England maintained the surprisingly strong start to their World Cup campaign on Sunday by obliterating Panama 6-1, dispensing of the Central American nation in clinical and dominant fashion.
It took just eight minutes to open the scoring as John Stones headed home a Kieran Trippier corner and the centre-half would double his tally just before half-time, latching onto the rebound as Manchester City team-mate Raheem Sterling attempted to apply the finishing touch to an incredibly well-worked free kick routine.
In between, Jesse Lingard won a penalty which Harry Kane calmly converted and the Manchester United star surged on from midfield soon after, this time linking up with Sterling before curling the ball beyond Panama’s helpless goalkeeper from the edge of the box.
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As Kane bagged another from the spot, England went into the interval more than comfortable at five goals up. The second half was far less resounding though, Kane completing his hat-trick by inadvertently deflecting a wayward Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot into the net and Panama unexpectedly ruining Jordan Pickford’s clean sheet with the simplest of goals from a free kick.
Nonetheless, just as the result confirmed England’s qualification for the knockout stages, the performance has elevated the level of optimism heading into their final group game with Belgium – a shootout for top spot in Group G and a vital chance to show Gareth Southgate’s side can put in a similarly impressive display against considerably superior opposition.
But, England fans, who was your Man of the Match from Sunday’s emphatic win? Was it hat-trick hero Kane, the ever-lively Lingard, brace-bagger Stones or someone else? Let us know by taking below and giving each player involved a performance rating out of ten…