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Kane hits hat-trick as England thrash Panama
with 6-1 in World Cup Group G match   

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- A hat-trick from Harry Kane helped England crash Panama 6-1 in the World Cup Group G game at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium here on Sunday.

The match against Panama marked England’s biggest win ever at the World Cup finals, which secured a last 16 place for the Three Lions while Harry Kane, the captain of England and the man of the match, became the first England player scoring a World Cup hat-trick since Gary Lineker in 1986.

For Panama, the Central America country harvested the first World Cup finals goal in its second match.

England, playing a 3-5-2 formation, took the lead eight minutes into the match with a header from John Stones.

In the 20th minute, England’s midfielder Jesse Lingard was pushed over from behind by the Panamanian defender in the box and Tottenham Hotspur striker Kane slammed the penalty into the top left corner of the net.

The Three Lions controlled the game and had a third goal in the 36th minute as Lingard made a right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner.

Just after 4 minutes, England won a free-kick and extended the lead again. Trippier sent the ball to Jordan Henderson and he curled a delivery to the back post for Kane to nod on. The Panama goalkeeper made a fine close-range save. However, Stones was on the spot to make a header to make it 4-0.

At the end of the first half, another penalty was awarded to England as Kane was pulled down inside the box. The captain converted the penalty with a right footed shot to the top left corner, which was almost the same as his first one.

England experienced a dream first half and won a biggest half-time lead at this World Cup in Russia.

England coach Gareth Southgate thought that his men’s performance was “ruthless” and expressed great satisfaction with the result of the match. He even said from his point of view, the game was done when the first half ended.

Paces slowed down in the first 15 minutes of the second half. However, a fluke goal gave the Three Lions a bigger lead. In the 63rd minute, Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s long-range shot hit Kane and was deflected into the Panama net.

Kane completed a World Cup hat-trick and leads the scorers’ standings with five goals from two matches.

Kane considered the third goal as “one of the luckiest goals of my career”, but he also said “as a striker, you go through spells when you’re scoring, sometimes they don’t fall for you. So far, it’s been going my way, so hopefully that continues.”

The Panamanians got their consolation goal in the 78th minutes when 37-year old defender Felipe Baloy slammed a right footed shot from the center of the box which is the Central American country’s first World Cup finals goal.

The Panama head coach Hernan Gomez hailed for the goal, saying he “felt very moved” at that moment.

“He’s a player who will be retiring from the national team and God gave him the opportunity to score that goal because of the way he conducts himself in football and he’s such a professional,” he added.

FIFA statistics showed that England made 12 attempts at the goal throughout the match, while Panama made eight. Ball possession was 58 percent for England and 42 percent for Panama.

Around 43,000 spectators attended Sunday’s match at the 45,000-seat Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

For the final round of the group stage, England and Belgium will meet in Kaliningrad on June 28 to determine who will be the top of Group G.

Southgate noted that England must continue to perform like a top team and “show qualities that are going to be really important to our resilience and sticking to our principles of play.”

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UPDATES:

England to defeat Belgium in final round, says Harry Kane

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- England captain Harry Kane said on Sunday night that England will try to win the game against Belgium and finish as the top of the group.

Kane scored a hat-trick in the game against Panama, which took him to five goals at the World Cup, one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in the race for the Golden Boot.

The Tottenham Hotspur striker expressed his excitement after the match and said he was “extremely proud” of the hat-trick.

Kane became the third England player to score a World Cup hat-trick and the first one since Gary Lineker in 1986.

“Not many players can strike a hat-trick at the World Cup,” he said, “It’s what I dreamt of. It’s amazing. Now we can fight against any team. I had a great feeling.”

“The most important thing is winning games, and if my goals help my team win then that’s the perfect situation. There are a lot of good players just behind me. Hopefully, I can just continue and take it into Thursday’s game,” he added.

Kane also said the third goal he scored was “probably one of the luckiest goals of my career”. In the 63rd minute, Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s long-range shot hit Kane and was deflected into Panama’s net.

“As a striker, you go through spells when you’re scoring, sometimes the goals don’t fall for you. So far, it’s been going my way, so hopefully that continues,” he said.

For the final round of the group stage, the two teams will meet in Kaliningrad on June 28 to determine who will be the top of Group G.

Kane noted among the Belgium team there are a lot of players from the Premier League and he knew them quite well.

“It’s good to catch up with them,” he told reporters. “But we want to finish as the top of the group so we can go to the knock-out stage with less pressure.”

“We are going to try to win the game and keep the momentum to the knock out stage,” he added.

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Former stars praise Kane and England after 6-1 win over Panam

MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Former England stars, Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard have praised the display of striker Harry Kane and the England side that beat Panama 6-1 in their World Cup Group G game on Sunday afternoon.

The win was England’s biggest ever in a major tournament: Kane scored a hat-trick to take his total to 5 goals in the World Cup, while John Stones became the first England defender to score two goals in a singe World Cup match and Jesse Lingard scored a wonderful curling goal in a win that means they have now scored as many goals in two game Russia as when they reached the semifinals in Italy 1990.

“A magnificent day, a magnificent performance. Every single one of them can go away and be very proud of it, said Shearer, who scored 30 goals in 63 appearances for England.

“The only down side was Raheem Sterling never got a goal, that would have been the perfect day, but everything was superb,” he said on the BBC.

The former striker also highlighted Kane’s performance as possibly life-changing after the hat-trick which puts him in the lead for the ‘Golden Boot.’

“He’s come into the tournament as Harry Kane but if he goes away as Harry Kane, World Cup Golden Boot winner, that’s life-changing for someone,” he said.

Lampard also praised Kane, with the former England midfielder, who was recently named as the new coach of Derby County saying he was “a World star.”

“Everyone knows who he is now, but he just keeps on producing and nothing is a problem for him.”

Former England defender, Ferdinand had more words for Kane, saying the current England captain is a “wonderfully balanced individual. He never gets too excited when things are going well and he never gets too down when things aren’t going so well.”

“That allows him to have that inner confidence, and he goes in there and produces the goods week in, week out for his club and he’s now doing it as captain for his country.”

Ferdinand appeared 83 times for England and believes the current England team is “exciting a nation like no other team for probably 20 years. I know you can only beat what’s in front of you, but they’ve still gone and done it.”

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Gareth Southgate feels pleased with England’s ruthlessness against Panama

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- England coach Gareth Southgate said on Sunday that he was really pleased with his team’s ruthlessness in the first half against Panama at the World Cup.

A hat-trick from Harry Kane, two headers from John Stones and Jesse Lingard’s score helped England crush Panama with a 6-1 win, which is the biggest victory at the World Cup finals for the Three Lions.

England has secured a position in the last 16 with the win.

Southgate said at the post-match press conference that he was “really pleased of course with the way we were ruthless for half an hour or so”.

“It was a different type of win to the other day,” he added, referring to the match on June 19 which England beat Tunisia with the late goal from Kane.

England hasn’t scored more than two goals in its last 14 World Cup final matches. Even Southgate said he felt strange in the interval of Sunday’s match.

“For me, just before halftime the game was done today, so it was a very strange feeling watching the second half just trying to encourage the players to remain professional in the way that they played and be a top team by being ruthless,” he told the press.

With the second consecutive victory in the group stage, England now enjoys the same points as Belgium. For the final round of the group stage, the two teams will meet in Kaliningrad on June 28 to determine who will be the top of Group G.

Looking forward to the next game, Southgate said Belgium is a team with outstanding individual players, clear pattern of play and great experiences from the last World Cup and European Championship.

However, the England coach said his team has gained confidence and learned lessons from the games that other teams played in the past weeks. He vowed that England will keep the good momentum and fight to the end.

With regard to the performance of Kane, Southgate said the Tottenham Hotspur striker now is up at the top of the list of the world’s great players.

“What is great for me is the way he sacrifices himself for the team by holding the ball up. He was not standing there and waiting for the chances. When he gets opportunities we know he will bury them,” Southgate said.

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Panama coach Hernan Gomez welcomes first World Cup goal

NIZHNY NOVGOROD Russia (Xinhua) -- Despite a 6-1 loss to England on Sunday, Panama coach Hernan Gomez praised Felipe Baloy for scoring the Central American country’s first goal in its debut World Cup.

Gomez told reporters during the post-match press conference that as a debutant at the World Cup, Panamanians have already accomplished their first target and really enjoyed it. The coach said he “felt very moved” when Baloy, the 37-year-old substitute, scored the goal in the 78th minute.

“He’s a player who will be retiring from the national team and God gave him the opportunity to score that goal because of the way he conducts himself in football and he’s such a professional,” the Panama coach said.

Regarding the match against England, Gomez thought the result shows the gap between the two teams.

The Colombian tactician expressed his worries before the match, saying that “it’s going to be our hardest match by far”. Unfortunately, the 62-year-old coach’s words came true.

“We tried to play against England, but there was a huge difference between two teams. We conceded five goals in the first half including two penalties,” he told the press at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

However, Gomez praised his men for their performance in the second half. “What we did is trying to avoid a big catastrophe. We managed to keep the ball in the second half a little bit more and play in a more orderly fashion. If had we not done it wouldn’t be six goals but far more.”

On the performance of England, Gomez paid a compliment. He said he even went to Gareth Southgate, the England head coach, to congratulated him in the interval.

“England is totally spectacular and a beautiful team,” he said. “I’ve had to play against two spectacular opponents, Belgium and England. But that’s absolutely fantastic because that’s how you learn and draw conclusions.”

Gomez also said, as a World Cup newcomer, Panama learned a lot in Russia and the team need to make huge improvements from all aspects after the tournament.

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