Harry Kane bags hat-trick as England smash Panama
England proved that they are a side to watch after they smashed Panama by 6 goals to 1. Harry Kane led the way with a hat-trick and an emphatic performance that sees them going straight to the knockout stage.
Gareth Southgate's side had squeezed past Tunisia in their opening Group G game thanks to a stoppage-time winner from their skipper, but there was no late drama in a one-sided clash in Nizhny Novgorod. Kane and John Stones both scored twice before the interval, the former converting a pair of penalties as England scored five before the break against their beleaguered opponents.
However, Jesse Lingard registered the pick of England’s first-half strikes, bending a shot home with his right foot after being teed up Raheem Sterling, who – despite media conjecture in the week – kept his place in the starting XI.
Kane enjoyed a slice of good fortune to secure his hat-trick after deflecting Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s drive beyond goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, for his fifth of the tournament, moving him clear of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in the battle for the Golden Boot.
First ever Panama goal
Substitute Felipe Baloy created history with Panama's first goal in the finals, though England's emphatic win sees them join Belgium - who they face on Thursday in Kaliningrad on Thursday - in qualifying from the group.
5 - Harry Kane is the current leading scorer at the 2018 World Cup with five goals, scoring with all five of his shots on target in the tournament. Midas. #ENGPAN #ENG #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/xcOEEoWOE0— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 24, 2018
Panama actually enjoyed the first good chance - Anibal Godoy slicing a clear sight of goal wide with his left foot – before they left a canal-sized gap for an unmarked Stones to thump home a header from Kieran Trippier's corner. Panama rightly enjoyed their consolation goal, but Kane and England will hog the headlines after an emphatic result that will further raise hopes back home of a repeat of their 1966 triumph.