WORLD CUP England smothers Panama

The first English Manchester City player to score at a World Cup since Trevor Francis in 1982 was virtually unmarked.

Kane, who scored a hat-trick in the match which saw England beat Panama 6-1, was snapped as he landed in St Petersburg on his way to the team's training base for Russian Federation 2018.

Gareth Southgate insisted he would not swap Harry Kane for any other player at the World Cup after the striker scored a hat-trick as England thrashed Panama.

The two penalties and a deflection from Harry Kane, two headers from John Stones and a strike from Jesse Lingard left Panama behind.

Incredibly, Southgate claims he preferred last Monday's last-gasp 2-1 win over Tunisia to yesterday's romp. Those figures do not include the audience for the build-up and post-match coverage.

This has been a key focus of coach Gareth Southgate to ensure that England are not wasteful when it comes to these chances in front of goal. Trippier's outswinging corner finds the head of a very unmarked John Stones in the middle of the box!

The side are now unable to qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition and have conceded nine goals in their opening two games.

"The difference of goals could have been more", Gomez said, as quoted by Sky Sports News.

England's Raheem Sterling, left, is fouled by Panama's Michael Murillo during their World Cup Group G match at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Sunday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.

England's players have clearly been made aware of the potential of set-piece strength at this World Cup, particularly in the context of the video assistant referee (VAR) and the potential for physical defending to be punished.

"He said, 'Sorry, mate, '" Loftus-Cheek said Kane told him after he had possibly stolen his chance at a goal.

He was referring to himself and Blas Perez, another player who is 37 with more than 100 worldwide appearances and played as a lone striker against England.

"Just before half-time the game was done today, so it was a very, very odd feeling watching the second half, just trying to encourage the players to keep professional in the way that they played and be a top team by being ruthless".

Hernan Gomez, his graceful Panamanian counterpart, called England "a lovely team" - not many people have described England like that before.

Alasdair Hooper takes a look at what's working and what needs work for the Three Lions heading into their final group match vs joint Group G leaders Belgium.

Despite scoring six past a physical Panama side, who scored their first ever World Cup goal late on, Southgate admitted he was not even overly impressed.

Of course it has often been noted that the personnel the Three Lions have in the defensive roles - as well as the team's determination to attack - often leaves them in vulnerable positions.

Rose came off the bench with England 6-0 up over Panama for the final 20 minutes of the game, with the match he already won.

Southgate's side sparkled in Nizhny Novgorod, pace and movement mixed with flashes of individual brilliance such as Lingard's goal to reduce Panama to an ill-disciplined shambles.

England also became the fifth team to score five goals in a World Cup half.

"That's his decision, I guess, but obviously I want to play". I didn't like the (Panama) goal at the end.

Colombia's win in Kazan with goals from Radamel Falcao, Yerry Mina and Juan Cuadrado sent Poland crashing out of the tournament.

I think it's a game everybody has been looking forward to.

  • Julie Sanders