To ease doubts regarding Harry Kane’s inability to score at the World Cup so far, England will only need to look back at the previous two tournaments.
Although the captain won the Golden Boot for being the top scorer in Russia’s last stage, he only scored six goals in his three first games. England came in fourth, despite only minor frustrations in front of the goal.
At Euro 2020, the script was reversed: There were no goals in the group stage and then there were four in the run-up to the final.
The Tottenham striker is now ready to face African champions Senegal at Al-Bayt Stadium. He was inspired by the Euros displays, which were more than those at Russia 2018.
He stated that he started the Russian 2018 tournament with lots of goals and used a lot energy. However, as the tournament progressed, my performance felt sluggish in the later stages.
“I knew before the Euros that I wanted to do it the opposite way. Although I wanted to do well in the beginning, I wanted to be mentally and physically ready for the knockout stages.
After a concern early in Qatar, the 29-year old is now in good health and feels free from any ankle problems.
He stated, “I feel as fit as I can.” Time will tell. I hope to do well and be in my best form during these knockout matches.
“Form-wise, I feel like my playing has been good. Goals are what I will be judged most on. But as always, I am calm and try to keep my eyes on the team and do the best I can for them.”
His teammates took over the scoring duties in the group stage. He scored nine goals, the most ever by an England team at this stage.
He still set up three goals, the most by an England player at any World Cup since David Beckham twenty years ago.
Senegal is a very dangerous team, and they know they can win
Senegal is not to be underestimated.
The current African Cup of Nations champions are West Africa’s nation. Many of the side play for European major clubs, including 11 in England.
Sadio Mane (ex-Balertin Munich and Liverpool forward) didn’t qualify for the World Cup due to a knee injury. However, the Lions in Teranga scored goals from all positions and that was encouraging.
Gareth Southgate described them as “a very danger team”.
They are only the second World Cup team, having reached the quarter-finals in Japan in 2002 and 2018. In 2018, they lost to Turkey.
Keep an eye out for Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, and his club teammate Kalidou Koulibaly who is captaining his country.
In the absence of Mane, there was a greater expectation that Ismaila Sarr, the Watford forward, would be able to step in.
His goal has been a coolly taken penalty. He won the spot-kick and has the speed and movement to challenge any opposition.
England will be the match favorites, but Senegal feels the pressure is off and knows they can win the match.
England will face Senegal without a doubt as the most difficult team in the tournament.
Kane stated that he would love to sit here now with two or three goals, but that the group stage is going well.
To match Wayne Rooneys record 53 goals in England, he only needs to score two goals. The priority is to lead The Three Lions to another final and win their first trophy since 1966.
England will be the favourites heading into the match but Gareth Southgate, manager of Senegal, will not take Senegal lightly.
He said, “We are very impressed by Senegal.”
“We are proud of them as African champions. They have great spirit and believe in their team. They have some outstanding players that can cause problems but also a solid structure.
“(Aliou Cisse) has done an amazing job. They were extremely unlucky not qualifying from the group in Russia, and they have done it rightly this time. We are aware of the enormity of the task ahead of us.”
Southgate believes England is mentally and physically ready to face another penalty shootout with Senegal if it comes down to the wire.
Spot-kick problems are well documented by the national team. All three World Cup shootouts ended in defeat, before Colombia was beaten in the 16th round in Russia four years ago.
England won bronze in spot-kicks in the Nations League finals in 2019 against Switzerland. However, penalties proved to be their undoing at last year’s European Championship final.
Southgate stated, “We are aiming to win and to avoid extra-time if possible, and to avoid penalties, because we’d like to achieve a victory within 90 minutes.”
“But if it takes us 120 minutes or more, we have to be mentally and physically ready to do that.” “I believe that we are.