New Telegraph

February 28, 2024

Qatar 2022: Rashford double see England top as Pulisic sends USA through

 

Marcus Rashford inspired England to the victory required to top Group B and ensure it was despair for Wales as they went out of the tournament after a bitterly disappointing World Cup campaign.

Wales needed to either beat England and hope Iran and USA ended in a draw or pursue the more unlikely outcome of running up a four-goal victory margin at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, reports the BBC.

England, who now face Senegal in the last 16, ensured neither scenario was ever a serious consideration as they dominated throughout and took full control after an uneventful first 45 minutes.

Wales’ manager Rob Page took the bold decision to substitute Gareth Bale at half-time, although the great talisman had only had seven touches in an anonymous display, but any hope the shock tactic would work was wiped out as England scored twice within six minutes of the restart.

Marcus Rashford fired a free-kick past Danny Ward following Ethan Ampadu’s foul on Phil Foden after 50 minutes, with the Manchester City midfielder then marking his return to England’s team moments later by turning in Harry Kane’s cross at the far post.

Wales were demoralised and outclassed as they knew they were on the way home from Qatar and Rashford added his second in the 68th minute, with a large slice of help from Wales keeper Ward who allowed a fierce shot to slip through his legs.

And the United States won their World Cup grudge match against Iran as Christian Pulisic scored the winner to set up a last 16 tie with the Netherlands.

The Chelsea forward turned AC Milan defender Sergino Dest’s header over the line seven minutes before half-time.

But he collided with Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand in the process and needed several minutes of treatment – before being replaced at the break.

It was a match with lots at stake as both teams had a chance to seal a place in the knockout stages.

But Iran, who would have gone through with a draw, mustered just one shot on target as they were knocked out.

In the second half, they came close – Brentford’s Saman Ghoddos came off the bench to strike inches over the bar when he was unmarked in the box, before Saeid Ezatolahi also curled over.

Perhaps their best chance came deep in stoppage time, when Morteza Pouraliganji met a free-kick with a diving header that went just wide.

And there was still time for controversy as Mehdi Taremi appealed for a penalty as he went down with Cameron Carter-Vickers trying to stop him, but their penalty appeals were rejected.

In the end, Iran exited the World Cup with a sense of disappointment as the USA made the knockout stages for the third time in four tournaments.

RESULTS

Group B

Iran 0 – 1 USA*

Wales 0 – 3 England*

*Qualified for last 16

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