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England sweep past Senegal to set up World Cup quarter-final with France

  • England sweep past Senegal to set up World Cup quarter-final with France
    England will meet France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday after an impressive demolition of Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium. England sweep past Senegal to set up World Cup quarter-final with France
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England will meet France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday after an impressive demolition of Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium.

From first to last, the drum beats were relentless from the small section of Senegal supporters. They pounded in the temples of everybody present, creating an oppressive backdrop to this high-stakes occasion. It was one in which England had to show their concentration, their resilience, their quality. How they succeeded, lengthening their stride after a sticky start to set up a mouthwatering quarter-final against France on Saturday back here at Al Bayt.

England stayed calm when Senegal threatened to turn the first half into an ordeal for them and, when they had their opportunities, they made them count. Jordan Henderson does not score many at this level but he was there to get things started and, when Harry Kane made it 2-0 before half-time, it felt as though Senegal were broken.

Gareth Southgate's side survived a nervy opening in which goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made an outstanding save from Boulaye Dia to run out convincing winners with a powerful display of attacking strength.

Jude Bellingham was England's star man, setting up the first goal for Jordan Henderson with a perfect cross after 38 minutes then having a hand in the second on the stroke of half-time, combining with Phil Foden as captain Harry Kane powered home his first of the tournament.

It left Kane just one behind Wayne Rooney's all-time record of 53 England goals and he now has the perfect stage here in Qatar to write a fresh page in the history books.

Foden was the creator once more as England wrapped the game up in the 57th minute, crossing for Bukayo Saka to show great awareness and touch to flick a delicate finish past Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

It capped the perfect night for manager Southgate, who opted to restore Saka and keep faith with Foden, leaving out Marcus Rashford despite his two goals in the win over Wales. Raheem Sterling was not considered after a break-in at his family home and will now return to England.