Rashford’s brace puts England ahead and eliminates Wales.
England beat Wales 3-0 on Tuesday to top Group B and set up a round-of-16 match against Senegal next Sunday.
Marcus Rashford scored a 50th-minute free-kick, and Phil Foden scored from Harry Kane’s cross.
Rashford’s second goal on 68 minutes sent Wales out of a major tournament in the group stage for the first time.
1. Southgate’s changes help England advance
Change is sometimes beneficial. Gareth Southgate drafted Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden, Jordan Henderson, and Kyle Walker following England’s lacklustre performance against the U.S.
England moved the ball too slowly in the first 45 minutes, while Wales set up with a low defensive block and minimal ambition to stay in the game. Rashford smashed a 50th-minute free-kick past Danny Ward, who may regret jumping to his right as the ball flew to his left.
Foden’s inclusion was widely requested, and he validated those calls with a well-taken goal that ended Wales’ aspirations with enough time left for Southgate to rest key players for Sunday’s game against Senegal.
Foden’s goal was in part the result of Rashford and the Manchester City winger switching flanks moments earlier.
2. Kane can provide without scoring
Harry Kane is fighting to keep the Golden Boot he earned in Russia four years ago, but England doesn’t care. Back then, England’s chances hinged on Kane’s precision finishing, but that’s no longer the case given the multitude of attacking options either side of him.
After providing two assists in England’s opening triumph over Iran, he set up Foden’s goal with a brilliantly weighted cross. Kane could have got an early assist with a pass to Rashford.
Kane’s health has been questioned since he injured his foot against Iran, but he looked sharper tonight and will benefit from the respite he received when Callum Wilson replaced him after 57 minutes.
Kane’s hunger for goals may upset him that he hasn’t scored yet in Qatar, but he is the first England player since David Beckham in 2002 to assist on three goals.
3. Wales whimper out as Bale watches Euro 2024
One of the decade’s top players should not go out this way. Gareth Bale could make his final Wales debut on Tuesday. It’s uncertain if he’ll return to LAFC in February, although he’s under contract with the MLS Cup victors until June 2023.
The 33-year-old claimed after Tuesday’s setback that he wants to play for Wales until Euro 2024, and his World Cup frustration may fuel him. He had just seven touches and one completion in the first half.
Rob Page’s decision to substitute the winger at halftime was surprising given his talent. Rashford put England ahead in five minutes, ending Wales’ hopes.
The previously relentless Nice midfielder turns 32 in December and seemed off the pace for much of this tournament.
N Williams, Ward, Mepham, B Davies, Allen, Ampadu, Bale, Ramsey, James, Moore 5.
Roberts, Johnson, Morrell, Wilson, Colwill 6
Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Henderson, Rice, Bellingham, Foden, Kane, Rashford.
Alexander-Arnold6, Phillips7, Wilson7, Trippier6, Grealish6.
He joined Enner Valencia, Kylian Mbappe, and Cody Gakpo as tournament top scorers with his brace.
Gareth Bale, Wales.
Not only unable to carry a nation’s hopes, but hardly able to run owing to injury.
Marcus Rashford’s first brace for England featured some nice footwork.
The Manchester United player has scored three goals so far at the World Cup.
Marcus Rashford discusses his two goals to BBC One: “Football is for moments like this. Greatest moments I’m glad we advanced because I think we can play even better than we did today.”
Bale on his future: “This tournament didn’t go as planned. We’ve sucked. As long as I’m needed, I’ll keep going. [Euro 2024 qualifying] resumes in March.”
Page on Bale’s early night: “He was struggling with his hamstring in the first half and would have been 70% fit for the second half, so we took him off and he accepted it.”
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