England recorded their biggest ever World Cup finals win by thrashing an ill-disciplined Panama 6-1 on Sunday to breeze through to the knockout stage after two games.A hat-trick from captain Harry Kane – which means he is now the leading scorer in the tournament with five goals – two from John Stones, his first ever in an England shirt, and a beauty from Jesse Lingard completed the crushing victory.
The result also confirmed Belgium’s qualification for the knockout stage and means Panama exit the tournament alongside Tunisia.
The records tumbled for England on an easy afternoon by the River Volga.
The rout was the first time England have scored more than four goals at a World Cup finals since winning the tournament in 1966.
It was the first time in England’s history they have managed five goals in a first half and Kane became the first England player to score a World Cup hat-trick since Gary Lineker in 1986.
It is also the first time they have qualified for the knockout stage since 2010, and the biggest victory so far at this tournament.
Intriguingly, it also means they are level on points, goal difference and goals scored with Belgium in Group G. The two sides meet in Kaliningrad on Thursday.
Despite the result, England started slowly and it was Panama who should have scored first in the fifth minute when Anibal Godoy blasted high and wide after the Central Americans carved open England’s defence. – AFP