Chelsea In Qatar – England v Senegal

England 3 – 0 Senegal

(Round of 16, Al Bayt Stadium, 04/12/2022)

England come into the game unbeaten with two wins either side of a disappointing 0-0 draw with the USA.  Senegal lost their opening game against the Netherlands but qualified after defeating Qatar and Ecuador.

Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher start on the bench.  Raheem Sterling, ‘dealing with a family matter’, joins Ben White as a squad absentee.  Jordan Henderson starts and Bakayo Saka replaces Marcus Rashford.  The Senegal team start without Kouyate (injured) and Idrissa Gueye (suspended).

Senegal are the current African champions.  The Senegalese have a reputation for being a good footballing side – quick, strong and well organised.  Their organisation and aggressive play were noticeable in the group games.  This looks like it will be a difficult fixture for England.

England have never lost against African opposition.  Of those six games, only one has been in the knockout stages of a tournament – the Italia ’90 quarter-final victory against Cameroon.  Gareth Southgate has won more tournament matches than any other England manager and has a good record in knockout stage games.

3 minutes.  Maguire moves the ball forward to Shaw on the left wing just short of halfway.  Shaw pushes the ball down the line to Foden a few yards inside the Senegalese half.  Foden attempts to touch the ball back inside for Shaw, but the ball is intercepted by Ciss.  He runs a few yards in and pushes a through ball forward to Dia.  There is a gap between Maguire and Stones and Dia runs through it.  As Dia runs into the area past Maguire, he cuts the ball inside with his left foot to beat Stones.  Unluckily, the ball then comes off his right shin and Maguire’s knee going into Pickford’s arms.  A good chance for Senegal and an early warning to England.

21 minutes.  A long clearance from Walker finds Koulibaly in the centre circle.  He sends the ball forward towards the England penalty area, only to find Maguire.  Maguire aims to find Bellingham near halfway by passing between Shaw and Foden.  Diatta is between Shaw and Foden and directly in the path of Maguires intended pass.  Diatta intercepts Maguire’s pass and runs to the right corner of England’s penalty area.  Diatta crosses and Dia gets to the ball before Stones.  Dia’s touch deflects off Stones dropping to the edge of the box.  Sarr runs in beating Pickford to the ball, but his effort flashes over.  The Senagalese all want a penalty claiming the ball had deflected off the arm of Stones.  Indeed it had, but only after it had hit his thigh.  No Penalty.  A second could chance for Senegal and a second warning to England.

31 minutes.  From the centre of their own half, Senegal send a long ball out to the left.  Walker heads the ball clear over Sarr.  Walker’s header dropped near the touchline where Saka, running back, tries to chip the ball to Walker over Sarr.  The ball hits Sarr’s arm.  Saka claims handball, nothing is given.  Sarr runs across the corner of the area towards the D with Walker chasing him.  He turns back before Henderson can challenge, pushing the ball forward to the right of Stones hoping to find Dia.  With Stones diving in, Dia shoots from the corner of the box.  A great save from Pickford with his left hand.  A strong hand sees the ball go out wide where Saka clears.

38 minutes.  Playing out of defence, Maguire rolls the ball out left to Shaw.  Shaw pushes the ball down the line to Foden just inside the halfway line.  Foden’s flick inside finds Kane.  Kane turns, sending a through ball to Bellingham running intelligently between two Senegal players.  Running in to the left side of the area, about level with the penalty spot, Bellingham cuts the ball back into the centre where Henderson is running in.  Henderson with no defenders close at hand hits a first-time left foot shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.  A brilliant goal!

When Kane drops short trying to create space for others and set up a chance, it is essential that other players run beyond him to take up good positions.  That hasn’t always come about in recent England games, but it had been the case here.  As well as Bellingham’s run there was a good run from Henderson.  He started his run in the centre circle, level with Kane as he made the pass to Bellingham.  Henderson ran towards the penalty area with Jakobs initially a few yards in front of him.  There was a big gap between Jakobs and Mendy further over to the left.  Henderson’s burst into that gap took him into the penalty area beyond Jakobs creating room for him to shoot.  Koulibaly was well out of position, outside the penalty area and some yards directly behind Foden as the England player crossed the ball.

40 minutes.  Pickford takes goal kick sending it long out to right.  Jakobs and Kane go up to compete for the header.  The ball goes over both players’ heads and evades the defender’s attempt to flick the ball away.  The ball reaches Saka about 20 yards out.  He takes the ball on, going outside Diallo before crossing towards the penalty spot.  Kane running in sends a first-time shot high over the bar.  A good chance.

Until this point England had been taking goal-kicks short, trying to play out from the back.  The Senegalese pressing had given the England players problems.  Changing to clearing long made a difference immediately, creating a good opportunity.  Saka’s cross was fractionally behind Kane.  To get the shot in, the striker had to break stride and that probably prevented him from controlling the shot.

45+2 minutes.  About 15 yards into the England half the ball is played wide out to Sarr on the left touchline.  He passes forward along the line to Jakobs.  With Walker backing away Jakobs takes the ball on, chased by Saka.  Saka’s weak challenge allows Jakobs to continue forward and cross.  The cross flies off Walker’s head into midfield.  The ball bounces in front of Ciss who tries to control it with his chest.  The contact is too heavy allowing Bellingham to duck in and head the ball past him.  Running powerfully into the centre circle, Bellingham goes past Sabaly riding the defender’s challenge.  Surging over the halfway line, faced by Diallo with Ciss closing in from his left, Bellingham strokes diagonal pass outside to Foden.  Kane is in the middle just running out of the centre circle.  England have a two-on-one against Koulibaly.  With the Senegalese defender running to meet him, Foden plays a first-time pass back inside towards Kane.  With the slightest of deflections off Koulibaly, the ball reaches Kane and he takes it on into the area.  With the ball bobbling slightly, Kane steadies himself and, from about 15 yards, thumps it past Mendy into the back of the net.  Another brilliant goal!  It is the last kick of the half.

For over half an hour England had struggled.  The Senegalese were playing at a slightly higher tempo with four players pressing high.   As a result, England had been hemmed in at times.  With Ciss and Mendy protecting the defence, England found it difficult the players up front.  The first goal changed everything.  Both goals perfectly demonstrated the importance of moving the ball forward quickly.  England will start the second half in full control.  Managing the rest of the game well will secure a victory.

The Senegalese make three half time substitutions.  Pape Gueye comes on for Ciss, Bamba Dieng is on for Iliman Ndiaye and Diatta is replaced by Pape Matar Sarr.

53 minutes.  On the left Just inside the Senegal half Rice rushes in to take the ball from Pape Sarr poking it forward to Kane.  With Rice making an intelligent dash towards the area, Kane moves the ball on further to the right before Koulibaly can challenge him.  Kane’s pass finds Saka.  He runs forward and is driven a bit wide by the presence of Diallo and Jakobs.  He hits his shot well wide.  Saka claims a corner, but a goal kick is given.

55 minutes.  A few yards inside the England half just the right of the centre circle, Stones passes across to Maguire.  He pushes the ball outside to Shaw.  Shaw touches inside to Kane without being challenged by Dia.  Kane turns, running infield, unchallenged and at little more than walking pace, for about 10 yards.  As Pape Sarr comes to meet him Kane unleashes a long-range shot.  It is straight at Mendy who saves but spills the ball.  With no England players in the penalty area to follow up, Mendy can get up and gather the ball.

56 minutes.  On the right just inside his own half, Pape Sarr knocks the ball back to Koulibaly

Koulibaly sends the ball forward to Dieng, but Shaw nips in to intercept the pass.  The ball runs to Foden.  He controls and sends it straight back to Shaw.  First-time Shaw knocks it about 15 yards into Kane.  With Koulibaly retreating to cover the run of Bellingham, Kane turns to run on with Dieng chasing him.  Coming in from Kane’s right, Gueye gets a foot to the ball which diverts it to Foden.  Foden accelerates past Dieng, riding his lunging tackle.  As Koulibaly comes across, Foden centred square towards the penalty spot, putting the ball through between the defender’s legs. Saka runs into the area with Jakobs desperately trying to make up ground.  Saka, with Jakobs on the wrong side of him, finishes with a delightful first-time dink over Mendy.  Yet another brilliant goal.

As Kane collected the ball, Jakobs was still just inside the England half 15 yards behind Saka with Diallo some yards to Saka’s left.  As play continued and Foden took the ball, Jakobs had made up some ground but was still some 10 yards behind Saka.  Diallo had run to the left towards the ball and was further away from Saka – about 12 yards.  As Foden crossed, Jakobs was still a few yards behind Saka and Diallo was still running away from him towards the ball.

72 minutes.  Just to the right of centre about 35 yards from goal, Dieng is fouled by Shaw.  Pape Sarr takes the free kick trying to curl the ball inside Pickford’s left-hand post.  It is not a powerful strike and Pickford has it covered.  The ball hits the sidle netting.

75 minutes.  Koulibaly receives a yellow card for a foul on Kane.

76 minutes.  Mount and Dier replace Bellingham and Stones.

79 minutes.  In the centre circle just short of the halfway line, Grealish picks the ball up and sends it out wide to Walker.  Walker touches the ball inside to Henderson.  Hitting it first-time, he sweeps the ball long down the right flank.  Rashford outpaces Jakobs to reach the ball as Kane runs beyond Koulibaly.  As Rashford catches the ball he plays it in towards the penalty spot.  Sliding in, Kane doesn’t quite get to the ball which runs harmlessly across the area before being cleared upfield.

88 minutes.  The Senegalese hit a long high ball across the pitch to Sabaly out on the right wing.  He runs into the box a few yards short of the goal line and cuts the ball back into the centre of the area.  Diedhiou (on for Dia) tries to lay the ball back to Dieng.  The ball misses Dieng, coming to Pape Sarr outside the area.  Sarr skies his shot well over.

90+1 minutes.  In the centre circle just inside his own half, Rice touches a poor Koulibaly clearance forward to Phillips.  He sends a high ball out wide to Grealish on the left.  Moving inside, he plays a pass to Shaw on the overlap.  As he nears the goal line, Shaw puts a high ball to the far post. Rashford, coming in behind Ballo-Toure (on for Jakobs), gets his foot to the ball but can only find the side netting.

90+4 minutes.  The referee’s final whistle brings the game to an end.

After coming on as a substitute, Mason Mount didn’t feature prominently in the game.  Kalidou Koulibaly didn’t appear to have the best of games in a defence that looked far from well organised.

Overall, Senegal’s performance was more than disappointing and didn’t deserve to get anything from the game.  England’s performance, particularly in the second half, was very professional.  The reward for that is a quarter-final showdown with France.

Posted by the CSG’s World Cup Willie 





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