England 6-1 Panama: 5 Talking Points, World Cup 2018
- England thoroughly dominated Panama to advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup with a game to spare
England thrashed Panama 6-1 in their second World Cup Group G encounter in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday. The Three Lions had scored five goals by half-time itself before taking their foot off the gas in the second half.
A hat-trick by skipper Harry Kane (including two penalties), a brace from John Stones (from two set-pieces) and a stunner from Jesse Lingard saw England qualify for the Round of 16 with a game to spare. Felipe Baloy scored the consolation goal for Panama.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
#1 England make effective use of set-pieces
If there is one thing England have prepared well for, it is set-pieces. Gareth Southgate has drilled the Three Lions well when it comes to taking corners and four goals well-worked goals in two games are proof that his plans are working.
The first game against Tunisia saw Harry Kane score both goals from set-pieces - latching on to the second chance at the post. And against Panama, they got on the scoresheet as early as the 8th minute through a John Stones header.
That is another thing they have got right. With Kane tightly marked on corners, the only other viable targets in the box were the tall centre-backs. Stones and Maguire both won headers that led to Kane's goals against Tunisia and this time an unmarked Stones was easily able to head home the opening goal without any pressure and all the time in the world.
England's corner kicks weren't just hopeful punts into the box. They were taken with purpose and a plan in place to find the right man.
But nothing prepared Panama (or even the fans) for the fourth goal that was so well-worked. A clever routine with chips and diagonal passes saw as many as five players involved before Stones scored his second of the game.