England surpassed expectations with an astounding 6-1 win against Panama during the second round of games in the 2018 World Cup group stages. Harry Kane grabbed a hat-trick, John Stones scored a brace of headers and Lingard got in on the action with a long rage plie-driver as the three lions blew their Central American opponents away.
Whilst national expectations began pretty low for this World Cup, victories over Tunisia and Panama in the Three Lions opening two games has seen their odds start to plummet with their Betfair World Cup odds having dropped from 15/1 to now sitting at 10/1. Much has been made of England’s lightning fast start to the tournament, with many football fans now believing England may have a chance of winning it having previously thinking it was well out of reach.
“ITS COMING HOME” was trending on Twitter from the time the third goal went in early in the first half against Panama, beginning tongue in cheek however national hysteria has reached fever pitch levels with it continuing to trend well into the evening.
Whilst this amount of national pride isn’t something to be ashamed of, beating teams that are ranked 9 and 33 places below England’s 12th place in the official FIFA rankings (Tunisia 21st, Panama 55th) doesn’t exactly act as a great gauge for how far this team can go.
England’s record against CONCACAF nations in the World Cup is fairly average with 2 wins, 2 draws and a single loss. So in beating Panama, they’ve improved on this with the last two games ending in draws:
World Cup 2018 - England 6 – 1 Panama
World Cup 2014 – England 0 – 0 Costa Rica
World Cup 2010 – England 1 – 1 U.S.A
Following up from their draw against Costa Rica in 2014, England took them on again in a warm-up game just before the World Cup got underway, expelling the demons from that disappointing draw in 2014 with a comfortable 2-0 win. Getting their own back against the USA hasn’t been possible until now, so the team will always be left thinking about what could have been had Rob Green not fumbled Clint Dempsey’s effort across the line.
With their two wins in the current tournament, England have already confirmed they will be in the next round with just the final group game against Belgium left to play and with both countries having identical records in the group stage, that game will be the deciding factor for who wins the group. Whoever wins gets top stop.
However far the English soccer team manages to go in the tournament, they’ve already performed much better than the nation expected and deserve all of the plaudits coming their way. Could England be coming home with the World Cup trophy? If Harry Kane keeps scoring goals like this they very well could.