Captain Harry leads England

Amol Gokhale
Sunday, 24 June 2018

Extremely proud of the team. We had a fun out there, it could have been a tough game. But we want to enjoy the moment. The first penalty was about getting the zone. The third goal was one of the luckiest goals of the career but as a striker, you go through spells when you are scoring, they don't fall for you. So far it's been going my way, so hopefully, that continues. Obviously it’s going well so far, still, long way to go, but it's important if my goals help the team win the game.

- Harry Kane, England Captain

Tottenham Hotspur striker scores a hat-trick as England demolished Panama 6-1

NIZHNY NOVGOROD: Name ‘Harry’ is a special name for all the Englishmen. It is the name of their Prince, the most famous wizard in the land goes by the name of Harry Potter and their football team’s captain is Harry Kane.

On Sunday afternoon at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, a day after Belgium sizzled in Moscow, England put on a special show. Captain Kane scored a hat-trick with two first-half penalties and a lucky touch, a brace of headers from John Stones and a beautiful goal by Jesse Lingard helped them thrash World Cup debutants Panama 6-1.

The hat-trick takes Kane on 5 goals, one better than Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in the race for the Golden Ball, but Panama skipper Felipe Baloy’s consolation goal was equally cheered as he became the first from his country to score on the biggest stage of the world football.

Although it was Three Lions who broke the deadlock, it was their counterparts who had the first shy at the goal when the 28-year-old midfielder fired high from the edge of the 18-yard-box as early as the sixth minute.

But, two minutes later, when Gareth Southgate’s side earned themselves a corner, they made their first real opportunity count. Manchester City defender John Stones broke away from his marker Michael Murillo and met the Kieran Trippier corner on the penalty spot to fire a thumping header into the bottom corner of the net past Jaime Penedo, to give England an early lead in the second successive game.

England, who continued to launch attack after the attack were awarded a penalty in the 19th minute when Panama defender Fidel Escobar brought down Jesse Lingard in the box from behind, leaving Egyptian referee Ghead Grisha with no choice but to point to a penalty spot.

Tottenham striker then stepped up and with a piledriver found the top left corner of the net, leaving Panama custodian no chance whatsoever despite him diving the right way.

In the 36th minute, a move down the left flank saw Manchester United and Manchester City players combine well to create a beautiful goal. United's Ashley Young, fed Lingard, who played a neat one-two with City's Raheem Sterling, and with a reverse pass fed into his feet, took one touch and from the edge of the box curled the ball into the far top corner of the net. Penedo could do nothing about but pick up the ball from the back of the net as a result of that sensational strike.

The floodgates then opened for England as they added two more before the half-time whistle went. In the 40th minute, a round-table conference over the free-kick paid rich dividends for Three Lions.

Trippier played a square pass to Jordan Henderson, he then planted the ball on the head of skipper Kane, who headed it back across the face of the goal for Sterling, who fired his header straight at the keeper to force the save out of keeper, but another Manchester City man, Stones, was on hand to put the header into the roof of the net from a close range.

It turned even worse for the World Cup debutants when the referee awarded England second penalty after Panama's Godoy attempted to wrestle down Kane while defending a corner, which was well spotted by the Egyptian official, as Kane sent the 36-year-old stopper the other way, scoring an identical penalty.

The second half did not have the same intensity of the first-half given that the outcome of the game was pretty much clear. Southgate opted to rest his big names including the skipper Kane, but just before being subbed off, Kane scored one of the luckiest goals of his career.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek made a darting run inside from the flank and fired a shot from distance, the ball kissed the heel of Kane and wrong-footed the keeper as the ball ballooned in the back of the net.

The referee decided to take the aid of the VAR for potential off-side but the replays showed that Kane was just on-side. He then made way for Jamie Vardy, capping off his man-of-the-match performance.

Panama then got their name in the history books when Baloy escaped past England backline to meet Ricardo Avila free-kick in the 78th minute and slid the ball past keeper Jordan Pickford, to the delight of handful Panama fans as even English fans behind Pickford’s post.

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