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Marcus Rashford reveals recent bereavement after England win

Marcus Rashford reveals recent bereavement after England win

England striker Marcus Rashford has revealed that one of his goal celebrations in Tuesday’s World Cup 2022 Group B win over Wales was a tribute to a friend who recently died of cancer.

Gareth Southgate‘s side advanced to the last 16 of the Qatar tournament as group winners with a 3-0 success over the Dragons, with Rashford scoring twice on the night.

Following a goalless first half at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, Rashford stepped up to direct a delightful free kick into the back of the net after 50 minutes before Phil Foden doubled England’s lead less than a minute later.

Rashford added a second for himself in the 68th minute to send England through to the last 16, where they will meet Senegal after the Africa Cup of Nations champions finished second in Group A.

After scoring his first goal, Rashford dropped to his knees and pointed to the sky, and the Manchester United forward revealed in his post-game press conference that the gesture was made to a close friend whom he recently lost.

Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring for England against Wales on November 29, 2022© Reuters

“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life,” Rashford told reporters.

The 25-year-old was one of four changes made by Southgate ahead of the contest, with Foden, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker also returning as Kieran Trippier, Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling made way.

The alterations paid dividends for Southgate, who saw Foden tap home at the back post after a pinpoint pass from Harry Kane before Rashford fired through the legs of Danny Ward for England’s third.

Speaking to BBC One after the match, the Three Lions boss lavished praise on both Foden and Rashford, the latter of whom is now one of four players on three goals alongside Cody Gakpo, Enner Valencia and Kylian Mbappe.

England maanger Gareth Southgate pictured on November 25, 2022© Reuters

“I thought in the first half we controlled the game but didn’t create enough chances. We wanted more thrust and threat, to play forward quicker,” Southgate said.

“Once we got the two goals, we knew their spirit was gone, it has been a tough tournament for them. It’s great for him [Rashford], he has trained really well.

“He has been impressive since he came back to us, he could have had a hat-trick. That free kick is what he is capable, it’s an incredible strike.

“In moments I thought both of them [Rashford and Foden] were quiet in the first half, so we switched wings. They responded well, for both to get goals was great.”

England now have five days to recuperate before they enter the knockout phase against Senegal in Sunday’s last-16 clash.

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