Doha/Al Rayyan, 30 November 2022 (dpa/MIA) – Marcus Rashford scored a brace and Phil Foden the other as England trounced Wales 3-0 on Tuesday to secure first place in World Cup Group B and a last-16 berth along with the United States who edged Iran 1-0 in the other game.
Rashford curled home a free-kick in the 50th, won the ball two minutes later which led to Foden’s goal, and then got the third himself again in the 68th in Al Rayyan.
Both players had been among four new England starters after their impressive opening 6-2 against Iran was followed by a meagre 0-0 draw with the US.
“It’s a great feeling,” Rashford told the BBC. “Moments like this, this is what I play football for. I m happy we are going through to the next round of the tournament because I have massive ambitions for this team and I think we can play even better than we did today.”
Euro 2020 runners-up England finished top of the group and now face Group A runners-up Senegal in the last 16 on Sunday.
The US will play Group A winners Netherlands on Saturday after leapfrogging Iran from Christian Pulisic’s 38th minute winner in Doha.
Iran failed again in their sixth attempt to finally get out of the group stage, and winless Wales were bottom in only their second World Cup, 64 years after their 1958 debut.
There was plenty of emotion around both games given that England and Wales are two British teams – and the US v Iran game featured two bitter political foes which was however not a factor on the pitch.
“I talked with the Iran coach [Carlos Queiroz] and we said we would have a football spectacle and not a political spectacle,” American coach Gregg Berhalter told German broadcasters ARD.
In the British duel, Rashford and Foden had the biggest opportunities before the break and then put England on course shortly after the restart which took place without substituted Wales star Gareth Bale.
Manchester United’s Rashford superbly curled a free-kick into the top right corner in the 50th, and then won the ball deep in the Welsh half, fed captain Harry Kane whose pass across the goalmouth was met by Manchester City’s Foden at the far post for 2-0.
Wales, having lost the last six games against England since a 1984 win, tried to fight back as Dan James curled wide and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford needed to save a shot from Johnson that took a big deflection off Harry Maguire.
But it was all over in the 68th when Rashford took up Kalvin Phillips’ long ball, ran into the area, beat a defender, and netted through Ward’s legs.
“We were a little bit disappointed after the USA result. Thought we could’ve played a lot better. and it was important to have a good performance the next game. We defended brilliantly in the first half and it was just about killing the game off early and taking the chances in the game,” Rashford said.
Wales manager Robert Page said: “We’re disappointed to leave the tournament but, if we’re going to go out, that’s the way to go out. My message is don’t be disappointed. We’ve got to build for the future again now.”
In Doha, the US took a deserved lead in the 38th when Weston McKennie sent a long cross from the left to Sergino Dest who headed back into the goalmouth where the Chelsea forward Pulisic slotted home.
But the Americans failed to put the game to bed after the break and flirted with disaster in the end as Iran, who had beaten Wales with two stoppage time goals last time out, went in search of an equalizer which would have sent them through.
Morteza Pouraliganji’s diving header during nine minutes of stoppage time went wide, and even later they called in vain for a penalty after Mehdi Taremi went down too easily under a challenge by Cameron Carter-Vickers.
“The first half was US, the second Iran. We should have scored but now the dream is over,” Queiroz said.
Berhalter said: “The end was crazy. We lost energy and we had to stay strong in the mind. But we are satisfied with our performance. We can play against any team.”