England 3-0 Wales: Three Lions roar into next round of the World Cup with routine win over timid Dragons

29 November 2022, 21:34 | Updated: 29 November 2022, 22:50

Gareth Southgate congratulates Marcus Rashford
Gareth Southgate congratulates Marcus Rashford. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

England have beaten Wales 3-0 to go through to the second round of the World Cup, in a straightforward win that saw them top their group.

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Underdogs Wales needed to win by four clear goals to have a chance of progressing after draw and a defeat in previous games, but never looked much like defying the odds on Tuesday night at the Ahmad bin Ali stadium west of Doha.

The Dragons kept England at bay for the first half but crumbled in the second 45 minutes, with a goal from Phil Foden and two from a resurgent Marcus Rashford sealing the deal for the Three Lions.

Kalvin Phillips of England consoles Ethan Ampadu of Wales
Kalvin Phillips of England consoles Ethan Ampadu of Wales. Picture: Getty
Jack Grealish on Tuesday night
Jack Grealish on Tuesday night. Picture: Getty
Marcus Rashford celebrating with Jordan Henderson
Marcus Rashford celebrating with Jordan Henderson. Picture: Getty

Both Foden and Rashford were starting a game for the first time in the tournament, as manager Gareth Southgate sought to freshen up his side after the disappointing draw against the US on Friday evening.

Kyle Walker came in for Kieran Trippier at right-back and the veteran Jordan Henderson replaced Mason Mount in midfield, with Foden preferred to Bukayo Saka and Rashford was included instead of Raheem Sterling.

The Manchester United forward could have scored early on in the game, after captain Harry Kane played him in, but Wales keeper Danny Ward was out quickly to block.

Phil Foden celebrating scoring
Phil Foden celebrating scoring. Picture: Getty
Harry Kane celebrating after the match
Harry Kane celebrating after the match. Picture: Getty
Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire. Picture: Getty

England continued to dominate possession throughout the second half, but without looking much like breaking the deadlock.

They came out in the second half with much more intensity and purpose, and Rashford opened the scoring after 50 minutes with a sumptuous free kick into the right of the goal. Ward may wish he had done better, stepping onto the wrong foot at the crucial moment as Rashford ran up.

England's tails were up and Southgate's men scored again only a minute later.

Rashford nipped in to steal the ball from a dawdling Ben Davies at left-back, Kane picked up possession and raked a low ball across the box for Foden to steal in at the far post and sweep home.

Gareth Bale made little impact
Gareth Bale made little impact. Picture: Getty
Aaron Ramsey also struggled
Aaron Ramsey also struggled. Picture: Getty

Rashford scored again in the 68th minute, running onto a long ball on the right wing, cutting inside in the box and beating the hapless Ward from close range with a low left-footed drive that went through the goalkeeper's legs.

England sought to manage the game after that, but still looked the more likely side to score dangerous and could have made it 4-0 with only a few minutes left.

John Stones scooped the ball over from a few yards out after his centre-back partner Harry Maguire nodded a corner down to him in the box.

Wales were largely disappointing throughout, with ageing legends Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey looking a shadow of their former selves, and younger players like Dan James failing to make much of an impression.

Bale went off for the second half with an injury, replaced by the youngster Brennan Johnson, who showed flashes of promise after half-time.

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It felt like the end of an era for this Wales side, who reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and qualified for last summer's Euro 2020. But their fans were still in good voice for much of the game, singing defiantly until the end.

Manager Rob Page was defiant after the game, saying he would not be disappointed.

He added: "We’ll build again for the future now, and to get to the World Cup is an unbelievable achievement for that group of players."

But for England, this was a great performance that will restore confidence ahead of the second round. Topping the group, England will play Senegal on Sunday. The US beat Iran at the same time on Tuesday evening, meaning they will place the Netherlands - on paper a tougher test.

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Speaking after the game, Rashford said the win was "a great feeling".

"We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game - I thought we did it," he said.

"It was just about taking the chances when they came.I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position.

"From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.At half-time the manager said we’d played really but that we could work the keeper more. In the second half we did that.

"Moments like this, this is what I play football for. I’m really happy that we’re going through and I hope we can build on this performance. I have massive ambition for this team and I think we play even better."

Southgate said: "In the first half we controlled the game but we didn’t create enough clear chances. We wanted a bit more thrust in the final third, to play forward a bit quicker. The second half, once we got the two goals, we knew that their spirit had probably gone. I thought we kept our discipline right until the end.

"It’s great for [Marcus Rashford]. He’s trained really well, I have to say, and he could have had a hat-trick. His free-kick was an incredible strike; that’s what he’s capable of. In moments I thought both [Rashford and Foden] were a bit quiet in the first half. We decided to switch them at half-time and they responded really well, and for them to both get their goals was great.

"I’ve played in front of England crowds like that. It’s an amazing feeling when you see them in such numbers, especially when you think how far they’ve had to travel. I thought we dealt with the pressure really well – we were calm and we showed our quality."

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