England are through to the group stage of the World Cup after a record-breaking performance against Panama.
The team won 6-1 – with the most goals they have ever scored in a World Cup finals.
Two penalties and a deflection from Harry Kane, two headers from John Stones and a stunning strike from Jesse Lingard left Panama in tatters.
The hat trick from the captain made him the first England player to score five goals in the group stage.
England got off to a swift start after shaky first five minutes when Stones came from the back of the box to head in from a set piece that saw aggressive behaviour from Panama’s players.
The second came from a penalty after Lingard was brought down by Panamanian Fidel Escobar.
Lingard stole his own piece of the glory when he went through defenders on the edge of the box to drive a strike into the top right corner.
Another penalty came after the referee lost patience with Panama’s shoving during an England corner, with Kane slamming in his shot in exactly the same place as the first spot kick.
With the mostly-Russian crowd still reeling from the goalfest, England won another free kick and put together an elaborate set piece which ended with Stones putting in his second after a first header from Raheem Sterling was blocked.
Eighteen minutes into the second half, just as it looked like Panama were beginning to bring things under control, a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot hit the heel of the captain to give him the first hat trick in a World Cup finals by an England player since Gary Lineker in Mexico 1986 against Poland.
Panama got a consolation goal when Felipe Baloy met a free kick with a strike to beat England goal keeper Jordan Pickford.
The margin of victory means England are currently level with Belgium on goal difference as they go into their last group stage match on Thursday.
The game was marred by poor on-pitch behaviour by Panama who currently hold the record for the number of bookings in Russia 2018.
“Credit Sky News”