England boss Gareth Southgate on Wales' loss: "We knew their spirit had gone"

Gareth Southgate, Head Coach of England, acknowledges the fans following the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
(Image credit: Eddie Keogh - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

England manager Gareth Southgate says that he felt the "spirit" of Wales disappear during the match. 

Southgate saw his side run out 3-0 winners with an excellent second half performance – and reflecting on the display, he commented on the atmosphere within the Welsh camp and their reaction to going two goals down in quick succession. 

"In the first half, we really controlled the game but didn't create enough clearcut chances," Southgate told the BBC. "Once we scored the two goals, we knew their spirit had gone – it's been a tough tournament for them.

Marcus Rashford of England celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 29, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Marcus Rashford of England celebrates after scoring the first goal of the match (Image credit: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

"In the first half, we really controlled the game but didn't create enough clearcut chances. Once we scored the two goals, we knew their spirit had gone – it's been a tough tournament for them.

"Rashford has been really impressive since he came back in for us. That free-kick – that's incredible, it's what he's capable of."

The first half was a particularly dull one even by World Cup 2022’s standards of goalless draws, aside from a Marcus Rashford chance, a Joe Allen blaze and the most bizarre dashing run from Harry Maguire. Gareth Bale went off at half-time through injury and things went from bad to worse just after the break for the Dragons. 

Gareth Bale goes off at half-time in Wales' World Cup clash against England in Qatar.

Gareth Bale goes off at half-time in Wales' World Cup clash against England in Qatar (Image credit: Getty Images)

Marcus Rashford, on from the start in place of Raheem Sterling, broke the deadlock minutes after the break with a wonderfully taken free-kick that was rifled across goalkeeper Danny Ward – in for the suspended Wayne Hennessey. The lead was doubled shortly after, too – when Phil Foden, another player who had earned a start after clamour from fans and pundits, repaid the faith shown to him by Gareth Southgate. 

Foden burst into the penalty area and got to the end of a cross from captain Harry Kane, to make it 2-0 – again, Rashford impressing with his energy to win the ball back. England boss Southgate brought on the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kalvin Phillips, Callum Wilson and Kieran Trippier – the former two for their first minutes of the tournament – before Manchester United forward Rashford then scored a second of his own, nutmegging goalkeeper Ward for one of England’s most memorable goals of the World Cup so far. The strike stood as the Three Lions’ 100th goal at World Cups. 

England’s attentions now turn to Sunday, when they will face Group A runners-up Senegal in the last-16 of the tournament. 

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Mark White
Staff Writer

Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. An encyclopedia of football shirts and boots knowledge – both past and present – Mark has also been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals for FFT and has written pieces for the mag ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career. He once saw Tyrone Mings at a petrol station in Bournemouth but felt far too short to ask for a photo.