England v Wales

Rice and England reach World Cup knockouts following Wales win

Declan Rice and England reached the knockout stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals following an impressive 3-0 win over Wales on Tuesday evening.

Having beaten Iran and drawn with the USA in their opening two Group B games, England stamped their mark on their final group-stage match after a goalless first half at Al-Rayyan Stadium, Qatar.

The West Ham United skipper saw his country take the lead in the 52nd minute when Marcus Rashford netted a wonderful free-kick, before Phil Foden converted a Harry Kane cross to net England’s second of the evening just two minutes later.

The quickfire second-half double from the Manchester-based-duo was followed by a third from Rashford, as Gareth Southgate’s men swept Wales aside to progress to the last 16 as Group B winners.

Rice and company will now face Group A runners-up Senegal in the round of 16 on Sunday December 4 at 7pm GMT.

Declan Rice v Wales

One of seven players to start all of England’s Group B matches - alongside Jordan Pickford, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Harry Maguire, Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham - Rice sat impressively infront of the back four, showing his qualities with and without the ball, as his country dominated possession throughout their group-stage finale.

At one point, Rice cut out a Wales attack and then combined well with Kane, who then found Rashford. But the Manchester United forward was unable to beat an advancing Danny Ward from close range, while there was a further chance for England in the first 45 minutes when the West Ham United skipper made a crucial tackle to kickstart an England attack, although Foden could not find the top corner.

Still, three second-half goals proved enough to defeat Wales, with Rice winning 100% of his aerial battles and recording 96% passing accuracy across an outstanding 58 minutes of action.

The Hammers’ No41, who had played 90 minutes in both of England’s previous Group B fixtures against Iran and the USA, was substituted just before the hour. 

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