Panama 'frightened' by England's fast start, coach admits

Sherman Parsons
June 28, 2018

England's new relaxed atmosphere at the World Cup has been tested over the past 48 hours.

The Japanese team were unable to follow England into the last 16 but remain well-positioned to progress following an entertaining 2-2 draw with Senegal in the other match held on a high-scoring day in Russian Federation.

England were given a bit of a rough ride by Panama, with two of England's goals coming from the penalty spot, but Trippier feels the side coped well with the challenge.

"To play with the freedom they did, the energy and pace that they did (in the first hour of the game against Tunisia), I thought it was as good as anything I have seen in the tournament up to this point".

England took a 5-0 lead into halftime and picked up a hat trick from Harry Kane and a double from John Stones. And Kane claimed his hat-trick after a long-range effort from Ruben Loftus-Cheek hit him on the heel and wrong-footed Panama goalkeeper Jaime Pinedo.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold was an unused substitute for England, who will meet Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday in a game that will determine who finishes top of Group G.

In 1954 England reached the same mark in only three outings, aided by a game in the unconventional group stage in which they drew 3-3 with Belgium, went to extra time and scored another as the game ended as a 4-4 draw.

The growing cohesion which was in evidence against an admittedly limited and over-physical Panama team was an illustration of how things are starting to gel for England, and breaking that continuity unnecessarily could prove counter-productive. First, however, they have to get there.

Colombia banished the demons of their defeat to Japan as they eased to victory over Poland to give their qualification hopes a boost at the Kazan Arena. And with the goals flying in and records being broken, there are reasons to be optimistic for this England team.

However, speaking in his post-match presser, the 62-year old said he simply congratulated Southgate for a pretty incredible first half showing, while telling him how much he enjoys his team. Why not keep on dreaming?

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