England has comfortably defeated Senegal 3-0 to set up a much-anticipated clash with France in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Qatar.
An opening goal from Jordan Henderson in the 38th minute was added to by Harry Kane with the last action of the first half at Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday — Kane’s first goal in the tournament.
Bukayo Saka netted the third in the 65th minute.
Senegal had their chances, notably through Watford striker Ismaila Sarr, but the African champions failed to pose any significant danger to England.
“The team has made a very complicated game tonight look straight-forward,” England manager Gareth Southgate told ITV after the match.
Kane’s goal was his 52nd in an England shirt and moves him within one of Wayne Rooney’s records as the country’s all-time goalscorer. It also took the captain beyond Gary Lineker’s record as England’s top scorer in major tournaments with 11 goals.
England was fortunate not to concede early in the game, with Senegal having two good chances before Henderson’s opener. The first big chance fell to Sarr, who beat goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to the ball but blazed it over the goalmouth.
Sarr was also instrumental in Senegal’s first shot on target, as the forward played it into Boulaye Dia, who struck intently at goal, forcing Pickford into a left-handed save.
The first half-hour was tight and edgy, but England found their feet and, following Henderson’s goal, developed their game into a commanding performance in the second half, looking more like a team chasing their first major title since winning the World Cup before a home crowd in 1966.
Jude Bellingham, aged 19, and 21-year-old Saka both played key roles throughout the game.
“We’ve got some super young players, and we feel it is right to give them an opportunity,” said Southgate. “They’re heading in the right direction, and these games are brilliant life experiences for them.”
England’s 12 goals at this tournament equal their previous best at a World Cup when they reached the semi-finals of Russia 2018. In 1966, they scored 11, including four in the final against West Germany.
For Senegal, meanwhile, the result marked the end of a successful 2022 run that saw them become Africa Cup of Nations champions and reach the top 16 of the World Cup.
England’s next match comes against defending world champions France on Saturday, also at Al Bayt Stadium.
In their Round of 16 matches against Poland on Sunday, France’s number 10 Kylian Mbappe, aged 23, scored twice to match 35-year-old Argentina great Lionel Messi’s nine-goal tally in World Cup competition.