A big deal is often made about England’s prospects at major tournaments, usually because they’ve got decent squads made up from some of the biggest clubs in the world. Unfortunately, they tend to underperform at World Cups, but their recent result against Panama might have turned some doubters into believers.
Not only did this result have the most goals an English team has scored at a World Cup tournament since 1966 (not a coincidence that they won it that year), but 6 goals is also the highest number scored so far by a single team in this year’s tournament.
While their opposition was weaker, England will take some confidence from the quality of a few of their goals – and also that their talisman striker Harry Kane buried two penalties. England have always have a tricky time with penalties at major tournaments, so getting some practice in this early isn’t a bad thing.
It’s clear that England has put a huge emphasis on their set-pieces, with another goal coming from a pin-point corner kick, another from a precisely-executed free-kick move, and two from the aforementioned penalties. Game-changing opportunities in World Cup matches often come from set-piece chances (just look at Germany’s late-winner against Sweden), so for England to be fine-tuning their planned attacks, it’ll bode well for them heading into the knockout stage of the tournament.
Their final game is against an in-form Belgium side, where the victor will top the group and likely avoid a tougher opponent in the round of 16. Will England keep their positive form going, or will Belgium bring them crashing back down to earth? Not if Harry Kane has anything to say about it!