England qualified for the last 16 in splendid style with a 6-1 thrashing of Panama in Nizhny Novogrod on Sunday (June 24). From start to finish, it was an excellent performance from the Three Lions. For Panama, they are eliminated after their limitations have been brutally exposed.
1. The goals
England (John Stones 8th and 40th minutes, Harry Kane 22nd pen, 45th pen and 62nd, Jesse Lingard 36th) Panama (Felipe Baloy 78th)
2. The wow moment
Lingard took some criticism after his blunt finishing in the opening 2-1 win over Tunisia but the Manchester United forward redeemed himself with the best goal of the day against Panama. Gliding along the outside of the box, he locked onto the unguarded top corner of Jaime Penedo's goal and curled a powerful shot beyond the goalkeeper's reach.
3. The talking point
There have been numerous false dawns for the Three Lions since the inception of the Premier League in the 1992/93 season. A string of stars like Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and John Terry had come and gone but England never really impressed at major tournaments. Gareth Southgate's youthful team comes without the burden of those past failures and they have been playing with style and gusto in Russia. They are free of the previous heavy expectations and it all showed in this thumping win.
4. The star
Kane is without doubt, England's key player now. Even if he did not tear Panama to shreds with storming runs or hammer piledrivers from 30 metres, the striker did what he did best - Which was to finish off those chances. Two penalties were blasted home with aplomb and he was at the right place at the right time to deflect Ruben Loftus-Cheek's attempt over the stranded goalkeeper. He is now the current leader of the World Cup scoring charts with five goals, one ahead of Romelu Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo.
5. What the result means
England and Belgium, both with a maximum six points from two games, are through to the last 16. But both need to play each other on June 28 in Kaliningrad to settle who wins Group G. Gutsy Panama gave everything they had got but their limitations were clear to see. They are out and face Tunisia in the dead rubber and still trying to tell the world that their country is more than just a famous canal.