World Cup Group G, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium – England 6 (Stones 8′, 40′; Kane 22′ pen., 45′ pen., 62′; Lingard 36′) Panama 1 (Baloy 78′)
Harry Kane netted a hat-trick as England thrashed Panama 6-1 in an emphatic victory in World Cup Group G at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.
Gareth Southgate’s side scored five times in an astonishing first-half display with Panama simply unable to compete.
Jon Stones earned his first international goal after heading home Kieran Trippier’s early corner. The first English Manchester City player to score at a World Cup since Trevor Francis in 1982 was virtually unmarked. England then earned their first penalty of the day when Roman Torres and Fidel Escobar combined to clumsily bring down Jesse Lingard. Kane made no mistake from the spot.
Stones earned his second of the day from another set piece routine. Trippier’s short free kick was put into the box by Jordan Henderson, and Sterling’s header at the goalkeeper fell into Stones’ path. It was one of many examples of Panama’s defending leaving a lot to be desired.
The fifth goal came shortly before half time, when a catalogue of fouls in the box could have earned England their second penalty. The referee chose Anibal Godoy’s abrasive foul on Harry Kane as justification for the spot kick.
Kane knew little about his hat-trick goal—Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s low drive from outside the box deflected off of the Tottenham striker’s heel. Nevertheless, it put him int he lead in the World Cup Golden Boot race with five goals.
The result puts Belgium and England through to the knockout rounds on identical records (points, goal difference and goals scored). The winner of the group, therefore, will be settled when they face each other in Kaliningrad on Thursday.
Should England actually strive to finish top of the group? – Topping the group is often seen as a boon, but perhaps not in this case. The top finisher in Group G will be more likely to face either Germany or Brazil in the quarterfinals. The second-placed team would be more likely to face Mexico or Switzerland at that stage.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jesse Lingard – Harry Kane may have bagged a hat-trick, but he wasn’t the best attacking player on the field. Lingard had a superb game, scoring a world-class goal and showing typically exquisite movement off the ball.
England – Pickford 6, Walker 6, Stones 8, Maguire 6, Trippier 8, Loftus-Cheek 8, Henderson 7, Young 7, Lingard 9, Sterling 7, Kane 9. Subs: Rose 6, Vardy 6, Delph 6
Panama – Penedo 5, Murillo 5, R.Torres 5, Escobar 4, Davis 5, Gómez 5, Bárcenas 6, Cooper 6, Godoy 6, Rodríguez 6, B.Pérez 6. Subs: Arroyo 6, Avila 7, Baloy 7
8 – GOAL! Trippier’s outswinging corner finds the head of a very unmarked John Stones in the middle of the box! England lead!
22 – GOAL! Harry Kane steps up from 12 yards and converts to the ‘keeper’s left for his third of the tournament!
36 – GOAL! A Stunning goal from Lingard! The Man Utd man plays a one-two with Sterling on the edge of the area and dispatches a delightful curling effort!
40 – GOAL! Trippier has another free kick, 35 yards out. He plays it short to Henderson, who flicks it into the box. Kane nods it to Sterling, whose header is deflected by the ‘keeper into the path of Stones, who gets his second of the day!
45 – GOAL! Kane converts his second penalty of the day, hard to the ‘keeper’s right! 5-0!
62 – GOAL! It’s six! Loftus-Cheek cuts across his defender on the edge of the box and his shot deflects off of Kane’s heel.
78 – GOAL! Panama get their first World Cup goal! A free kick curls in from the left and Boloy slides in to steer it home
This is only the third time England have won their opening two World Cup games (1982 and 2006 being the other two).
England are unbeaten in their last 12 internationals.
Panama have failed to beat any of the last 11 European sides that have faced.