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Why Football Coming Home Needs England’s Focus

The FIFA 2022 World Cup group stage was filled with unexpected results and unimaginable performances. The matchup between England and Wales gave England the necessary momentum to progress to the last 16. The performances from Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden led England to a much-needed 3-0 win over Wales which provides a glimpse of the attacking prowess England can use to their advantage, with Rashford sealing England’s victory with the third goal and scoring England’s 100th goal in international competition. 

Football Coming Hone Needs Full Focus

England has also advanced to the last 16 with a goal difference of +7, which will be England’s highest ever in the group stage of any major tournament.

Rashford stated in the post-match interview that he was "happy" to have qualified to the knockout stage of the World Cup and that he is "really happy" about how England bounced back from their previous match performance against the United States. The English winger is now the fastest player to score three goals in the World Cup with only 107 total minutes, which was faster than Kylian Mbappé (180 mins), Cody Gakpo (251 mins) and Enner Valencia (256 mins). 

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The last time England won a World Cup, Sir Bobby Charlton – who at the time was also a player for Manchester United – scored three goals for England in 1966. This now means that Charlton and Rashford are the only players from Manchester United in history to have scored 3 or more goals for England at the World Cup. England’s performance in the World Cup has been incredibly positive so far, which raises the question for many Football fans across the globe; can England bring football home?

Last 16

The matchup between England and Senegal will be the first time either team has met in any major tournament. Statistically, England has proven to be exceptionally dominant. England is currently joint-second with France for goals per match with an average of 3.0. England also has the most goals scored, which may change when Spain, France, Ghana or Portugal has their final group stage fixtures. England also has the second-highest ball possession average of 66.0% and joint first with 2 clean sheets.

However, the reigning AFCON champions have proven to be formidable opponents to not be underestimated. Senegal’s win against Ecuador should provide evidence of their ability to capitalise on any given opportunity. Senegal managed to defeat Ecuador with only 39% ball possession with a passing accuracy of 68% from 267 total passes and all it took was for 2 of the 3 shots on target by Senegal to find their way to the back of the net to send Ecuador out of the competition. Also, Senegal has not been beaten in the last 4 away games.

The only reported injuries and absences so far are Ben White, who was out due to an illness, however is out of the England squad indefinitely due to personal reasons and Cheikhou Kouyaté who is expected to return in the next few days from an ankle injury.

As the World Cup group stage come to a close, the final remaining fixtures will be offering several spots for the knockout stage that are still up for grabs with the last few teams attempting to find their way into the final 16. The first knockout fixtures are the United States against the Netherlands which will be on Saturday 3 December at 15:00 (GMT) in Khalifa International Stadium, with Argentina and Australia facing off at 19:00 in Ahmed bin Ali Stadium.

England and will face Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday 4 December at 19:00 (GMT).

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