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World Cup: England fire six past Panama as Kane bags historic hat-trick

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In streets all over England tonight, you will undoubtedly hear the chant ‘football’s coming home’ as fans celebrate England’s qualification to the World Cup’s final 16.

Despite being dogged with concerns over leaked tactics and a slight injury to Dele Alli, Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions dominated Panama in the first half, before finally seeing off the victory in the remaining 45 minutes.

Having shaken off his markers, Manchester City’s John Stones opened up the scoring with a well-placed header in the 8th minute of the game, slightly easing English nerves.

With haunting memories of Iceland’s victory in the 2016 Euro’s hanging in the air, where the Icelandic players came back to nick the game from being 1-0 down early on, England looked to solidify their early lead.

The perfect opportunity presented itself to the Three Lions when Lingard’s run was cut short inside the Panamanian penalty area, gifting England their first penalty.

The England skipper, Harry Kane, expertly struck the ball into the back of Panama’s net, demonstrating his class and poise behind the ball.

Lingard’s expert shot gave England fans even more reason to celebrate, as well as casting off any doubt that he fell short of being a world class player, scoring a goal that was up there with Kroos’ and Ronaldo’s

The 36th minute stunner came into fruition from a well-placed 1-2 with Sterling, whereby Lingard curled the ball into the top corner, from outside the penalty box. Lingard then followed up with one of his famous celebrations, giving the Three Lions fans even more to cheer for.

It was clear that frustration was creeping into the Panama game, as more and more fouls started to be made on the English. With another being committed in the Panamanians half, England managed to extend their lead further.

Trippier played a short pass out to Jordan Henderson who fired the ball into the penalty area where Kane headed the ball to Sterling. Sterling’s header was deflected off of Panama’s keeper, Penedo, and Stones managed to get his head to the ball one last time for a final touch into the back of the net.

With England having already secured their highest scoreline in a World Cup match ever, it looked as though the scoring would ease off, but that notion was to be dismissed yet again.

In the 45th+1 minute, the referee decided to punish the Panamanian’s wrestling of the east-end born, Harry Kane, an erroneous defensive error that would see Panama throw away yet another penalty.

Harry Kane stepped up to the penalty spot and fired home another glorious goal, with Penedo unluckily guessing that Kane would shoot into the other side. The first half drew to a close with no doubts in any spectator’s mind’s that England would progress into the final 16.

The exhilarating first half was well and truly over, as a much more mundane 45 minutes followed. England had clearly taken their foot off of the gas, with Panama clearly chasing a goal to ease the threat of total humiliation.

An utter fluke of a goal was scored by Harry Kane after Loftus-Cheeks long-range attempt clipped the back of the skipper’s ankle which flew over the head of the Panamanian keeper. The VAR assistants checked for offside, but it was concluded that Kane was just played on by Torres by a matter of inches.

Harry Kane has therefore earnt England first hat-trick at a World Cup game since Gary Lineker's trio of goals against Poland at Mexico 1986.

The scoring wasn’t over yet, with Panama managing to earn one back in the 78th minute after the 37-year-old substitute, Baloy, volleyed a cross from a free kick into the back of Pickford’s net, marking Panama’s first ever goal at the World Cup.

You couldn’t help but feel pleased for the South Americans and their momentous milestone, as their fans erupted into joy-stricken celebration.

The game seemed to fizzle out as both teams accepted the result, both appearing to be seemingly happy. England and Belgium have therefore secured qualification into the final 16 sending Panama and Tunisia home, a result not many seemed to doubt.

The competition for number one in Group G has been slapped on the table with both European sides sharing equal stats in their opening games from points earned to goal difference. The only thing that separates them is the number of cards awarded, a category which sees England gain number one spot.

England face Belgium on Thursday, a game which is likely to see both sides resting players for the matches ahead and both sides already celebrating their progression in the final rounds of the competition, meaning anything could happen in the final qualifying match. 

Media Credit - Flickr Commons, Alex McGibbon. FIFA. 

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