, who were playing with 4-1-2-3 formation as Southgate took charge of his 11th World Cup match as a coach. Southgate’s counterpart Aliou Cisse, who was running a temperature the last couple of days, was back in the saddle and watched the initial action of the knockout clash from the dugout.
In the fifth minute, Senegal’s Boulaye Dia charged into the England box but he was well chased and eventually tackled by Harry Maquire as goalkeeper Jordan Pickford collected the ball. Krepin Diatta brought down Jude Bellingham with a tackle from the back resulting in a free kick 20 yards away from the Senegal box. Shortly afterwards Declan Rice, on the edge of the box, slipped in a lob to Maguire who could not jump high enough for a deflection after Kane decided to take the indirect free kick in the 8th minute.
Bellingham, close to the flag post, slipped in a cross but Saka was tad behind pace as the ball slipped away without causing any damage.
In the 13th minute, Saka outran his marker and slipped in a ball but none of the white shirts were present to take the cross. Seconds later, Kane delivered a near-perfect cross from close to the corner flag but Saka didn’t have the pace to meet the ball for a header from inside the six-yard box. England won the first corner in the 20th minute but Phil Foden’s kick was deflected wayward by John Stones who couldn’t time his jump well from close range.
Senegal missed a good chance to score in the 23rd minute when Maquire’s poor cross was intercepted by Diatta near the England box. Dia tried to flick the ball from close to the penalty spot but his shot bounced off Stones’ knee and onto his forearm. Sarr picked up the ball and fired a wayward shot from close range. A VAR check showed Stones’ handball was not deliberate.
Soon after the half-hour mark, Ismaila Sarr cut into the box and instead of shooting quickly played a back pass to Dia. Dia fired a shot that was blocked by ’keeper Pickford by sticking out his left arm. Dia was unable to grab the rebound as Senegal wasted their second chance in quick time.
In the 38th minute, Henderson opened the scoring for England. Kane found Bellingham on the left flank with a short cross. Bellingham charged into the Senegal box where he rolled a pass to Liverpool star Henderson who easily deflected the ball in the net with a left-footed flick past ’keeper Edouard Mendy.
England doubled the lead on the last kick before the first-half whistle on Kane’s deadly strike. Bellingham stole the ball in the Senegal half before he charged ahead. A few metres later, he slipped a cross for Foden who found Kane unmarked down the inside right. With thousands of British fans anticipating a goal, Kane entered the Senegal box – under pressure from marker Abdou Diallo – and fired a bullet past Mendy’s right hand as the ball hit the net at high speed. It was Kane’s first goal of World Cup Qatar 2022. It was Kane’s 52nd career goal, one shy of Wayne Rooney’s tally of record 53 goals for England.
Soon after the resumption of play, substitute Pape Matar Sarr attempted a long-range drive but mistimed his shot that bounced away to the left of Pickford. In the 54th minute, Kane picked out Saka on the right. Saka charged ahead with the ball before unleashing a powerful shot that sailed away from the Senegalese goalmouth as England started taking better control of the match. Kane produced a rasping shot from long range but the ball – which dipped at the last second – was smartly blocked by Mendy. In the 57th minute, England jumped to a 3-0 lead after Arsenal midfielder Saka – on a brilliant cross from Foden – smartly clipped the ball into the net from close range. Foden, who picked up a loose ball after a fumble by Kane, charged towards the Senegal box.
With Senegal skipper and defender Kalidou Koulibaly threatening a charge, Foden fired a low cross as Saka arrived with perfect timing for the deflection with his left foot near the six-yard box. It was Saka’s third goal of the tournament, having scored a double against Iran in the opening clash. Both Saka and Foden were benched by manager Southgate soon afterwards as England looked to give the substitutes some much-needed match practice.
Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish replaced Saka and Foden. In the 74th minute, Pape Sarr curled in a right-footed free-kick from outside the England box but the ball swung to the left of ’keeper Pickford.
When Koulibaly was slapped with a yellow card for his reckless tackle on English skipper Kane in the 75th minute, it pretty much summed up Senegal’s dismal performance.
England's Harry Kane scores their second goal against Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor yesterday. (Reuters)