One day after an impressive showing from fellow Group G team Belgium, England laid down a marker of their own. Belgium had beaten Panama 3-0 in the first game, and had followed it up with an emphatic 5-2 win over Tunisia on Saturday. After England’s narrow, late 2-1 win over the same Tunisia side last time out, some thought they might struggle a little against the pesky Panamanian team. Oh, how they were wrong. Responding to Belgium, England hit five goals in the first half alone on the way to winning 6-1 emphatically.
Harry Kane, one of the consistently top scorers in England’s Premier League, did what everyone expected him to do: score and score in bunches. He scored twice against Tunisia, and he would continue that rich vein of form with three more goals before he was taken off to get some rest ahead of the next match. His five goals now has him in first place in the Golden Boot race, one ahead of Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).
This win catapults the Three Lions to the top of the table now ahead of their final group clash with the Belgians on Thursday. It could have been a crucial win over Panama because it could have given them a massive advantage. Had they held out at 6-0, due to their superior goal difference, and then grabbed a draw, they would have won the group. Now, they must win in order to advance as goals scored is a metric used to break a tie, and the Belgians have that.
This win is also a response to yesterday’s late triumph for Germany over Sweden. Sweden, a team that kept both Netherlands and Italy out of the tournament entirely, took a 1-0 lead to the break over the defending champions. But that was not meant to be, as the four-time winners scored right after half time to tie the game. Things didn’t go well for them, seeing a red card for Jerome Boateng with around ten minutes to play. They didn’t stop, though, and they were rewarded with yet another late winning goal to give them a win.
The World Cup is always big, no doubt, but when these two teams (England and Germany) are playing well, it’s good for everyone. The English speaking world always pays attention to the English side, no matter what they might think about them. It is after all largely due to them winning the 1966 edition of the tournament that soccer even began to take root in the United States. Germany, like Brazil, are just one of the staple teams. And it appears that they are safe for a little longer now, too!