Bellingham leads England past Senegal in World Cup Round of 16
The Three Lions are still on course for a chance to win a World Cup for the first time in over 50 years.
England ran out 3-0 winners against Senegal, coming through extensive early pressure to stroll to victory in the second half. Jude Bellingham may not have scored the goals, but his vision broke the game open for a Three Lions side that got most of its success in transition moments.
England had long spells of possession, but as has so often been the case in this tournament, that’s something of a curse. Senegal pounced on several turnovers from English defenders, turning their low line of contention into a wave of green shirts going forward.
The most notable example saw Jordan Pickford having to extend an arm to deny Boulaye Dia after Bukayo Saka had gifted Senegal in a dangerous spot.
England had been struggling, so hey looked to the goal-scoring talents of Jordan Henderson to save them.
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It was an incisive break for the Three Lions, with Harry Kane dropping off the front line to disrupt the Senegalese defensive ranks. Kane did well to wait for his window to send Jude Bellingham in behind after the Dortmund midfielder came from deep.
Making a run from even further from the goal was Henderson, who covered a solid 60 yards to get into position for the calmest of finishes.
For Henderson, who finished it off like a natural, the goal was just his third in 73 appearances for England. For Senegal, it was a stunner that broke the game’s rhythm, and the Three Lions sensed that they had the champions of Africa reeling.
England suddenly began piling up good looks, and with virtually the final kick of the half, Kane got his first goal in this World Cup.
Bellingham — who only misplaced three passes in his 76 minutes, and chipped in three successful tackles in a dominant display — made the goal, surviving two challenges at midfield before playing a glorious ball into space for Phil Foden. From there, Foden and Kane had a two-on-one, and the Manchester City man passed across for the Tottenham star to finish with aplomb.
Aliou Cissé made a halftime triple sub, but England once again punished Senegal in transition in the 58th minute. The attack almost broke down, but Foden recovered the ball after Kane had lost it, sprinting forward along the left wing. Saka kept up with the surge forward and stayed onside to apply the finish once Foden rolled a low cross into his path.
Senegal seemed exhausted, and the third goal allowed Gareth Southgate to make substitutions with an eye on a quarterfinal against France (Friday, 10:00 a.m. ET).
For the fourth straight knockout round match, a traditional power in the sport faced a real scare at 0-0 and remained unscathed, and in every single case, those favorites went on to win due to the advantage they all still have over the tier of teams below them: clinical finishers.