England vs Panama preview, betting tips and prediction

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Gareth Southgate will know a win could see England through…

England face Panama knowing that Harry Kane’s last minute goal against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday could prove absolutely vital to their chances of an easy progression, ahead of their game with Belgium in Kaliningrad next week. If the Red Devils beat Tunisia, a win will be enough to see the Three Lions through to the next round of the tournament. In truth, they shouldn’t have many problems at all in Nizhny Novgorod, given Panama’s status as World Cup debutants. They looked organised and put a lot of effort in against a lacklustre Belgium team, but offered very little resistance when they finally stepped it up in the second half. It will be a physical game, but England will be comfortable enough if they start with the rhythm they did last time out.

It has been a rough week for Gareth Southgate personally; he dislocated his shoulder after a morning run. But he has a more or less fully fit squad for this game and may make some changes; Raheem Sterling failed to impress yet again in an England shirt, while Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek impressed with decent cameos and could be pushing to start. Jordan Henderson justified his selection in midfield ahead of Eric Dier and should continue there, while Danny Rose and Gary Cahill may replace Ashley Young and Harry Maguire. But wherever team Southgate picks should have no issues winning this game by clear goals.

Against Tunisia, chance creation was not a problem for England, but their finishing cost them dearly. Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli were particularly culpable, while only captain Harry Kane looked confident in front of goal, scoring twice. Backing him anytime will give no value at all, so our tip for this game is Lingard, at 13/8. He links up well with Alli and should find more space against Panama in front of the defence. The timing of his runs are excellent so he shouldn’t have too many problems.

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