Putting on a real second-half romp on Tuesday night, England wrapped up top spot in Group B as they breezed their way to a 3-0 victory against British rivals Wales.
Coming under some scrutiny back home following their 0-0 stalemate against the USA last week, Gareth Southgate’s men came roaring back as they booked their knockout stage ticket without breaking much of a sweat.
With Phil Foden and a Marcus Rashford brace helping the Three Lions claim seven points from their three Group B appearances, England will now be preparing for a Round of 16 showdown against Senegal on Sunday.
However, while Southgate’s superstars might have extended on their Qatar quest this winter, Wales will be heading home after what has been a lacklustre World Cup return as they end proceedings sat rock-bottom of the Group B table.
In a battle between two British rivals, we have taken a look at the main talking points following Tuesday’s clash.
England’s Manchester duo steal all of the headlines
Putting in a toothless display against the USA as they had to settle for an uninspiring 0-0 stalemate last week, many England fans were calling on Southgate to make a host of alterations on Tuesday night.
With Foden shockingly failing to get off the bench a few days ago – a decision that saw Southgate receive a huge amount of backlash – the Manchester City ace certainly took his chance here and underlined why he is regarded to be England’s most talented option.
Offering the Three Lions a different dimension and almost seeing off Tuesday’s showdown after tapping home from close range just seconds after Rashford’s opener, Foden underlined just how important he can be for England going forward.
However, while Manchester City’s budding superstar might have bagged his first World Cup goal here, it will be Rashford who rightfully steals plenty of the headlines back home.
While Harry Kane might still be waiting to open his account and dealing with a suspected ankle injury, the Manchester United forward has only continued to gain a string of plaudits throughout England’s three Group B appearances.
Although there might have been some speculation that Rashford could miss out on a call-up to Southgate’s squad, the 25-year-old has already notched a trio of World Cup strikes and appears to be back to his clinical best.
Taking some of the goalscoring burden off of Kane’s shoulders, it is hard to see how either of Manchester’s homegrown talents will be displaced over the next few weeks.
Senegal awaits the Three Lions
Finding a perfect response on Tuesday night and breezing past Wales thanks to a real second-half romp, England will now be desperate to use that display as a platform to build on.
Eventually mustering seven points and clinching top spot in Group B, the Three Lions will now get their knockout stage adventure underway on Sunday night when they meet African giants Senegal in Al Khor.
Desperate to go further than the semi-final finish that they mustered out in Russia four years ago, Southgate’s side could face a rugged test this weekend against a Senegal squad who are riding their own wave of momentum.
While the Lions of Teranga might have opened their Middle Eastern campaign with a late 2-0 loss at the hands of Holland on November 21st, Aliou Ciss’ side have come roaring back.
Along with cruising their way to a 3-1 win against Qatar last week, Senegal eventually claimed a silver medal finish in Group A after grabbing an eye-catching 2-1 victory against Ecuador earlier on Tuesday.
Although the former AFCON champions might be without Sadio Mane this winter, England will know that they could face a tricky challenge.
Is this the end of the road for Page?
While Wales might have ended their exile from the world stage back in June as they claimed a famous 1-0 victory against Ukraine, there is no doubt that Rob Page’s side have come crashing back down to earth.
Enduring a real Nations League nightmare earlier in the year, the Dragons have failed to find any kind of stability in Qatar and they leave the Middle East knowing that they failed to live up to expectations.
Although Wales might have opened their World Cup adventure with a late 1-1 draw against the USA on November 21st, that was just a minor positive for Page’s side.
Heartbroken against Iran last week as they suffered a 2-0 loss, Wales knew that they were in need of a real miracle if they were someway to find a route out of Group B.
Failing to ask any questions of Jordan Pickford’s goal on Tuesday night, the Dragons end their Qatar adventure sat rock-bottom of the Group B table and pressure will certainly be on Page’s shoulders over the coming weeks.
Not notching a single strike from open play this winter, Wales also now find themselves in the midst of an eight-match winless run across all competitions.
With both Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey clearly showing their age in the Middle East and failing to make any kind of impact, it really is back to the drawing board for Wales.
Wales: Ward, Williams, Mepham, Rodon, Davies, Allen, Ampadu, Bale, Ramsey, James, Moore
Subs: Morrell, Johnson, Roberts, Wilson, Colwill
England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Rice, Bellingham, Henderson, Foden, Rashford, Kane
Subs: Trippier, Grealish, Phillips, Wilson, Alexander-Arnold
Goals: Rashford (50′, 68′), Foden (51′)
Yellow Cards: Ramsey, James
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Slavko Vincic
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