Qatar, (Reuters) – Clinical England overcame a pedestrian start to surge to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Senegal on Sunday as high-quality goals by Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka swept them into a mouth-watering World Cup quarter-final clash with France.
England took a long time to impose themselves on the African champions, a team they had never faced before, and survived a couple of scares before two goals late in the first half changed the feel of the night and it was no contest after the break. The impressive victory extended their all-time unbeaten run against African teams to 21 games, including eight in World Cups. Morocco, who face Spain on Tuesday, are now the only African team left in the tournament.
“The ruthlessness of the performance was excellent,” said manager Gareth Southgate. “Every match you play is a different sort of challenge and different tactical problem to resolve. We’ve stepped up and are answering those questions. “The quality of the moves was outstanding and the finishing was ruthless.”
It was always going to be a stiff challenge for Senegal in the absence of the suspended Idrissa Gueye and injured fellow midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate.
With Sadio Mane missing the tournament through injury the Africans also lacked a cutting edge to trouble an England defence that kept a third successive World Cup clean sheet for the first time in 20 years. They were very much in the game though for much of the first half as England were slow and static and a series of misplaced passes gifted Senegal chances.
The best of them fell to Boulaye Dia and only the strong left arm of keeper Jordan Pickford prevented the Africans taking the lead.