England vs Panama

This entry was posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Rashford for a HAT-trick

Having managed to get over the line against Tunisia, attention now turns to what may even be a more physical grapple, against the worst team in the tournament in Panama. Despite it being a close thing in the end, for half an hour England played as well as any team in the tournament, bar perhaps Brazil’s first 30 against Switzerland or the middle spell where Spain bewitched Portugal with some classic tika taka. The opposition may not have been great, but England haven’t played that well at a World Cup since 2002. Optimism has been creaking slowly, especially with Colombia and Germany losing, and potentially removing obstacles at the last sixteen and last eight.

We don’t expect too many problems on Sunday – whether Alli or Sterling starts, both should get amongst the goals, likewise Harry Kane, who will have the Golden Boot in his sights. The Panama defence were physical and stodgy against Belgium, but the one thing they weren’t particularly tested by was pace, and with an average age of about 107, that could be their downfall against England’s rapid side. If Rashford starts, and we are led to believe he will by papers that got the starting team spot on in the first match, he could truly enjoy himself. He is a big game player, as he has shown in the last two international tournaments when coming on as a sub in the group stages, and the 35/1 Paddy Power offer on him scoring a hat-trick is our bet of the weekend.

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