) England coach Gareth Southgate praised his side for the 3-0 win over Senegal in Qatar FIFA 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.
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.”