England came into their second group game as strong favourites knowing that a win would put them through. They delivered in emphatic fashion as Harry Kane joined the race for the golden boot by putting three past Panama in a 6-1 demolition.
Harry Kane Hits the Spot
Kane Settled Nerves
England started poorly and were given an early scare as Jesse Lingard gave the ball away in midfield. Panama broke, but Anibal Godoy sliced wide.
Immediately woken up by Panama’s chance, England won a corner. After a few rounds of wrestling inside the area, the referee allowed the corner to be taken. John Stones found himself completely free in the middle and headed England ahead inside ten minutes.
England still didn’t settle, though, and Panama continued to create chances. Good possession from Panama as Michael Murillo beat Ashley Young easily and finds Edgar Barcenas in the middle. His shot from 20 yards goes just wide of Pickford’s right-hand post.
England were given the opportunity to settle those nerves when Jesse Lingard was judged to have been brought down in the area. Harry Kane stepped up confidently and powered the penalty into the top left corner. A penalty-kick that left Jaime Penedo in the Panama goal with no chance.
England Push On
England looked much more comfortable after their second and made it three ten minutes before the break. A brilliantly curled shot into the far corner from the edge of the box by Jesse Lingard. England were now fully in control of this game.
They soon had a fourth. England looked undefendable at set pieces and this one was a brilliantly worked free kick. John Stones put the ball away for his second of the game, but the goal was made by the build-up. Jordan Henderson puts the cross in, Harry Kane headed it down, Raheem Sterling’s header was saved and John Stones was there to head the loose ball into the roof of the net.
England got another penalty just before the break. There were multiple fouls inside the area as England put in a corner kick. Same player, same result; Harry Kane repeated his earlier spot-kick to put England 5-0 up going into half-time.
Harry Kane Joins Race For Golden Boot
After an uneventful start to the second half, Kane completed his hat-trick on the hour mark. Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot hit Kane on the heels and flew in for England’s sixth. He was immediately substituted but has firmly joined the race for the Golden Boot.
Panama grabbed a goal late on with England’s defence switching off, Felipe Baloy with a famous goal for Panama. There was lack of communication from England as Harry Maguire and Ashley Young played everyone onside from a free-kick. Baloy stretched to convert on the half-volley past Jordan Pickford.
This game was won in the first-half and the second-half showed it. England took their foot off the gas knowing that their job was done. Harry Kane, Kieran Trippier and Jesse Lingard all bowed out of this game early, with Gareth Southgate looking to keep key players fresh.
England beat Panama comfortably and have booked their place in the next round after two games. England will go on and face Belgium in their final group game. Both sides are already through, with the only thing left to decide is who tops the group.