England secured progression to the knockout stages of the World Cup with a convincing 3-0 victory over Wales.
Two goals for Marcus Rashford and a first goal of the tournament for midfielder Phil Foden gave England fans reason to cheer on Tuesday night. They now face Senegal in the Second Round on Sunday evening.
The match was almost anti-climactic as the Three Lions were always going to progress to the knockout rounds barring a complete disaster.
It was vital for Gareth Southgate and his charges to deliver the England fans a performance to be proud of after an insipid performance against USA on Friday.
Wales needed to win by four goals and either USA or Iran needed a victory in the other game in the group for England to be knocked out. It became apparent early on that the Welsh would offer little and the only issue that needed to be resolved was whether England would top the group or finish second.
Gareth Bale went off at half time after picking up an injury. He has often been the driving force that helped Wales to their first World Cup since 1958, but looked out of sorts throughout the 45 minutes.
Jordan Pickford had a very quiet evening in England’s goal. The only time he faced any difficulty was from a Joe Allen shot that suddenly changed direction after deflecting off Harry Maguire. The Everton goalkeeper showed that he was as sharp as ever and rapidly turned to push away the ball away from danger.
Marcus Rashford started the game and his first chance came in the first half when he chased after a perfect through ball from Harry Kane. The United star tried to lift the ball over the rapidly advancing Williams, who was standing in for the suspended Wayne Hennessy, but the goalkeeper came out on top.
Rashford broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half with a fine free kick from 25 yards out. The ball was left of centre at the edge of the box and the striker lifted the ball up over the wall and into the far corner of the net.
A minute later, England had doubled their lead with Phil Foden completing a fine move. Marcus Rashford raced in to pick up a loose ball in the Welsh final third and laid a short pass to Harry Kane.
Kane took the ball to the byline on the right wing and crossed the ball perfectly across goal. Foden made no mistake and placed the ball into the back of the net.
Rashford’s added his second goal of the game in the 68th minute. After running on to a ball over the top of the Welsh defence, Rashford cut inside from the right wing, wrong-footed a defender and hit the ball between Williams’s legs.
The Three Lions now march on to the Second Round and play Senegal on Sunday evening. They are joined in the knockouts by USA, who beat Iran by a single goal from Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic.