Southgate refuses to go all in on Rashford and Foden, though hails ‘incredible’ moment of magic from England ace
England manager Gareth Southgate hailed goalscorers Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden, though did temper his praise when pointing to a first-half issue.
England produced a second-half blitz to thump Wales 3-0 and win Group B. A cagey first half produced little of note in either penalty box, but the Three Lions refused to be contained after the break.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring in the 50th minute before Phil Foden doubled the lead less than 90 seconds later.
Rashford curled a sublime free-kick into the top corner before Harry Kane’s inch-perfect low cross was turned home at the far post by Foden.
Wales gave their all and pushed to land a blow on their near neighbour, but it was England who put the contest to bed when Rashford bagged his second.
Following a rampaging run down the right, Rashford cut inside and fired a low strike in off goalkeeper Danny Ward’s legs. Both he and Foden looked full of confidence and pushed their cases to start next time out.
England’s reward for topping Group B is a Round of 16 clash against Senegal who finished as runners-up in Group A. The match will kick off at 7pm (UK time) on Sunday, December 4.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, Southgate was asked if he got a performance that was as good going forward as it was defensively.
“Yeah, I think we did,” replied the England boss. “I thought in the first half we really controlled the game, but didn’t create enough clear chances apart from Marcus’ one when he ran in behind.
“We wanted a bit more thrust and threat in the final third and to play forward quicker. In the second half, once we got the two goals we knew their spirit had gone, it’s been a tough tournament for them.
“I thought we kept our discipline quality right the way until the very end.”
Southgate on Rashford and Foden
On two-goal hero Rashford who has been a man on a mission since the summer, Southgate added: “It’s great for him, he’s trained really well, I have to say.
“He’s been impressive since he [was recalled to the England set-up].
“He could’ve had a hattrick really and the free-kick… that’s what he’s capable of. It’s an incredible strike.”
Foden marked his return to the starting eleven with a goal, while Rashford also staked a claim for a starting berth against Senegal. While Bukayo Saka’s place looks secure, Raheem Sterling and certainly Mason Mount’s do not.
Southgate went on to hail his goalscorers against Wales, though did temper his praise by suggesting they were too easily nullified in the first half.
Southgate said: “In moments I thought [both Foden and Rashford] were a bit quiet, so we decided to switch wings.
“We thought that might allow them to go on the outside, but also the chance to come in and they responded really well. For both of them to get the goals is really great.”
Southgate concluded by hailing the travelling England fans who combined with their Welsh counterparts to create one of the most raucous atmospheres of the tournament so far.
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