England brought the World Cup dreams of Watford’s Ismaila Sarr and his Senegal teammates to an end with a 3-0 victory in the round of 16 tonight.

Sarr showed glimpses of good play but also saw far less of the ball than he did in the group games.

He had one great goalscoring opportunity when the game was still finely balanced at 0-0, and was actually denied by a save even though the referee didn’t award a corner.


He was more prominent in the middle of the first half, but once England had marched into a 2-0 half-time lead, Sarr’s involvement was limited as Senegal then conceded a third goal to kill the game off.

He barely had a touch in the opening 15 minutes of the game, but in the 21st minute he showed good acceleration down the left flank to chase a chipped pass, forcing Jordan Pickford to dash out of his box and head the ball out for a throw.

Sarr’s big chance, and one of Senegal’s few on the night, came a minute later. Harry Maguire gave the ball away and Krepin Diatta took the chance to cross from the right. The ball made it all the way through to Sarr who reacted to stab a shot goalwards, the ball rising over the bar off Pickford’s arm even though the match officials gave a goal kick.

After 31 minutes Sarr cut in from the left flank, rode a challenge and then turned to slide a pass into the box for striker Boulaye Dia, but his effort was deflected up and over the bar by the onrushing Pickford.

Watford Observer:

In the 35th minute Sarr managed to turn Kyle Walker – who matched the Watford man well for pace during the game – and was on his way down the flank before the England defender bundled him over to concede a free kick.

The third England goal early in the second half took the wind out of Senegal’s sails, and the first time Sarr really attracted attention was when he went down in the 62nd minute. He appeared injured but waved away the referee’s attempt to bring the physios on, and went to play the full 90 minutes.

Six minutes later he made a good burst down the left tracked by both Walker and Marcus Rashford, but his early cross landed on the roof of the England net.

Seven minutes from the end Ismail Jakobs crossed from the left and Sarr rose well but could only head up and over the bar.

Sarr ended his World Cup campaign having played 344 minutes and scoring one goal – his penalty in the 2-1 group win over Ecuador making him only the second Watford player to score at a World Cup Finals (the first, Gerry Armstrong, spoke to the Watford Observer last week).

He created six chances in Senegal’s four games, had 11 shots and completed nine dribbles.