Southgate laud England team after knockout stage qualification

England team celebrating their victory against Wales

The England national team booked a spot in the round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday after a brilliant second-half performance against Wales.

The three lions, who topped the group B table going into the game, needed a win to advance to the next stage of the Qatar World Cup tournament.

England head coach Gareth Southgate knew he needed more firepower to secure a victory and made three changes, including the introduction of Manchester City's Phil Foden, who had been on his bench since the start of the tournament, in place of Bukayo Saka, Jordan Henderson in a deep role to push Jude Bellingham upfront, and Marcus Rashford for Raheem Sterling.

Though the three lions dominated possession early on, they failed to score in the first 45 minutes, with Marcus Rashford's saved close-range attempt the only chance of note.

Five minutes into the second half, England broke the deadlock through a beautifully taken free-kick from Marcus Rashford to give them the lead.

Two minutes after celebrating their lead, Phil Foden doubled the lead with a tap-in from Harry Kane's right-wing cross to mark his first goal of the tournament and his third for the English national team.

Marcus Rashford made it 3-0 in the 68th minute with a well-taken shot after receiving a through pass from Kalvin Phillips from the England half, smashing through the legs of Danny Ward.

Marcus Rashford's brace made it his third in the World Cup tournament, the highest from any player

Following the victory, England head coach Gareth Southgate praised his team, claiming they now have a different mentality in the tournament than in previous competitions.

"When compared to Russia (the 2018 World Cup), I think there is a different mentality around the whole group; there is more belief," Southgate said during his post-match interview.

"Our objective was different in Russia. We were thinking of winning the knockout game. There is more expectation now; more confidence and experience in winning big matches."

The England national team finished their group stage match with seven points, two points ahead of second-placed USA, which is an excellent result for one of the tournament's favourites.

The three lions will face Senegal, who finished second behind the Netherlands in group A, in the knockout stage on Sunday, December 4th at 8:00 p.m., and Southgate believes the Lions of Teranga will be tough opponents.