England and France are set to meet for a third occasion at the World Cup level after Gareth Southgate’s men ran out 3-0 winners against Senegal this evening.
In a first-ever showdown between the African champions and Three Lions, it was experienced duo Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and rising star Bukayo Saka who made all the difference.
“We’ve got good players going forward and are looking solid at the back with three clean sheets in a row. It’s a really good day for us.”
The previous clashes with Les Bleus all came in group-stage matches (1966 and 1982) with their upcoming quarter-final clash set to be a fascinating affair. Just like they did four years ago, England has timed its run well, though it remains to be seen whether they’ll be able to contain Kylian Mbappe and company.
But for now here’s how the players rated at Al Bayt Stadium:
Jordan Pickford – 7 – Produced an excellent save to deny Boulaye Dia with the game 32 minutes old.
Kyle Walker – 6 – Was fortunate to not be cautioned after recklessly bringing Sarr down. Unlike his club side, Walker played a conservative role as England’s right-back with the majority of their attack coming down the left flank.
John Stones – 6 – Had an interesting opening half when he gave away possession in dangerous areas. Also survived a handball call. Was a more reassuring final 30 minutes.
England’s record against African nations at the World Cup:
◉ Goals scored: 11
◉ Goals conceded: 3
◉ Clean sheets: 6
— Squawka (@Squawka) December 4, 2022
Harry Maguire – 6 – A lot had been written about Maguire pre-tournament and during it. He showed his worth to England’s cause with a last-man tackle early on. He also registered a game-high three successful tackles.
Luke Shaw – 7 – Contrastly to Walker the Man Utd full-back often played as an auxiliary left winger. Only Foden (3) created more chances than him.
Declan Rice – 7 – As usual from Rice, there was nothing exuberant about his play. Very disciplined in the holding role by retaining and recycling possession efficiently. You would expect a sterner challenge from France next weekend.
Jordan Henderson – 7 – Retained his spot and brought much-needed experience to England’s midfield. He was also the unlikely first goalscorer after sweeping home a pass from Jude Bellingham, the first time both combined all game.
Jude Bellingham – 9 – Put in another stellar performance on and off the ball. Bellingham’s tireless work summed up England’s approach. He also provided the ball for Henderson’s go-ahead goal subsequently becoming the youngest player to assist in a World Cup game for England (since 1966). The young Dortmund star was also on point with his passing and played a significant part in Kane doubling England’s lead, by gliding past several players before picking out Phil Foden.
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) December 4, 2022
Bukayo Saka – 8 – Replaced double-scoring hero Marcus Rashford in England’s starting lineup and made it count with a brilliant 58th-minute finish to give Southgate’s team a commanding 3-0 lead.
Harry Kane – 8 – Will the real Harry Kane please stand up? After starting cautiously, often dropping deep to collect the ball, England’s would-be record goalscorer reminded the world of what he’s capable of. A thunderous shot on the stroke of half-time ended today’s game as a contest.
“It was the dream chance he wanted,” Roy Keane said on ITV. “He’s looked sluggish even in this half, but when he’s one-on-one with the goalkeeper there’s no way he’s missing that. Never.”
Phil Foden – 8 – Came super close to villain status when his misplaced pass allowed Dia to be played through inside five minutes. However, before the first half ended Foden redeemed himself with a picturesque assist for Kane’s goal, his one touch from Bellingham’s pass seeing the Spurs forward through. It was an equally exquisite pass for Saka’s goal early into the second half.
Marcus Rashford (for Saka 65) – 5 – Would have been chomping at the bit to extend his World Cup scoring form but was unable to test Mendy.
Jack Grealish (for Foden 65) – 5 – Has been a bright spark whenever he’s come on at these finals. With the game already wrapped up when he entered Grealish largely played on the periphery as England reduced the tempo and saw the match out.
Mason Mount (for Bellingham 76) – N/A – A late sub.
Eric Dier (for Stones 76) – N/A – A late sub.
Kalvin Phillips (for Henderson 81) – N/A – A late sub.
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Édouard Mendy – 3 – Looked nervous from the get-go. Nothing like the assured player many dubbed world football’s best goalkeeper a few years ago. Nothing he could have done to stop Kane’s howitzer in first-half stoppage time.
Youssouf Sabaly – 3 – There was nothing he could do as England pinned Senegal back. Sabaly was primarily in defensive mode but even then it wasn’t good enough.
Kalidou Koulibaly – 4 – Won three aerial duels and completed three successful tackles which turned out to be all he was able to show for in this miserable outing. Picked up a needless yellow card late on.
Phil Foden's game by numbers vs. Senegal:
100% take-on success
3 chances created
3 duels won
2 ball recoveries
2 big chances created
— Squawka (@Squawka) December 4, 2022
Abdou Diallo – 5 – It was always going to be a long night for Senegal’s defenders and Diallo’s experience was no different.
Ismail Jakobs – 5 – Seldom crossed the halfway line in a threatening sense but did provide a cross for substitute Diédhiou before leaving the pitch with six minutes remaining on the clock.
Ismaïla Sarr – 5 – Should really have put Senegal in front in the 23rd minute. After failing to deal with a cross Sarr picked up possession but could only blaze his shot from the edge of the six-yard area over the bar over Pickford’s goal.
Nampalys Mendy – 5 – Sometimes you’re second best and there’s no shame about it. Mendy wasn’t able to perform at his optimum level due to England’s excellent work in possession.
Pathé Ciss – 3 – Overawed in the midfield battle. Aliou Cisse took him off at half-time to spare him another 45 minutes of chasing shadows.
11 – @HKane has now scored 11 goals at major tournaments for England (7 World Cup, 4 Euros), overtaking @GaryLineker (10) as the Three Lions' all-time top scorer in such competitions. Historic. pic.twitter.com/StQcUAaK3O
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 4, 2022
Krépin Diatta – 4 – Wasn’t able to impose himself in today’s game and was hauled off at the break.
Iliman Ndiaye – 3 – Casually gave away possession which lead to him not returning for the second half.
Boulaye Dia – 5 – Came agonisingly close to registering the breakthrough goal. His effort from the left of the area drew a really good stop from Pickford, who kept the Salernitana marksman at bay with an outstretched left arm.
Pape Gueye (for Ciss 46) – 4 – Was hard for him to contribute once introduced after the break.
Bamba Dieng (for Ndiaye 46) – 4 – The game was effectively done and dusted before half-time. His introduction was a mere footnote.
Pape Sarr (for Diatta 46) – 4 – Similar to Gueye and Dieng.
Famara Diédhiou (for Dia 72) – 5 – Had a free header late on but could only guide it well above Pickford’s goal.
Fode Ballo (for Jakobs 84) – N/A – A late sub.