Gary Neville on 'real deal' Harry Kane and England's approach to Belgium

Ruben Holloway
June 25, 2018

Well, that may be the case if you were just watching on TV but a camera in the stadium picked up the moment that England captain Harry Kane converted his second penalty of the game to put England 5-0 up and the moment of controversy that followed.

Kane netted two unstoppable first-half penalties before a fortuitous third in the second period to become the first man since former Barcelona and Spurs striker Gary Lineker in 1986 to score a World Cup hattrick. "We had fun out there", said current tournament top scorer Kane, calling his third "one of the luckiest goals of my life". He clearly had not reckoned on either just how good Belgium and England would be or perhaps quite how bad Tunisia and Panama are.

England secured their place in the last-16 with a domineering 6-1 victory over Panama and Harry Kane's hat-trick, a milestone which moves him to the top of the Golden Boot race. "England is totally spectacular, a handsome team", said Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez, who went into the English changing room at half-time to congratulate Southgate.

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Proud of a first World Cup hat-trick.

Whatever the explanation for such a two-sided group, it all means a big quandary is looming for both teams on Thursday when there is a very definite theory that winning the match and topping Group G could actually create a far greater obstacle to reaching the final.

"I don't know how Gareth could send those lads out there and say, "We need to get a draw today" or "We need to get more yellow cards". You go out there to win a game - the other bits are nonsense".

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It might have only been Panama, but England could hardly have been more impressive in thrashing their Group G rivals to make it six points from six at this year's World Cup.

"It would be nice for us to be talked about in a positive way and we've just got to keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard in training. I think everyone feels that way".

Marco Reus brought Germany level early in the second half after Sweden had taken a surprise first half lead, but they had to wait until the 95th minute of the game to see Toni Kroos curl home a superb shot from the left-hand side of the penalty area.

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