England are in total control of their World Cup clash with Senegal, leading the African champions three-nil in Qatar.
The Three Lions took the lead through an unlikely source when Jordan Henderson latched onto a smart cut-back by Jude Bellingham.
Teenager Bellingham then also played a crucial role in the second, driving through the midfield before captain Harry Kane slammed home for his first goal of the tournament.
Shortly after the break, Gareth Southgate’s team extended their lead further when Bukayo Saka converted after great work from Phil Foden.
Bukayo Saka scores England’s third as they run riot against Senegal in their World Cup clash
Jordan Henderson was the unlikely hero as England opened the scoring against Senegal
Captain Harry Kane then slotted just minutes later to double the Three Lions’ advantage
Fans at Boxpark in Croydon go wild as they celebrate two quickfire England goals in the first half
England fans celebrate at the 4TheFans Fan Park in Birmingham after England score their first goal against Senegal
England football fans celebrate the opening goal during the England vs Senegal game at Luna Springs in Digbeth, Birmingham
Jordan Pickford’s partner Megan Davison joined in the celebrations as England took the lead
ENGLAND TEAM TO PLAY SENEGAL
Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson; Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Phil Foden.
The goals sent England fans into jubilation, as it puts the Three Lions on the brink of a mouthwatering Quarter Final with France next Saturday.
Saka’s girlfriend Tolami Benson rose to her feet as he netted and he blew kisses to her as he celebrated towards the WAGs who were seated behind the England team bench.
Meanwhile Kane’s goal, the last kick of the first half, put him just one goal behind Wayne Rooney who is England’s all time top scorer.
The England captain now has 52 goals to Rooney’s 53.
It all could have been so different though, as just minutes before Henderson’s opener, Jordan Pickford had to make an excellent stop to deny Senegal’s Ismaila Sarr.
Millions of fans back home have packed out pubs and bars to cheer on the Three Lions as they look to make it into the last eight of the competition.
Gareth Southgate’s men began the match by taking the knee – a now familiar protest against racism and discrimination.
The 69,000-seater Al-Bayt Stadium had several thousand empty seats and hospitality boxes as Senegal kicked-off at 7pm this evening. But England supporters easily outnumbered followers of their opponents.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino was shown on the stadium screens sitting alone in a ‘VVIP’ box and was booed by sections of the crowd as he had been at previous games.
Infantino was widely criticised for a bizarre response to criticism of Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, in which he likened his own experience as a red-headed child to that of gay and disabled people in a pre-tournament press conference.
Kane’s strike was his first of the tournament and put England firmly in control at half time
Henderson latched onto a smart cut-back by Jude Bellingham to slot home and send millions of England fans into jubilation
England’s Harry Kane, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between England and Senegal
Gareth Southgate celebrates during England’s last 16 clash with Senegal at the World Cup
England’s Jordan Pickford denies Ismaila Sarr of Senegal during the crucial last 16 clash
Phil Foden’s partner Rebecca Cooke celebrates as England take the lead against Senegal
Marcus Rashford’s partner Lucia Lou watches on as England take the lead against Senegal
Harry Kane of England is challenged by Kalidou Koulibaly of Senegal
Declan Rice of England passes the ball against Iliman Ndiaye of Senegal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match
Katie Goodland, wife of England’s Harry Kane, (centre) in the stands before the FIFA World Cup Round of Sixteen match at the Al-Bayt Stadium
Jack Grealish’s partner Sasha Attwood cheers on England from the stands
It came as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wished the team good luck and also hailed hosts Qatar for an ‘incredible World Cup so far’.
He tweeted: ‘Hats off to Qatar for hosting an incredible World Cup so far. The group stages will be remembered as one of the all-time greats. Come on @England keep the dream alive.’
England boss Southgate caused a stir earlier this evening when it emerged he’d dropped top scorer Marcus Rashford to the bench.
Meanwhile Raheem Sterling, one of the England boss’ most trusted lieutenants in major tournaments, also missed out to deal with a ‘family matter’.
Southgate explained Sterling’s absence in a pre-match interview with ITV but did not confirm whether he would be returning to the UK for the remainder of the tournament or if he would return to the squad.
He said: ‘I spent a bit of time with him this morning. We’ve passed him on to people to help him deal with that.
‘He’s going to deal with that matter and we take it from there really.’
Manchester United star Rashford already has three goals to his name in Qatar after bagging a brace against Wales and another in the 6-2 demolition of Iran.
But despite his impressive form, Southgate opted for Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka to start in the crucial last 16 clash.
Conor Coady’s partner Amie looks tense as she watches England from the stands
Phil Foden’s partner Rebecca Cooke cheers on England from the stands in Qatar
Jordan Pickford’s partner Megan Davison cheered on the Three Lions from the stands in Qatar
Aaron Ramsdale’s partner Georgina Irwin cheered on the Three Lions from the stands in Qatar
Bukayo Saka’s partner Tolami Benson cheered on the Three Lions from the stands in Qatar
Eric Dier’s partner Anna Modler cheered on the Three Lions from the stands in Qatar
Harry Kane of England is challenged by Youssouf Sabaly of Senegal
Senegal’s goalkeeper #16 Edouard Mendy eyes the ball as he jumps to stop it during the Qatar 2022 World Cup round of 16 football match
Phil Foden of England battles for possession with Krepin Diatta of Senegal
England’s Bukayo Saka takes a knee before the Three Lions’ crucial World Cup clash with Senegal
Harry Maguire’s partner Fern Hawkins in the crowd during England’s clash with Senegal
Players of England pose for a team photograph prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between England and Senegal
Prior to kick off, many fans were unhappy on social media, with one writing: ‘No Rashford is a joke. Been our best and most threatening player the first 3 games. Southgate’s a [clown].’
Another said: ‘In the last game, Marcus Rashford scored two self-created goals & won the ball back with a high press to create the third. And what has Southgate done in return? Benched him.’
A third added: ‘Rashford being benched doesn’t sit right with me at all considering his current form.’
Saka caught the eye with two goals against Iran but missed out on a start against Wales last Tuesday in favour of Rashford and Manchester City’s Phil Foden, who retains his place tonight.
This is the first ever meeting between England and Senegal, with the winners to take on France, after their comfortable 3-1 win over Poland earlier.
Supporters of Senegal, one with a mask of a lion, cheer on the stands during the match
Jordan Henderson, John Stones and Declan Rice during England’s World Cup clash with Senegal
England fans voiced their fury at Gareth Southgate in the build up to tonight’s crunch World Cup match against Senegal as news emerged that top scorer Marcus Rashford was dropped to the bench
Raheem Sterling has also missed out to deal with a ‘family matter’
Gareth Southgate, pictured arriving at the stadium, has been criticised for his team selection
England supporters wear Christmas hats as they watch the Three Lions’ clash with Senegal
An England fan holds up a banner reading ‘Rashford for Prime Minister’ before the match with Senegal in Qatar
England fans show their support prior to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match
Supporters at Boxpark Croydon watch England vs Senegal in the World Cup
England fans gather at a fan zone ahead of the World Cup round of 16 match between England and Senegal