The England World Cup ambitions continue as Harry Kane scored a hat-trick, John Stones grabbed a brace and Jesse Lingard was also on target as England crushed Panama 6-1 at World Cup 2018.
The victory confirms England’s place in the round of 16, alongside Belgium who they play in their final Group G match on Thursday. England are 9/5 to beat Belgium.
Gareth Southgate’s side were 5-0 up at half time with the first of the goals being scored by Stones in the eighth minute when the Manchester City defender powered a header from Kieran Tripper’s corner home.
Panama were defensively naive and they conceded a penalty 14 minutes later when Lingard was brought down just as he was about to shoot, Kane lashing the penalty into the roof of the net.
A robust Panama side fell 3-0 behind in the 36th minute when Lingard scored the goal of the match, curling a 25-yard effort past veteran goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.
Another goal arrived four minutes later when a well-worked England free-kick routine was finished by Stones who headed in his second goal of the encounter after Penedo had denied Raheem Sterling.
England were awarded their second penalty of the match just before half time when Kane, 7/4 to be the leading goalscorer at Wolrd Cup 2018, was manhandled to the ground at a corner – the Tottenham striker getting up to thump home the spot-kick.
England strolled through the second half, trying to conserve some energy in the heat ahead of sterner tests to come.
They did score a sixth goal just past the hour mark when Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot hit Kane and wrongfooted the hapless Penedo.
Panama grabbed a consolation goal with 12 minutes left when the England defence switched off and Felipe Baloy fired past Jordan Pickford but Southgate’s team had already done more than enough to confirm their place in the knockout stages in Russia.
England can now be backed at 9/1 to win World Cup 2018.
Is this the year when it’s England World Cup Champions 2018 ??
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