Three Lions slay The Dragons' hearts
To win Group B and advance to play Senegal in the Round of 16, England cruised to a convincing victory over rival Wales. Wales' dismal performance in the FIFA World Cup (WC) results in just one point, and for the first time in their history, the Dragons are eliminated from a major competition in the group stage.
The first 20 minutes of the game were uneventful, with stand-in Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward doing well to sprint off his line and prevent Marcus Rashford. Rob Page's team made it plain that they intended to stay in the game as long as they could by making few serious threats in the opening half and letting England tighten the screws more and more.
The much-hyped Phil Foden had England's first meaningful opportunity, but he could only blast the ball over and Rashford's acrobatic overhead kick in the style of Richarlison also came up empty. As the HT whistle approached, the resolute Welsh supporters sang "Yma o Hyd," but the USA's victory against Iran in Group B's other semifinal significantly diminished the Dragons' hopes of moving on.
Wales' campaign was all but over thanks to a one-two knockout blow from Manchester's best just 10 minutes after start of the second half following what appeared to be the forced replacement of talisman Gareth Bale. Because of Foden's aggressive running, England was awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, which allowed Rashford to surprise Ward and score. As Wales struggled to recover from falling behind, Rashford applied instant pressure, high, giving Kane the opportunity to shoot a ball across the goal for Foden to tap in at the back post.
Kieffer Moore's deflected long shot offered Wales a swift reaction, but Pickford was well-prepared to stop it and deny the Welsh any glimmer of hope. Rashford scored the Three Lions' 100th World Cup goal after superbly navigating his way into the box and emphatically squeezing a shot through Ward's legs. Rashford wasn't satisfied with just one goal for the evening.
With Jude Bellingham and Foden both coming close to a fourth, it became a matter of how many for England as the game drew to a close. Gareth Southgate's team ultimately performed well enough to finish first in the group, and they can now look forward to their first-ever senior level matchup against Senegal on Sunday. Wales finishes their World Cup campaign in last place in Group B and without a victory.