England hat-trick hero Kane basks in World Cup rout
NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, Russia – Hat-trick hero Harry Kane says "it's all coming together" for England at the World Cup as they sailed into the last 16 with a 6-1 rout of Panama on Sunday, June 24.
Kane's treble and two goals from John Stones, with Jesse Lingard also on the scoresheet, meant England joined Belgium at the top of Group G with 6 points ahead of the match between the two teams on Thursday.
"Fantastic," Kane beamed in an interview with the BBC after leaping to the top of the World Cup Golden Boot scoring chart with 5 goals in two games.
"So proud of the boys. Just enjoying it being here. We knew it was going to be tough but it's all coming together.
"It's a brilliant result, fantastic to be through and to do it in this way is great."
The Tottenham Hotspur striker said England fans were justified in dreaming of winning the World Cup for the first time since 1966.
"We're not getting too ahead of ourselves. We've got to keep it going but, yes, you have to believe. If you want to achieve anything in life you have to believe.
"We've got to stick together, stick to our game plan."
England recorded its biggest ever World Cup win by thrashing an ill-disciplined Panama side, which bowed out alongside Tunisia in Group G.
The records tumbled for England on an easy afternoon by the River Volga.
The rout was the first time England have scored more than 4 goals at a World Cup finals since winning the tournament in 1966.
It was the first time in England's history they have managed 5 goals in a first half and Kane became the first England player to score a World Cup hat-trick since Gary Lineker in 1986.
It is also the first time they have qualified for the knockout stage since 2010, and the biggest victory so far at this tournament.
Despite the result, England started slowly and it was Panama who should have scored first in the 5th minute when Anibal Godoy blasted high and wide after the Central Americans carved open England's defence.
England took the lead in the 8th minute when John Stones powered home a header from a Kieran Trippier corner, held up by the referee because of wrestling and pushing by the Panamanians, something which was set to become a theme of the match.
England extended their lead from the penalty spot in the 22nd minute after Lingard was brought down in the box by two defenders.
That opened the floodgates.
Lingard scored the game's best goal in the 36th minute, a 20-yard curling shot past a helpless Jaime Penedo, then Stones added his second 4 minutes later, another header, following an intricate England free-kick.
Following Panama complaints, the goal was referred to VAR for offside but allowed to stand.
Kane then scored his second penalty in first-half injury time after he was almost farcically wrestled over at a corner, despite further Panama complaints.
At that stage, Panama, who received 5 bookings in their first match and 3 more here, threatened to implode, so bad was their lack of discipline.
Kane's hat-trick was completed in bizarre fashion in the 62nd minute after a Ruben Loftus-Cheek deflected off the English captain's heel into the net.
Again, the referee checked with VAR for offside, but once more the goal stood.
The second-half was largely an anti-climax, with Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling going close to making it 7.
However, the biggest cheer of the day was reserved for the 78th minute when Felipe Baloy scored Panama's first ever finals goal. – Rappler.com