England’s victory against Senegal was decidedly down to the youngsters’ potential for counter-attacking moves.
The England team, contrary to initial expectations of a complicated challenge in the round of 16, did not find it difficult to confirm their place in the World Cup quarterfinals.
England struggled to create much in the first half as they came up against a defensively organised Senegal side, suffering on the counter-attack. In addition, defender Harry Maguire had a bad day and made several individual errors.
Senegal’s best chance of the half fell to Sarr, who broke clear down the left and found Día with space to spare, only for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to pull off a save.
England also struggled to create attacking openings but the situation improved considerably when Jude Bellingham found space on the left on a counter-attack for Jordan Henderson to finish first.
When England speed up the edges, Bellingham became even more vital in accelerating and triangulating.
Following a trend in the English side over the last few months, England broke the deadlock and imposed intense marking on their opponents, with Bukayo Saka in particular on the right flank.
With the same tempo as at the end of the first half, England returned from the break in the same style and quickly sought the third goal to close the score, with Harry Kane coming out of the box and evading a free kick for Saka to complete the rout.
Even with the defeat, it is worth highlighting the quality of manager Aliou Cissé for the Senegal team, maintaining the standard of the tactical organization without the ball even with several absences during this World Cup.
England once again showed sensational technical quality on counter-attacks, having great potential for Bellingham, Rashford, Foden, Saka and Sterling to represent great threats to any opponent.
This factor makes the duel against France even more interesting, as it has great potential to be the best match of this World Cup and one of the greatest duels in the history of football this century.
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