A scintillating second-half display saw England thump Wales 3-0 and qualify for the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup as Group B winners at the Ahman bin Ali Stadium, eliminating the Dragons in the process.
Following a forgettable first half in the battle of the Brits, England struck twice in the space of a minute through Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden before the former added a second to put the cherry on the icing on the cake, condemning Wales to a group-stage exit in their first World Cup in 64 years.
Despite a dominant period of possession in the opening exchanges, England could not find a way to break down the staunch Dragons defence, but they should have been a goal to the good with 10 minutes on the clock.
Harry Kane dropped deep to feed Rashford – brought into the starting XI as one of four changes for the Three Lions – but the Manchester United man hit the ball straight at Danny Ward when one-on-one with the Wales stopper.
Rob Page’s men were content to sit back and let England knock the ball around, but they were forced into an unwanted early change when Rashford’s venomous strike met the head of Neco Williams in the 24th minute.
The dazed Nottingham Forest man immediately dropped to the ground before attempting to carry on, but he was eventually hauled off for Connor Roberts in the 36th minute as a concussion substitute.
Wales’ defensive efforts remained largely unaffected, although a slick England passing move in the 40th minute ended with Foden firing over the bar on the turn, and Joe Allen also had a crack from distance – which went high and wide – in the fifth minute of first-half injury time.
Dragons talisman Gareth Bale did not appear for the second half due to an apparent injury, with Brennan Johnson taking his place, and insult was added to injury for the Wales captain in the 50th minute.
Foden was brought down just outside the box, and after missing that gilt-edged first-half chance, Rashford stepped up to direct a sumptuous free kick into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Less than a minute later, the Three Lions doubled their lead out of nowhere, as Rashford robbed Ben Davies of the ball in a dangerous area, and the ball fell kindly for Kane to find Foden at the far post, with the Manchester City man proceeding to score a simple tap-in.
Wales talisman Kieffer Moore was the next to try his luck from long range in the 56th minute, and a deflection off the head of Harry Maguire made it more difficult than it should have been for Jordan Pickford, but the Everton man dived to his right to save well.
The shell-shocked Dragons had no answer to England’s quickfire goals, and Rashford soon had his second in the 68th minute, latching onto to Kalvin Phillips’s long ball and cutting inside before finishing through the legs of Ward for the Three Lions’ 100th World Cup goal.
Ward then got down low to keep out a Jude Bellingham effort in the 77th minute, with Southgate’s men in cruise control and remaining unthreatened by their neighbours in the defensive third.
John Stones missed a brilliant chance to make it four for England in added time, firing over the bar from close range, but the Three Lions sailed through to the knockout rounds and now prepare to meet Group A runners-up Senegal in Sunday’s last-16 clash.