KEIR RADNEDGE in DOHA —- The first meeting meeting between two of the British home nations at the World Cup finals ended in devastatingly contrasting ways. England topped Group B to reach the knockout stage, after a spell of three goals in 20 minutes, while Wales finished bottom of the group and flew home.

Two goals for Marcus Rashford and one from Phil Foden amply rewarded manager Gareth Southgate’s inclusion of Manchester United and City forwards in his starting line-up in the Ahmad bin Ali stadium. England play African champions Senegal in the Round of 16 on Sunday.

Rashford’s second goal was England’s 100th in the finals.

Wales started with hopes faint and ended up as depressed as Iran who were also eliminated after losing the other last matchday clash by 1-0 against United States.

Wales and England make British football history

England manager Gareth Southgate had made four changes from the team held goalless by the United States four days earlier.

Foden and Rashford replaced Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka in support of Harry Kane in attack while fit-again Kyle Walker took over from Kieran Trippier at right back. In midfield Mason Mount gave way to Jordan Henderson.

Wales counterpart Robert Page made three changes from the lacklustre team fortunate to have been beaten only 2-0 by Iran. Captain Gareth Bale and veteran playmaker Aaron Ramsey kept their places but were anonymous and Bale was even substituted at halftime..

The early exchanges produced little of note. England exerted plenty of pressure without creating serious danger. Rashford was foiled by Ward in chasing a through ball from Kane and Foden shot wide and the high over the bar.

Wales’ only other disturbance was the need to bring on Connor Roberts as a concussion substitute for Neco Williams who had been felled by a drive from Rashford,

England pushed forward with more intensity in the closing minutes of the first half but Wales defended effectively in numbers and then, on the break, even produced their first shot of the evening. Dan James’s effort flew high and wide but it was a reminder for England that they remained at risk.

Not for long.

Wales replaced out-of-sorts Bale with Brennan Johnson after the interval but the change proved academic as England raised their game and seized command in impressive fashion.

First Rashford thundered a free kick inside Ward’s left-hand post in the 50th minute then, within two minutes, Wales lost possession deep on their left flank and Kane’s fierce cross was converted by Foden struck a second. Just 98 seconds elapsed between the two goals.

Southgate, confident that the match was under control, substituted Walker, Kane, Declan Rice and Henderson with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Callum Wilson, Kalvyn Phillips and Trippier.

Rashford underlined the point by darted down the right, cutting into the penalty box, wrong-footing two defenders and rifling a left-foot shot through a forest of Welsh legs for No3.

All over bar the cheers . . . and the tears.