Gareth Southgate says England have ‘more belief’ than in 2018 after reaching last 16 at 2022 World Cup


Gareth Southgate says England have “more belief” at the 2022 World Cup than they did in Russia four years ago after they qualified for the last 16.

England eased past Wales 3-0 to ensure they finished top of Group B.

England’s reward is a last-16 clash against Group A runners-up Senegal on December 3.

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Having made strides in Russia by winning their first World Cup knockout game in 12 years and reaching the semi-finals, England will now look for another deep run in Qatar.

“I think compared to Russia there is a different mentality to the group, there’s more belief,” said England manager Southgate after the win over Wales.

“Our objectives are different. In Russia we were just thinking about could we win a knockout game, there’s more expectation now but more confidence and experience in big matches.

“I don’t know if we are ahead of where we were last summer [at Euro 2020] but definitely we are pleased that the first objective we set out to do has been achieved.

“The spirit of the team is good. We have got most of the group on the pitch which is fabulous for the dynamic of the group, and no yellow cards as well, which is a really good position for us.”

Southgate made four changes for the win over Wales as Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford, Kyle Waler and Jordan Henderson started.

Rashford scored twice and Foden also netted.

“Watching lots of games the big players have stepped up. And our forwards didn’t do that in the first half but in the second half they really did,” said Southgate.

“You need goals from all areas. It is a problem for opposition if the threat is coming from other areas of the pitch. It is competition for places and people have to deliver.”

Rashford was named man of the match after his two-goal showing.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed an encouraging season with Manchester United and Southgate says he looks much improved from a year ago.

England forward Marcus Rashford celebrates

Image credit: Getty Images

“You can see with his club there have been happiness in his performances. We have a different version completely to the player we had in the Euros last summer.”

Senegal, who are without the injured Sadio Mane, finished second in Group A behind Netherlands after beating Ecuador in their final game.

They also won 3-1 against hosts Qatar and lost 2-0 to Netherlands.

“We know on the rankings we will be favourites – we’ve got to deal with that – but they’re a very dangerous team,” said Southgate.

“The first objective is achieved. To this point we’re really pleased. The big business starts now.”

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