England 6 – 1 Panama – it’s coming home!…

I’m trying my very best not to get carried away but it’s getting harder and harder as the games go by. While the big boys have stuttered and stumbled through their opening games it feels like England have found their feet quickly and are up for the fight.

Gareth Southgate’s young England side romped to victory over Panama in their second group game and the performance was as convincing as we’ve seen in recent years from the Three Lions in a major tournament. The last and only time England have scored four or more goals in a tournament match was a certain FIFA World CupTM final in 1966, and no one needs reminding how that one turned out. With a maximum six points from two games, England’s place in the last 16 is confirmed and Southgate can already start thinking about resting key players in the final group game against Belgium.

In a game packed with positives, the England boss will surely be most impressed by his side’s potency from set pieces. Kieran Trippier’s deliveries from corners and free-kicks coupled with the aerial presence of Harry Maguire and John Stones have made us a real threat from dead ball situations. Add to that the well-worked training ground routines and the sharpness of our forward players in the box and England may just be emerging as dark horses in the tournament.

Admittedly, Panama were poor. The Central Americans gave away two needless penalties in the first half and their marking from set pieces was either non-existent or penalised, but I’m more inclined to focus on just how clinical England were. Jesse Lingard’s fantastic curling effort will certainly be in contention for goal of the tournament, while Harry Kane’s completely intentional deflected flick shows that the Three Lions may just have luck on their side.

Our opening day victory over Tunisia was certainly all about the England captain, and the striker followed up his last gasp winner with England’s first FIFA World CupTM hat-trick since 1986. Kane made no mistake from the spot with his two penalties and the ambition that drives him to chase the Golden Boot in the Premier League looks to have followed him to Russia. It may not have had the glamour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick against Spain, but Kane’s treble makes him the leading goalscorer going into the final round of group games and you’d have to fancy him to score past any defence in the competition.

England’s attacks may not have been as fluid as the opening half against Tunisia, but fans up and down the country can allow themselves to get a little carried away after such a commanding victory. Confidence will be high in the England camp as they head into Thursday’s Group G decider against Belgium. England’s greatest ever tournament victory may have been against ‘lesser opposition’ and could just be setting up millions’ hopes and dreams to be shot down but the Three Lions faithful are daring to dream. Including me. It’s coming home.

The Armchair Reporter is tuning into the tournament with the Official TV of the FIFA World Cup™, the Hisense U7A 4K ULED TV. Specifically designed to offer the greatest possible sporting experience, there’s no better way to experience every moment of the beautiful game’s showpiece event, short of travelling to Russia!

Ben Groom
Hisense UK Armchair Reporter