England see off Senegal to set up France World Cup quarterfinal
Goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, and Bukayo Saka helped England beat Senegal 3-0 at Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday in the last 16 of the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Russia 2018 semifinalists England didn’t start well against the Africa Cup of Nations champions and were fortunate not to fall behind.
Senegal had a penalty ignored by VAR, and Boulaye Dia enjoyed a pair of chances in the opening half hour.
First failing to get a volley on target, Dia was then denied by a strong left hand from Jordan Pickford when Saka messed up a backpass deep in his own half.
In their first well-manufactured team move, however, England pulled ahead when Jude Bellingham picked out Henderson in the box from the left flank to make it 1-0.
👏 @JHenderson 👏Our skipper has opened the scoring for England against Senegal ⚽️ #FIFAWorldCuppic.twitter.com/xhHB2BWluK— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 4, 2022
Many had criticized the Liverpool captain getting the nod over other options in the center of the park, but Henderson eventually went off to a standing ovation.
Perhaps most impressive of all was Borussia Dortmund prospect Bellingham, who was again important when Harry Kane doubled the lead.
Battling in midfield, the Real Madrid target laid off a perfect left-footed pass for Phil Foden, who then assisted his captain for Kane’s first goal of this edition of the World Cup in first half stoppage time.
Through his exploits, 19-year-old Bellingham became the first player to score a goal and provide an assist at a World Cup before turning 20 years old since Argentina legend Lionel Messi in 2006.
“I don’t want to big him up too much because he is still young, but he’s one of the most gifted players I have ever seen,” teammate Foden beamed post-match.
“He has no weakness in his game. I think he will be the best midfielder in the world.”
Jude Bellingham’s numbers in 2022 so far ⭐️🏴 #Qatar202210 total goals4 total assists1 World Cup goal1 World Cup assist…world class. 🧞♂️ pic.twitter.com/HqwNlWgtH1— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 4, 2022
England started the second half where they left off. After Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy almost mishandled a Kane shot from distance and fluffed his lines, the skipper was involved in the build-up of a third goal.
Kane tried to find Foden on the left wing who eventually overlapped him. After Kane was tackled, the ball still ended up with Manchester City forward Foden who connected with Saka to make it three.
Keeping clean sheets in their last three outings, England now face what is arguably the toughest test of the tournament.
If they wish to advance to the semifinals, they must beat reigning champions France and keep Golden Boot contender Kylian Mbappe at bay on Saturday.
“They look like the strongest in the competition up to now,” Foden said.
“[But] we back ourselves every day and we are confident.”