World Cup Group B: England tops the group, and the USA narrowly defeat Iran

With victories over Wales and Iran, England and the United States guaranteed their spots in the knockout rounds.

The Three Lions knew that a victory on matchday three would ensure they would finish first in their group. The United States needed three points to advance over Iran, which was in second place. Wales had a chance to succeed if they had defeated England and other outcomes had gone in their favour.

 

Rashford haunts Wales to lead England into World Cup last-16

The first half passed pretty quickly. Despite having the most of the ball and exerting significant pressure on Wales’ defence, England could only produce one chance, which went to Marcus Rashford.

They scored two goals quickly to take a dominating advantage early in the second half. First, Rashford scored his second goal of the competition with a beautiful free kick into the top corner.

An instant later, England doubled their advantage. Phil Foden received a low cross from Harry Kane and knocked it in to make it 2-0. With his third World Cup assist, Kane is now the competition’s top playmaker.

England enjoyed an easy rest of the game and added a third goal to cap off a strong showing. Rashford’s shot slammed through Danny Ward’s legs as he once more hit his mark. He now shares the lead for the Golden Boot with Kylian Mbappe, Enner Valencia, and Cody Gakpo.

USA defeats Iran to book a place in last-16

In the other Group B game, things were much closer. Iran required a draw to advance, but the USA knew anything less than a victory would eliminate them.

The USA had the more pleasant of the initial exchanges. Timothy Weah twice narrowly missed giving his team the lead by having a header saved and attempting to hit the crossbar.

They persisted in applying pressure, which paid off in the 38th minute. Christian Pulisic tapped in from close range to break the tie after Sergio Dest nodded across for him.

Iran came out in the second half looking much more dangerous since they needed a goal. Saman Ghoddos had their best two chances in the second half, sending one header over the crossbar and another wide of the post.

With the victory, the United States will play the group A champion Netherlands in the round of 16. However, the injury to star player Pulisic in the first half was not all good news.

Iran, who has failed to advance past the group stage of the World Cup in six tries, was eliminated from the competition once more. However, their victory over Wales was only their second victory on the most important stage overall.

Gareth Bale provides an update on his future following his World Cup exit

Gareth Bale has stated that he has no plans to stop his playing career with Wales.

Bale’s World Cup disappointment came from a hamstring injury that forced him to leave their last group match against England before halftime.

“Although everyone is upset,” he added, “We’re all proud of what we’ve accomplished to get here.”

“We must consider how far we have come. In this competition, we fell short of our goals. Of course, we wanted to leave the mark, but football is challenging.”

“I’ll keep going as long as possible and as long as needed,” declared Bale.

 

Rashford: It’s what I play for

In England’s World Cup triumph over Wales, Marcus Rashford delighted in producing two of “the biggest moments, the best moments,” and he is now itching for more after his brace earned a matchup with Senegal in the round of 16.

“Moments like this, this is what I play football for,” the attacker said on BBC One.

“The best moments are the largest ones. Today delighted me because we are moving on to the next round. It’s undoubtedly a wonderful feeling.”

“Since I have high expectations for this team and believe we can play even better than we did today, I hope we can build on this performance.”

“In the first half, we defended superbly and didn’t allow them any chances. And all that mattered was for us to end the match and seize opportunities when they presented themselves.”

“I fancied one in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position,” Rashford said about his free kick.

“After then, it’s just a matter of remaining calm and putting what you’ve learned in training into practice. Free-kicks don’t go in frequently, but I’m glad it did today.”

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