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Tragic story behind Marcus Rashford’s goals for England as star says he scored as tribute to late pal Garfield Hayward

MARCUS Rashford scored two belters for England against Wales last night, sending his side into the World Cup knockout stages.

But the 3-0 win was extra special for the Three Lions ace as he dedicated it to a friend who died just days earlier.

England’s Marcus Rashford celebrates a goal against Wales
Gareth Southgate and the Three Lions ace after the 3-0 win in Qatar

The 25-year-old hit a superb free-kick and ended a mazy run by finishing through Welsh goalkeeper Danny Ward’s legs.

He celebrated by kneeling and pointing to the sky with his eyes closed, and later revealed he was paying tribute to lost pal Garfield Hayward.

Speaking after the game, Rashford said: “Unfortunately I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago.

“He’s had quite a long battle with cancer, so I’m pleased I managed to score for him.

“He’s always been a big supporter of mine.

“He was just a great person and I’m pleased he came into my life, really.”

England are through to the last 16 where they will face Senegal on Sunday.

Rashford believes Gareth Southgate’s squad is strong enough to mount a serious challenge in the knockout stages.

He added: “I feel like the ambition in the squad is really good.

“We have a good mix of qualities. We have a really good squad and a squad that is definitely capable of challenging to win the tournament.

“I’m hoping that we can build on this type of performance, keep improving and keep scoring goals and showing our qualities.”

Rashford was happy with the way England bounced back from their goalless draw with the United States.

He told BBC One: “We were a little bit disappointed as a team after the last game against the USA.

“I thought we could have played a lot better and the only way to bounce back from that is to have a good performance in your next game and I think we did that.

“First half, we defended brilliantly, we didn’t really give them any opportunities.

“And it was just about us killing the game off and taking the chances when they came.”

On his free-kick opener at Qatar’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Rashford added: “I fancied one in the first half but the one in the second half was in a better position.

“And from there, it’s just about being calm and trying to execute what you practice in training.

“They don’t go in often but I’m pleased that it went in today.”

Speaking about Rashford, Southgate added: “It’s great for him. He’s trained really well, I have to say.

“He’s really been impressive since he came back in with us. He could have had a hat-trick really, the chance in the first half, the one at the near post in the second.

“The free-kick, that is what he’s capable of, it’s an incredible strike really.”

Phil Foden and Rashford celebrate after the match at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan

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