Doha, Dec 5 (Ajit Weekly News) England coach Gareth Southgate praised his side for the 3-0 win over Senegal in Qatar World Cup round of 16 on Sunday night with goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka.
Henderson opened the scoring in the 38th minute when England were struggling to contain Senegal, who almost took the lead through Boulaye Dia.
“We were a bit sticky with the ball in the first 25 to 30 minutes,” admitted Southgate, who said that in the first half, England’s best chances “came from winning the ball from them, and Jude (Bellingham) and Hendo (Henderson) were outstanding in that aspect of the game.”
“They’re both forward-thinking midfield players. Hendo doesn’t get many (goals) for us, but he’s been outstanding. He’s such a leader, he knits the team together, around the camp he’s brilliant, and his performances have been top drawer for us,” commented Southgate, reports Xinhua.
The coach was also happy to see Kane net his first goal from open play for England in open play this year when he finished off a break started by Jude Bellingham and prolonged by the impressive Phil Foden with the last kick of the first half.
“It was important for Harry Kane and for us to score,” he said, before turning his attention to players such as Foden, Bellingham (who is just 19) and Saka.
“We’ve got some super young players, and it’s been right to give them their opportunity. These games are brilliant life experience for them. Their progress is phenomenal. The team has made a very complicated game tonight look straightforward,” said Southgate.
Talking about the quarterfinal against defending champions France, Southgate said that France is “an outstanding team with a phenomenal tournament record and some outstanding individuals. So, without a doubt it’s a game where we’ll have to find our highest possible level.”
Meanwhile, England trio, Harry Kane, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham, all spoke of their satisfaction in the early hours of Monday morning after helping England reach Qatar World Cup quarters. England will meet defending champions France in the last eight.
“Knockout games are never easy. We’ve showed great maturity through the tournament. It’s 3-0 against a really good side,” said Kane, who praised the maturity of the squad. “Their mentality was top from the beginning, and we took our chances when they came. We feel good. Three clean sheets in a row is really important,” said Kane.
“It’ll be a really tough game (against France) as they’re reigning champions. It’ll be a good battle. We’ll recover nicely and get ready for the game,” he concluded.
Foden admitted he was “buzzing with the result,” but he also said, “it’s knockout football, so we’ll have to recover tomorrow and think about our next opponent, which is going to be really tough.”
“I’ve always spoken about bringing my club form to international level, and tonight was probably my best England game, so I’m really happy,” said the Manchester City midfielder.
“France look the strongest in the competition. Everywhere you look they have talent. But we’ll back ourselves on the day. We’re confident,” he added.
Foden also praised for 19-year-old Bellingham, who had another outstanding display.
“He’s one of the most gifted players I’ve ever seen. I don’t see a weakness in his game. He’s got everything, and he’s going to be the best midfielder in the world, for sure,” said Foden.
Speaking highly of Henderson’s goal, Bellingham said the “first 35 minutes were tough and it was one of those games when we needed to get the first goal. We knew when we did we’d be in a good position.”
–Ajit Weekly News
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