England will meet France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday after an impressive demolition of Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium.
Gareth Southgate’s side survived a nervy opening in which goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made an outstanding save from Boulaye Dia to run out convincing winners with a powerful display of attacking strength.
Jude Bellingham was England’s star man, setting up the first goal for Jordan Henderson with a perfect cross after 38 minutes then having a hand in the second on the stroke of half-time, combining with Phil Foden as captain Harry Kane powered home his first of the tournament.
It left Kane just one behind Wayne Rooney’s all-time record of 53 England goals and he now has the perfect stage here in Qatar to write a fresh page in the history books.
Foden was the creator once more as England wrapped the game up in the 57th minute, crossing for Bukayo Saka to show great awareness and touch to flick a delicate finish past Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
It capped the perfect night for manager Southgate, who opted to restore Saka and keep faith with Foden, leaving out Marcus Rashford despite his two goals in the win over Wales. Raheem Sterling was not considered after a break-in at his family home and will now return to England.
England took a while to move through the gears against Senegal but when they clicked they showed a level of creation that gives them real edge and makes them genuine contenders for this World Cup.
The early worries came when Senegal attempted to expose Harry Maguire’s lack of pace, which they did twice and will be noted by France and Kylian Mbappe, but once Bellingham exerted his authority over the midfield England were able to take control and cruise to victory.
Borussia Dortmund’s 19-year-old has already had an outstanding World Cup but he now has power and production on the biggest stage to add to his reputation.