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England 3-0 Senegal: Kane & Bellingham star as Three Lions reach the last eight with clinical victory
Gareth Southgate's side had too much for the AFCON champions and set up a quarter-final clash with France.
England beat Senegal with a clinical performance at Al Bayt Stadium to set up a World Cup quarter-final against France.
Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson scored a rare international goal to break the deadlock after a cagey first-half, and that was followed by Harry Kane’s first of the tournament seconds before the half-time whistle.
A superbly worked Bukayo Saka goal after the break put the gloss on an accomplished last 16 win for the Three Lions.
Senegal began the contest quickly, allowing England little time on the ball and looking to attack with purpose. And they created the first real opening of the game inside five minutes as Boulaye Dia drove between John Stones and Harry Maguire and into the box but couldn’t quite get a shot off.
Having looked mildly threatening from set pieces with some dangerous crosses into the box, it was Stones who had England’s best chance of the early stages, meeting a corner at the near post but only managing to connect with his shoulder.
Moments later, Senegal were almost ahead. Maguire, with a loose pass, gave the ball away in his own half and a cross was diverted by Dia into the path of Ismaila Sarr, who could only fire over the bar from a few yards out.
Dia was involved again just after the half-hour mark as Saka lost the ball on the edge of the box and Sarr set up the Salernitana striker, whose low left-footed shot was well saved by Jordan Pickford.
The African champions’ ability to win the ball high up and pounce on some ponderous passing at the back was proving effective, but they were hit by a sucker punch with 38 minutes played.
An incisive attack involving Phil Foden and Kane allowed Jude Bellingham to burst into the box from the left, and his cut back was perfectly weighted for Henderson, who swept home with his left foot.
England were buoyed by the goal, which had come against the run of play, and almost had a second immediately after when Saka’s low cross was sent just over the bar by Kane.
Senegal’s discipline appeared to have gone as half-time approached and Luke Shaw very nearly found himself in on goal, only to be forced wide and ushered away from goal by Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
The second goal was imminent, though. Senegal, committing players forward late in the half, were caught by a ruthless counter attack. After a succession of one-touch passes, Foden slotted a pass into the path of Kane, who drove an emphatic finish past Mendy on the stroke of half-time.
Aliou Cisse, in response, made three changes in an attempt to change the direction of the match. But England were now in control, and they might have had a third goal when a long-range Kane shot nearly caught Mendy out.
A minute later, though, it was 3-0. Another clinical, flowing move ended with a low ball across goal from Foden and a delicate finish at the near post from Saka, enough to provide some breathing space with less than an hour played.
The early promise shown by Senegal had by now all but disappeared, with England dominant in possession and able to dictate the tempo.
From then on it was a case of game management against visibly demoralised opposition.
Kane came within inches of a second goal but couldn’t reach an enticing Marcus Rashford cross as the game entered its final ten minutes. At the other end, Famara Diedhiou was picked out in the box but could only guide his header over the bar.
There was a late opportunity for Rashford to score his fourth of the tournament, but the job was done for England, professionally and with minimal fuss.
The focus now turns towards a quarter-final meeting with the world champions on Saturday.