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England v USA: Group B - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

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Two Up, Two Down: Picking out the positives and negatives from England’s thumping win v Senegal!

Goals from Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka saw the Three Lions into the last eight. What were the positives and negatives from the game?

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Gav says…

Kane scores…eventually!

I think Harry Kane has actually played well in this tournament.

It’s good that other players have shared the goalscoring burden, but it was important for Kane to start notching. For a player of his standard, going six World Cup games without a goal wasn’t good enough.

Roy Keane said with confidence that he felt Kane would get the goal against Senegal and thankfully he did. It was a great finish to match a great performance.

The strongest attack?

Lots of focus is placed on England’s defence being a key weakness in the team, but why don’t we talk more about how good the attack is?

The talent we have is scary. Other teams have quality players, but I’m not sure anyone can match our depth.

If you can drop Marcus Rashford after he’s scored two goals and still look deadly, you’re doing alright.

Another slow start

We were lucky not to go behind at 0-0.

Senegal had some fantastic chances after John Stones messed around too much at the back, and a better side would’ve taken advantage. You can’t give Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud those opportunities next weekend, because they'll stick them away.

Thank God for Jordan Pickford, who made two superb saves in the first half to keep the scores level. He’s one of our most important players.

Can we last the pace?

Kyle Walker is one of the fastest players on the planet, yet even he struggled with the pace of Ismaila Sarr at times, and the same goes for Luke Shaw down the other side.

It’s only a small gripe, but we’re going to face a different calibre of player against France and we have to watch how often we allow good players to get down the outside and deliver crosses into the box.

England v Senegal: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says…

Adjustments paid off

We were poor for the first half hour or more but whether the coaches or the team members decided to adjust things, it really worked and resulted in us winning the game before half time in reality. England aren’t historically great at making tactical changes in-game, but tonight they showed we can do that which is a major plus.

Kane off the mark

All strikers like to score and even a short dry spell can impact their confidence and morale. Kane notching one tonight and almost getting another will be great for him, and the squad too. He has done everything but score before tonight, and now he’s done that too. Good to see.

Shaky defence under a high press

In that first half hour we looked very iffy from some quite simple play and high pressing by Senegal. If we are to carry on past France we cannot be that iffy at the back for about a third of the game anymore. France and other teams will punish what tonight’s opponents didn’t, so lessons have to be learned and fast.

Pre-match bullsh*t

When the name of Jordan Henderson was called as starting in the team, some of the crap being bounced around socials was bloody shocking.

We may be a little biased on Wearside but Jordan more that hushed his critics with a great performance and a goal that started the momentum shift to enable the strong win we ended up securing.

Well done to young Jude Bellingham for calling out what we all know too - Hendo has done it all and is a proven winner at every level bar major international tournaments. He can be part of this being a success for England just like the young lads will be. The squad will take this as far as it can go, not any 11 players alone. Well played Jordan, and nice one shutting up all them plebs who suggested you weren’t the right pick. Sod em all.

England v Senegal: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Mark Wood says…

We overcame a potential disaster

As African Champions, Senegal are no pushover for anyone and they made life extremely difficult for England in the opening half. They had a couple of good chances before England finally woke up and by the end of the game it was a fairly comfortable win. You can only beat what is in front of you and I have seen England in enough tournaments, whether it is World Cups or European Championships to have witnessed plenty of slip-ups down the years. One thing you can say about Gareth Southgate is that in general, his teams don’t mess up the early rounds.

England have great strength in depth

Especially among the forwards, where the manager was able to rotate and have a team no less effective than they were against Wales. The stats show that they are the tournament's top scorers and England’s best striker - Harry Kane - only got off the mark in this World Cup tonight. This despite the loss of Raheem Sterling AND resting Marcus Rashford, who is among the leading scorers in the tournament.

We were very slow in getting started

As mentioned above, Senegal had two good chances before England started to find their gears and we cannot afford to start so lethargically against better teams. If we do, we will pay for it. If this England team have any notion of progressing to the later stages of this World Cup then they need to be on top of their game from the kick off.

Err... it’s the French next

You tend to get one of two possible versions of France turning up to a tournament. One, the arguing disjointed squad that implodes onto the nearest departure flight or, two, the majestic talent-packed team that rolls over everyone before them. I’ve been watching the way Mbappe, Dembele, Griezmann and the rest have been sweeping forward in this World Cup and if you haven’t watched them they really are something. England face version two of France next Saturday.

France v Poland: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images


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