Saturday, September 22, 2018

England 6-1 Panama: Four Things We Learned During The Three Lions’ Massive Win

Juan Pablo Aravena in Editorial, World Cup 24 Jun 2018

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England delivered one of their best performances in World Cup history this Sunday against Panama. Taking advantage of a weaker opponent without a lot of experience, The Three Lions dismantled their rivals to the tune of a 6-1 score. A hat-trick from Harry Kane, a brace from John Stones and a strike from Jesse Lingard fueled England’s offense, while Felipe Baloy scored for Panama late in the second half when the game was all but close. As a a result, England have secured a berth on the Round of 16, while Panama have been oficially eliminated from the competition.

Here are four things we learned from England’s massive win this Sunday.

Harry Kane is a man on a mission

Kane continues to prove his doubters wrong. The Tottenham star has been under heavy criticism since he became the Spurs’ regular striker, but time and time again he has been able to surpass them. Fans doubted Kane’s ability to perform in the biggest stage, but he has done it year after year. Not only in the Premier League, but also in Europe and now representing the National Team.

Through the first two games in the competition, Kane has jumped to the top of the scoring charts with five goals, checking as the top scorer in the competition ahead of names such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku, who have four, and Denis Cheryshev, who has three. Kane has taken advantage of the fact that England have played against two weak sides – Tunisia and Panama – so far. But the Spurs star shouldn’t be taken for granted. As the reigning Premier League top scorer, he can definitively perform at the biggest stage.

Now it’s his time to show it, and so far Kane has made the most of the opportunity.

England have looked better than expected, but…

England fans were happy to see The Three Lions getting squared alongside Panama and Tunisia. Bookmakers, pundits and experts were all happy with the draw, as England received a relatively easy path to reach the Round of 16. And even though England are masters of not living up to expectations, that has not been the case here. Gareth Southgate’s men have actually destroyed even the most optimistic expectation through the first two games of the competition.

They started the campaign with a hard-working 2-1 win over Tunisia, and this Sunday they destroyed Panama to the tune of a huge 6-1 score that sent the team to the Round of 16 alongside Belgium, leaving Tunisia and Panama packing their bags to return home. It has been quite a long time since England looked THIS dominant on a group stage. That should only mean good things for The Three Lions going forward. Even though their opponent on the Round of 16 remains to be seen, teams must be aware of England’s power. They won’t be an easy team to eliminate on the knockout stages.

…we shouldn’t call them contenders yet

However, it is way too soon to call England a reliable title contender yet. For what is worth, Southgate continues to try to find the ideal starting XI, the defence remains a concern – no clean sheets thus far in the World Cup – and England also need to work on their finishing skills. Similar to what happened against Tunisia in the tournament opener, once again The Three Lions wasted several scoring chances. At some point, that is going to hurt them.

But most importantly, England shouldn’t be considered a contender since their only two World Cup matches have been against lowly sides such as Tunisia and Panama – two teams that England should defeat rather comfortably even if they were using an alternative side. The game against Belgium next week will be a realistic measure of where they are right now. But before that game ends, England simply shouldn’t be called a contending side. They have not earned that right yet.

Panama were not ready for the 2018 World Cup

Sadly, Panama were not ready to compete in the 2018 World Cup. Roster concerns aside, this idea is based on the way they looked during the first two matches. They held Belgium in check for 45 minutes in the tournament opener, but after that they have looked brutally overmatched. And aside from that, they have proven they were simply not good enough to measure against top European sides.

With the loss, Panama became the second CONCACAF side to get eliminated in the Group Stage; Costa Rica went through the same fate in Group E. And while this experience will undoubtedly be a positive one for Panama, they can hope for an easier path to the knockout stages if they qualify for another World Cup. They were not ready to face the likes of Belgium and England, and it showed here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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