Yesterday saw England’s biggest win ever in a major tournament as they smashed Panama 6-1 to qualify for the knockout stages.
“It’s coming home, it’s coming home” – will the nation be chanting those words in three weeks’ time?
Similar performances to the first-half showing by England against Panama will definitely get people believing.
Five goals in the first half alone is a first for England and the last time they scored four or more World Cup goals was that famous final in 1966.
Here MM look at the annihilation in Nizhny Novgorod in numbers…
25 – There were 25 uninterrupted passes played by England before their sixth goal, the longest sequence for a World Cup goal since 1966 and one more pass than Esteban Cambiasso’s goal for Argentina v Serbia in 2006 (24).
The most passes before a goal in the Premier League was in 2012 when Liverpool scored a goal against Bournemouth which had 51 passes before Raheem Sterling hit the back of the net.
Sterling hasn’t shown his best at this year’s World Cup and a fact that you may not want to hear as the Manchester City star has scored just two goals in 40 appearances for England.
With a negative statistic out of the way, let’s go back to the positives.
20 – England have named a unique starting XI in all 20 of Gareth Southgate’s matches in charge.
This must be England’s key to success as the opposition have no idea who they will be up against!
On a serious note, England have won all of their competitive matches since Southgate took over the side in 2016 and you can expect another unique side against Belgium on Thursday.
Southgate will want to allow other players time on the pitch and to rest those who have played in both of England’s group games so far.
8 – Only in 1966 (11) have England scored more goals in a single World Cup tournament than they have in 2018 (8 – also in 1954 and 1990).
Nobody would have thought that after just two games, England would have scored eight goals.
In 1954, England got to the quarter finals and in “Italia 90” they got to the semi-finals. This bodes well because England will surely get into double figures on goals and the only time that has happened was in 1966.
Southgate’s men have also scored the most goals in this tournament so far, equal with Russia.
3 – Captain Harry Kane is only the third England player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup match, after Geoff Hurst in the 1966 final, and Gary Lineker v Poland in 1986.
England have played 64 matches at the World Cup and scored 87 goals in that time, so it’s remarkable that in England’s 68-year World Cup history only three players have scored a hat-trick.
Kane himself has now scored in every single England game that he has been the captain for is another good omen for the rest of the tournament.
The Tottenham player has now matched the great Lionel Messi on World Cup goals in 15 fewer games and is the first player to score at least twice in his first two World Cup appearances since Poland’s Grzegorz Lato in 1974, who went on to win the Golden Boot at that tournament.
2 – John Stones became the second Man City player to score for England at the World Cup, the first since Trevor Francis in 1982.
Amazingly, it was Stones who scored two goals yesterday for England. The centre-half used his head brilliantly to not only score but to defend very well against an aggressive Panama side.
He also played a key role to help England in possession and on set-pieces, even when he didn’t score.
After a frantic first half many people were wondering if England could win by the biggest margin at a World Cup.
Nine is the biggest winning margin which has happened on three occasions.
In 1982, Hungary beat El Salvador 10-1; in 1974 Yugoslavia beat Congo 9-0 and in 1954, Hungary beat South Korea 9-0 as well.
The most goals in a game is 12, when a quarter final between Austria and Switzerland in 1954 finished 7-5. So England weren’t THAT good yesterday!
Image courtesy of England via Twitter, with thanks.