England marched into the last 16 of the World Cup as Group B winners after Marcus Rashford’s double and a Phil Foden strike justified their first starts of the tournament in a 3-0 hammering of an outclassed Wales on Tuesday.

Wales, who needed a four-goal victory in a fixture they had not won since 1984 to reach the knockout phase, defended deeply and frustrated Gareth Southgate’s side in a subdued first half at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

But they caved in after the break as a rampant England, who will face Group A runners-up Senegal on Sunday, boosted their goals tally in the tournament to nine and fuelled hopes of a deep run in Qatar, having reached the semi-finals in 2018.

Wales could also have reached the last 16 with a victory if the match between Iran and the United States ended level, but any hope of that scenario unfolding evaporated rapidly once Rashford smashed home a curling free kick five minutes after the break following a foul on Foden by Ethan Ampadu.

A minute later Foden, who England fans and pundits have been urging Southgate to start, made it 2-0 as Wales carelessly lost possession and Harry Kane crossed low for the Manchester City player to convert from close range.

Wales, whose talisman Gareth Bale was substituted at halftime due to a slight hamstring strain having touched the ball only seven times, looked crestfallen as their first World Cup for 64 years fizzled out.

England continued to dish out the punishment though and Rashford made it 3-0 with a surging run in from the right before shooting through a crowd and past Ward’s legs in the 68th.

Manchester United’s Rashford place in the squad was uncertain a few months ago due to form and injuries but he is now the tournament’s joint-top scorer with three goals alongside Kylian Mbappe (France), Enner Valencia (Ecuador) and Cody Gakpo (Netherlands).

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