Marcus Rashford in the 2022 Fifa World Cup group stage match between England and Iran
Marcus Rashford in the 2022 FIFA World Cup group stage match between England and Iran | (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Football | World Cup 2022 | England top group as Wales exit tournament

By Chris Sampson

  • Rashford brace sees Three Lions go through as group winners
  • Disappointing Wales hit by spate of injuries
  • Senegal await for Southgate’s side
QATAR – Marcus Rashford grabbed two goals to cap a fine display, with Phil Foden also on target as England head to the last 16, while Wales bow out.


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Wales 0 England 3

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A Marcus Rashford double, either side of a goal from Phil Foden gave England the victory they needed to secure top spot in Group B and confirmed Wales’ exit from the tournament. The manner of the performance will give Gareth Southgate’s side confidence as they move into the knockout stages. Wales had needed a four-goal victory to guarantee qualification, or, more realistically, a win and the game between Iran and the USA ending in a draw.

Southgate made four changes from Friday’s draw with the USA, which enabled him to freshen things up, and to get some minutes into the legs of some of his squad players, keeping them sharp for the knockout stages. Rashford, Foden, Jordan Henderson and fit-again Kyle Walker coming in for Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, Mason Mount and Kieran Trippier. Rob Page reverted to a back-four and his well-drilled side proved difficult to break down, and they frustrated England in an uneventful first half. England’s only clear-cut chance fell to Rashford. Declan Rice pounced on a loose ball to feed Harry Kane, who had dropped off, and his measured through-ball played Rashford in, however Danny Ward was alert to the situation, and came racing out to make the block and deny the Manchester United forward.

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Wales lost Nico Williams, due to suspected concussion sustained when blocking a Rashford shot. Page also withdrew an ineffectual Gareth Bale at the interval, with the former Real Madrid star feeling discomfort in his hamstring. Southgate, meanwhile switched Foden and Rashford over at half-time and the move quickly paid dividends. Within five minutes of the restart, a surging run from Foden was halted by a foul from Ethan Ampadu. Rashford stepped up to fire a magnificent free-kick past Ward, who had taken a step to his right, behind the wall, and couldn’t adjust his position. England ruthlessly doubled their lead a minute later to effectively kill the game off. As England applied the press, Rashford closed down Ben Davies and the ball broke to Kane who fired a great ball across the box for Foden to finish at the back post.

Wales continued to work hard and briefly rallied but after 68 minutes a fine team move saw substitute Kalvin Phillips find Rashford, who cut inside and saw his powerful shot go through Ward’s legs into the net. England could have added to their tally, Rashford being denied a hat-trick by Ward after being rolled in by substitute Callum Wilson.

England top Group B with seven points, two points ahead of the United States who set up a last-16 meeting with the Netherlands by beating Iran 1-0. England will now face Senegal in the last 16 on Sunday, and although the African champions are not a side to be taken lightly, they can go into the game with confidence. They performed well against Iran and Wales, and, while the game against the USA was a tough watch for England fans, they came out of the match with a point. For Wales it was a disappointing campaign, and possibly the end of an era, with Bale and Aaron Ramsay unable to have the same influence on games that they had in the past. However, it was an era which brought qualification for three major tournaments, ending a 64-year wait to appear in the World Cup finals and they will be determined to build on this in the future.

England play Senegal in the last 16 on Sunday (19:00 GMT). The tournament is over for Wales and they will now look towards their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.


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