Harry Kane hat trick as England thrash Panama to reach last 16

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GB news 24 desk//

Harry Kane had a hat trick and John Stones scored twice as England scored five goals in the first half and cruised to an easy 6-1 World Cup victory over Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

The win, England’s largest margin of victory ever in the World Cup, means they and Belgium, who defeated Tunisia 5-2 on Saturday, will move on from Group G to the round of 16.

Kane, who has now scored 12 goals in his last nine games for England, became only the fifth player to score multiple goals in each of his team’s first two World Cup games — one day after Romelu Lukaku did so for Belgium.

Despite photographs published during the week seemingly showing otherwise, Raheem Sterling started up front alongside Kane, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek starting in place of the injured Dele Alli with temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit) at kickoff.

Panama, warned repeatedly for physical defending throughout the first half, had quality chances in the opening minutes from Edgar Barcenas and Anibal Godoy, but it was Stones who scored the first goal in the eighth minute.

The defender scored unmarked from a header, meeting Kieran Trippier’s corner at the penalty spot and powering it past Jaime Penedo for his first England goal.

Barcenas had another opportunity in the 16th minute, but Panama’s physicality cost them four minutes later after England were awarded a penalty when Fidel Escobar pushed Jesse Lingard over as he approached the box.

Kane calmly converted two minutes later, joining Ron Flowers in 1962 as the only players to score in England’s first two World Cup games and marking the first penalty they have scored since David Beckham did so against Argentina in 2002.

At that point, England took off. Jesse Lingard added to the total in the 36th minute, running onto Raheem Sterling’s return ball and curling it right-footed from 20 yards into the top corner, and Stones scored his second from a header four minutes later after a free kick, when Sterling’s own header was parried away by Penedo.

Kane made it five goals in first-half added time once he was awarded a penalty after being grabbed around the waist and held by the shirt by Godoy. The goal, similar to Kane’s first penalty, marked the first time under the current World Cup format a pair of teammates have scored two goals in the same half.

The pace of scoring slowed in the second half, after Panama coach Hernan Gomez approached England counterpart Gareth Southgate at the edge of the dugout and gestured for him to calm things down.

Kane came off in for Jamie Vardy in the 63rd minute, just after he completed the hat trick when Loftus-Cheek’s shot from 20 yards out skimmed off his heel and into the net.

And although Panama’s Michael Murillo had a scoring chance in the 66th minute, though he failed to shoot before he was tackled by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, it was Felipe Baloy who converted in the 78th minute when he slid unmarked into the area to meet Ricardo Avila’s free kick with his right foot.

Baloy, 37, became the third-oldest player to score his first World Cup goal.

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