England confidently booked their place in the quarter-finals at a World Cup for the first time since 2006 with a 3-1 win in Moscow over a Ghana side who saw their goalscorer sent-off with half-hour left to play. England will meet Spain in Friday’s quarter-final back here at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Both sides made two changes from their final group game. Ghana gave starts to Kevin-Prince Boateng and Waris Majeed up front ahead of Jordan Ayew and Isaac Cofie. England meanwhile restored Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere to the starting XI for Phil Jones (suspended) and Wilfried Zaha.
It took until midway through the first-half for either side to have a serious sniff at goal and that was enough for England to take the lead. Rooney drifted wide to the right and played it back to Kyle Walker who sent a ball into the near post where Theo Walcott collected before slotting underneath the ‘keeper at close range with 22 minutes played.
A second goal followed just after the half-hour mark when Wilshere’s in-swinging corner led to a scramble and Samuel Inkoom ended up as the unfortunate man when his attempted clearance only spun the ball into the back of his own net for the tournament’s second own goal.
Within four minutes a corner from the other side caught Ghana cold, with Rooney nodding Leighton Baines’s delivery across goal where Ryan Shawcross was waiting to head home England’s third.
Ghana made a change shortly before half-time as Uriah Asante limped off, then made two more changes during the interval. Seven minutes into the second-half they pulled a goal back through Nana Asare who was played through by Majeed as the English defence stepped-up for an offside that never came.
The goal seemed to fire up Asare as within ten minutes he clashed with Wilshere as both players went into a challenge. Wilshere was on the ground clutching his face and after a brief check with VAR, Nana Asare was shown a straight red card for his elbow on the Arsenal man.
Down a man, Ghana had nothing to offer and England were happy to play keep-ball safe in the knowledge of a place in the final eight. A trio of yellow cards came in a feisty five minutes in the final quarter, but nothing boiled over and England saw out the 3-1 win.
FIFA WORLD CUP: SECOND ROUND GHANA 1-3 ENGLAND Asare 51 Walcott 22 Asare s/o 60 Inkoom og 32 Shawcross 35 Boateng Rooney Majeed Acquah