World Cup 2018: 5 best and worst players as England thump Panama
England qualified for the Round of 16 from Group G, with a thumping 6-1 victory over lowly Panama. The Three Lions scored five first-half goals, to render the second period just academic, and make their last game against Belgium decisive only to see who takes top spot in the group.
John Stones set England away with an early header from a Kieran Trippier corner before the floodgates well and truly opened.
Jesse Lingard was fouled in the box by Fidel Escobar, for captain Harry Kane to convert his first penalty of the day. Lingard trebled the lead with an absolutely beautiful curler from outside the box.
Stones got England's fourth and his second, with another header, before Kane converted another penalty before the break. Kane got his hat-trick, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek's left-footed shot deflecting off him before Felipe Baloy scored Panama's first ever World Cup goal, lending context to scant consolation.
Here are the best and worst performers on the pitch at a hot Nizhny Novgorod:
#5 Best - Jesse Lingard
The intelligence of his movement from midfield makes him an immense threat in Gareth Southgate's 3-5-2 system. He displayed that running ability throughout the game, as he made several intelligent runs, which the Panama defence had no answer to.
Just past the 20-minute mark, one of those Lingard runs was picked out by Kyle Walker, and the Manchester United man just chested the ball in front of him, before getting sandwiched by Fidel Escobar and Roman Torres, to win England a penalty.
In the 36th minute, he proceeded to go one better though. He started the move by picking the ball up on the left flank, playing the ball to Raheem Sterling.
That was when Lingard summed up his game, by not staying still after playing the pass. He continued his run, to allow Sterling to play the return pass through to him, before unleashing a curler that gave Jaime Penedo no chance in the Panama goal.
In the absence of Dele Alli, it was up to Lingard to provide England that drive from midfield, and he took up the responsibility willingly.
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