England vs Panama Preview

Panama can help England paper over the cracks

It’s a dangerous thing to say but England should be able to stroll to victory against a Panama side that is one of the weakest at this World Cup.

A last-gasp Harry Kane goal against a distinctly average Tunisia team on Monday has raised expectations amongst England fans and a routine win against Hernan Dario Gomez’s robust outfit will likely see them reach stratospheric levels.

England to beat Panama 2-0 @ 5.05

However, Gareth Southgate’s side seem incapable of stringing together two good halves of football – last month’s warm -up match against Nigeria was very similar to the Tunisia game with a blistering opening period being followed by a lack-lustre second-half showing.

This inconsistency seems certain to catch up with England when they come up against a quality side, but Los Canaleros certainly aren’t that and they seem content simply to be in Russia and competing in their first World Cup finals.

Panama looked set to suffer a very heavy defeat when Belgium swarmed forward from the first whistle in their opening Group G fixture in Sochi but they survived until half time, only to tire after the interval when they conceded three second-half goals.

Rashford to score at any time @ 4.75

England will be keen to finish Panama off as quickly as possible and conserve their energy levels for stiffer tests later in the tournament. It is easy to see them building up a two-goal lead by half time before easing off in the second half.

Marcus Rashford played a key role off the bench for Gareth Southgate’s men against Tunisia when he replaced Raheem Sterling in the second period and he was also superb in the warm-up win against Costa Rica. The Manchester United man has the ability to be a star of this World Cup, if Southgate decides to use him.

England to be eliminated at the last-16 stage @ 2.80

With many of the top teams struggling in Russia, it is possible to chart a path for England to reach the latter stages of the tournament although it is of course easy to get carried away.

If pessimism takes hold it is probably a good time to have a punt on England getting eliminated from the tournament at the first knockout round stage.