Kane's hat-trick helps England smash Panama for a six

Raheem Sterling

GETTY Raheem Sterling will play against Panama

It's a sign of how much England have progressed under Gareth Southgate that they ruthlessly despatched a weak opponent, although Panama did have the consolation of scoring their first World Cup goal when 37-year-old Felipe Baloy netted late on.

With John Stones heading in twice and Jesse Lingard curling in a shot, England scored the most goals in a World Cup game.

England took an early lead through John Stones' bullet header - his first global goal - and Kane doubled their advantage soon after, rifling a penalty into the top corner after Jesse Lingard went down in the box.

The margin of victory for England topped 3-0 wins over Poland and Paraguay in Mexico in 1986, and against Denmark in 2002. We said before the game, no more yellow cards. England have played relative minnows before and have never previously put up a score like the 6-1 seen on Sunday.

As Panama were totally dismantled, the failing was addressed and then some as a place in the last-16 stage was secured in quick-fire fashion.

The early goal by Kieran Trippier opened the floodgates for England. It was plain sailing from then on.

It has been a problem symptomatic of England lately, that they are unable to exhibit their quality against teams that enjoy defending and absorbing pressure.

The fifth goal came shortly before half time, when a catalogue of fouls in the box could have earned England their second penalty.

Where past England teams might have wilted in warm temperatures, this one pressed with high-tempo intensity to ensure there was no need to scrape a victory like on Monday against Tunisia.

In a match far removed from the tense Tunisian encounter less than a week ago what have we learnt about Gareth Southgate's young lions ahead of the clash against Roberto Martinez's Belgium?

Southgate suggests Spurs ace Harry Kane is better than Cristiano Ronaldo
England face Belgium in the final Group G match on Thursday night (1am Friday, Thailand time). We can go into the Belgium game with confidence.

"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".

"We knew it was going to be tough and they started pretty well but we've been working on our set-pieces, we've been working on the way we want to play and it's all coming together". John Stones found the back of the net as early as the eighth minute with a attractive header from a corner kick.

While Kane was successfully netted yet another penalty strike in the goal post at the stoppage time of the first half and raising the score to five goals is to nil (5-0).

Tactically, there is nothing particularly revolutionary about the formation Southgate is using.

For England fans, the pain of being knocked out in the last 16 by Iceland in the 2016 European Championship and a first-round exit without a win at the 2014 World Cup, was finally slipping away. However, a fluke goal gave the Three Lions a bigger lead.

"To score my first goals for England was something special, especially at a World Cup", Stones said.

Los Canaleros tried to run through and reduce the deficit as England celebrated, but referee Ghead Grisha was having none of it - and they were soon further behind.

Against a team with more clinical finishing that could well become England's undoing.

After a group stage exit at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the humiliating defeat to Iceland at the 2016 European Championships, England supporters' optimism is growing for Russian Federation 2018. Maybe England is really, really good.

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