England cruised past Senegal 3-0 in their first World Cup knockout match, with a mouth-watering clash against holders France awaiting them in the last eight.
Two quick-fire goals – the first from Jordan Henderson, the second from Harry Kane – put Gareth Southgate’s side in control going into the half-time break, after what had been a nervy start at the Al Bayt Stadium in Qatar.
Senegal, the African Cup of Nations champions, had chances to open the scoring and forced a fine save from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford before his namesake Henderson struck in the 38th minute.
But the second half was far more comfortable for the Three Lions, and Arsenal’s young star Bukayo Saka scored his third goal of the tournament in the 57th minute to rubber-stamp the victory.
Kane’s goal in first-half added time means he has now scored 11 goals at major tournaments, seven in the World Cup and four in the Euros, overtaking Gary Lineker as England’s all-time top scorer in major tournaments.
England face the toughest test they could ask for in the next round, after record-setting goals from French strikers Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe helped the 2018 winners see off Poland in the earlier Sunday game.
Young Lions roar in impressive victory
Playing in their first knockout match on the world stage since the painful extra-time 2018 semi-final loss to Croatia, Southgate’s men showed both quality and growing maturity to progress.
But while it was Henderson and Kane who got the goals that helped England neuter an impressive Senegalese start, youngsters Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden shone brightest under the floodlights.
The former, aged just 19, added to his growing reputation with a superb performance and laid on the assist for his midfield partner Henderson.
Bellingham also led a brilliant breakaway for Kane’s fine goal, before Manchester City star Foden, 22, played in the skipper to slam home.
And Saka, himself just 21, repaid the manager’s faith in starting him over Marcus Rashford by clipping the ball past Edouard Mendy to kill off the contest.
England were in cruise control from that point, and Southgate rung the changes with progress assured to consecutive World Cup quarter-finals – something the national team last managed in 2002 and 2006.