England were a penalty shoot-out away from winning the European Championship against Italy last summer, having gone on an unforgettable run on the world stage in Russia in 2018. "Definitely compared to Russia, I think there's a different mentality about the whole group," the England boss said in the bowels of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium following victory over Wales. In Russia, we were just thinking about, 'Could we win a knockout game?' There's more expectation now, but more confidence and more experience of big matches.
The Manchester City midfielder came off the bench to tee up Marcus Rashford for his second goal in a 3-0 win over Wales on Tuesday night which saw England top Group B. Gareth Southgate and his staff will spend the next couple of days studying tapes of round-of-16 opponents Senegal - "it is how we get our kicks," joked the England boss. The England squad certainly are not taking progression for granted, as Phillips explained when asked if it is difficult to remain calm at this stage. "It's hard sometimes but we have a good group, good coaching staff, good managers who will always keep us grounded - especially Steve Holland," he said.
Wales' first World Cup appearance for 64 years ultimately ended in disappointment as they finished bottom of Group B with only one point from three games. It was the first time Wales have failed to make the knockout stage in four major tournament appearances. Wales reached the last eight of the 1958 World Cup, the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and the round of 16 at Euro 2020.