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England 6 Panama 1: Kane bags hat-trick as Three Lions produce a World Cup best

England skipper Harry Kane celebrates with the match ball after the final whistle Picture: PA

England skipper Harry Kane celebrates with the match ball after the final whistle Picture: PA

PA Wire

Harry Kane’s hat-trick inspired England to their biggest ever World Cup win as Gareth Southgate’s men sealed progress to the last 16 with a 6-1 demolition of Panama that puts their rivals on notice.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring his side's third goal Picture: PAJesse Lingard celebrates scoring his side's third goal Picture: PA

Things finally appear to be looking up for an England side who were humiliated by Iceland at Euro 2016 and eliminated with a game to spare at the 2014 World Cup.

They secured progress to the knockout phase with a thrilling World Cup win that will live long in the memory as Kane’s hat-trick complemented John Stones’ brace and a Jesse Lingard stunner against shambolic Panama.

But Southgate was in no mood to get carried away with the convincing win.

“I didn’t like the start and I didn’t like the goal at the end, but I thought the bits in the middle were all right,” he said.

John Stones, centre, after making it 4-0 to England Picture: PAJohn Stones, centre, after making it 4-0 to England Picture: PA

“I felt we were a bit anxious at the start.”

He added: “Confidence-wise it was important we were able to score goals. Big moment for Jesse Lingard today especially, great for the captain to get his hat-trick, it meant he didn’t get hump when I brought him off.

“Also our set plays were a real threat.”

Asked what he told the players when 5-0 up at half-time, the England boss said: “We talked about the importance of one more goal to be top of the group, which is why the goal at the end was disappointing.”

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick against Panama to become the tournament's leading scorer. Photo: PAHarry Kane scored a hat-trick against Panama to become the tournament's leading scorer. Photo: PA

Defender Stones was happy to grab his first England goals on the highest stage but felt the day was slightly soured by England conceding late on.

He said: “To score my first goals for England was something special, especially at a World Cup. It’s not something I thought I’d do at the start of the day.

“But I would have loved a clean sheet, I thought we defended so well and dominated the match and to not get a clean sheet is a bit disappointing.

“It’s something to take forward into the next game and hopefully I can get a few more goals from the set-pieces.”

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