World Cup 2018: England 6-1 Panama

England cruise to a historic win in their highest ever World Cup game with a stunning first half display against Panama. Scoring an incredible 5 goals in the first half with some fantastic play and even better set pieces. Harry Kane becoming only the third ever England player to score a hat trick in the tournament as well.

England 6 (Stones 8, 40. Kane 22, 45+1, 62. Lingard 36 ) -1 Panama (Baloy 78)

England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Jordan Henderson; Kieran Trippier, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ashley Young; Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling.

Panama: Jaime Penedo; Michael Murillo, Roman Torres, Fidel Escobar, Eric Davis; Gabriel Gomez; Edgar Barcenas, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Jose Luis Rodriguez; Blas Perez.

Given the impressive opening half against Tunisia last week I was interested to see how they would react to an opposition like Panama, a team who were just happy to make it to the finals and no one really expected anything from them. Especially when you look at the yellow card stats from they’re opening game against Belgium with five players getting booked. They didn’t really start much different towards England in all honesty with the fouls and the wrestling in the penalty area. The best thing about that though was the referee was outstanding and did not hesitate with the two different penalty decisions. As well as plenty of free kicks, I think England must have been expecting this as we had some well worked corners and free kick routines which led to scoring goals. I had to double-check that I was actually watching England. Harry Kane showing just how to take two penalty’s in one game and both outstanding finishes, his third goal a deflection from his heel will probably be the flukest ones he will ever score but when your hot and on form everything goes in!

This is a different England. It is a new England. We no longer have our superstar that must play and everything must be formed around, trying to play all of the “world class” players of the supposed Golden Generation. No we have what looks a lot more like a hard-working team. A team that will fight for each other and keep going. Along with that we have outstanding pace, I don’t ever remember seeing an England side in my lifetime that had pace like this.

With that incredible pace though I feel I need to mention Rahem Sterling who I was pleased kept his place as deserved another chance after his good form in league football. But why does he find himself caught offside so many times? He could probably start 20 yards inside the defenders and still beat them for pace. But he was standing on the last man and was offside at least three times early on in the first half. It’s just a little bit frustrating when he should be playing off Kane.

The first half though was totally brilliant, an England team at the World Cup leading 5 goals to nil is honestly the stuff of dreams. The second half was as we would therefore expect really, it was awful. Some of the players yes Ashley Young and Kyle Walker just passing the ball to each other about 20 times and not going anyway was embarrassing and belittling their opponents. That was probably about 15 minutes before the game was over. You would think coming on as a sub Jamie Vardy, Fabian Delph and Danny Rose that this could be your opportunity to impress and push for a starting place for the next game and get into contention for the knockout stages?

That was not what they did though, they didn’t do well anything. I mean why did we stop playing and badly attempting to pass the ball around. We are not great at that, keep doing what you are good at attacking quickly with pace and creating chances to score. Stay in those good habits. Typical England though to give away a soft goal which was Panama’s first EVER World Cup goal! The second half really took the edge of a terrific first half display, but it was job done and we have qualified for the knockout stages. A big test on Thursday against Belgium is something I am looking forward to even more now and I hope both sides actually play a full strength team as they need to be match fit and sharp for the following stages.

It’s Coming Home!

It’s Coming Home!

It’s Coming Home!

It’s Coming . . .

Football’s Coming Home!

 

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