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England looking to continue their winning start in Group G

Last updated: June 22, 2018 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 13:00pm
Venue: Novgorod Stadium
Coverage: BBC One
Home Team Form: WWWDW
Away Team Form: LLDWL
Last Meeting: n/a
Competition: FIFA World Cup

Following the explosive start by England in their opening match against Tunisia, the commentators dared to utter the words “this is the best performance by any team so far”. Little more than 5 minutes later Kyle Walker’s flailing arm caused the VAR to suggest a penalty for Tunisia. After Sassi pulled level for Tunisia in minute 35, the dynamic of the game immediately changed. England began stressfully rushing the ball forward, the balance and composure had evaporated. A last gasp opportunity neatly converted by Harry Kane allowed England to retain their pride, but things could have been a lot different. Gareth Southgate will be looking for his team to execute on Sunday afternoon against Panama, with no doubt from minute 0 to 90 who is in control of the game.

The media has seemed to change its approach in the build up to this tournament. Offering the players, a chance to give their side of the story and offer some interesting opinions without the impending judgement that usually arises from these situations. The aftermath of the games has been a refreshing change from the squad being berated for every small mistake and decision they make on the pitch. The opening 20 minutes of the Tunisia game were thrilling, I have never been more impressed with the creativity and purposeful attacking football the team were displaying. Yes, it was against a lower opposition, and yes, they couldn’t maintain this intensity. But how many upsets have we seen in this tournament already (Germany losing to Mexico, Brazil drawing to Switzerland), and VAR essentially proved unreliable as it attempted to derail England’s momentum in the match.

The playing field seems to be a lot more balanced in this world cup. Apart from Russia, and last night Croatia, it would be a fair assessment to say most of the games have been relatively even. Chances are falling to the most unlikely of teams and it is fuelling the excitement of the tournament. It is what makes the world cup such a special tournament, but England will be looking to force their quality upon Panama and dominate from the get-go. Leaving no chances for a lucky VAR decision or half chance in the penalty area spoil their ambitions of winning Group G.

Panama head into the game knowing they need to pick up points if they hope to survive this group, but with the strength of this England team and confidence coming off the back of a last game win it will be a huge ask. With Belgium comfortably seeing off this team 3-0, it will be an interesting comparison to see how the two games pan out, and if England can outscore the main rivals in Group G.

Team News

Dele Alli suffered a thigh strain and will most likely be unavailable.

Kane will look to extend his goal scoring mentality in his pursuit of the golden boot, he is currently on 2.

Panama will be with a completely full-fit squad.

Gareth Southgate injured himself in training, dislocating his shoulder, but remains able to fulfill his duty as manager.

Expected Line-Ups:

England (3-4-3): Pickford, Cahill, Maguire, Trippier, Walker, Young, Henderson, Lingard, Alli, Sterling, Kane
Subs: Butland, Rose, Jones, Alexander-Arnold, Dier, Stones, Rashford
Not available:
Tunisia (4-5-1): Penedo, Davis, Escobar, Torres, Murillo, Gomez, Rodriguez, Godoy, Cooper, Barcenas, Perez
Subs: Torres, Diaz, Tejada, Cummings, Calderon, Machado, Ovalle
Not available:

Head to Head

This is the first meeting between england and panama

Conclusion & Betting Tips

The game looks set to be a thumping from England, Panama will be chasing shadows at the back and goals will be on the agenda of England. Take England -2 at 3.0 (2/1) at William Hill.