England has booked the Quarter Final berth by beating Senegal 3-0 and set up a clash with defending champions France on December 10 in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The “Three Lions” have so far remained unbeaten in Qatar, so it would be interesting to see how they tackle Hugo Lloris & Co in the do-or-die battle. For now, let us focus on three players who put their hands up and delivered when it mattered the most for their national team in the match against Senegal.
Gareth Southgate took a huge risk by picking Bukayo Saka ahead of Marcus Rashford. This was a brave decision but Saka repaid the faith shown in him by the English manager by playing an almost unblemished game. The goal he scored in the 51st minute had class written all over it, lifting the ball over a desperate Mendy and then directing the same towards the back of the net. Even otherwise, he held his fortress and passed the ball to his teammates quickly. So, for his astuteness and athleticism, Saka deserves all the kudos in the game against Senegal.
Even Southgate would have been concerned over the plain ordinary outings of Harry Kane in Qatar so far. But in the clash against Senegal, he proved yet again that it would be imprudent to write him off after a few games. Be it link-up play or movement, Kane was impeccable, to say the least on December 4. Most importantly, he opened his account in the 2022 World Cup with a right-footed flourish that stunned Mendy. Kane was also involved in one crucial pass and four perfect long balls in the game against the African nation. Let us see whether he builds on to the new-found momentum on December 10 in the knockout affair.
He has been performing consistently for the “Three Lions” in the marquee event in Qatar. The Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been robust in defence, has kept his play simple and offered short passes in the English campaign so far in the tournament. Against Senegal as well he was instrumental in England’s two goals, which were executed with finesse by Henderson and Kane. In the round of 16, apart from being involved in a critical pass, he created 30 passes, managed three dribbles, and won 11 duels.