England v Panama Betting Preview – 24/06/18

England v Panama Betting Preview – 24/06/18

England left it late against Tunisia

England’s World Cup campaign got off to a nervy start last Monday when they edged past Tunisia 2-1 thanks to an injury time winner from Harry Kane. After a bright start at the Volgograd Arena, where Gareth Southgate’s men completely ambushed the Tunisia goal and should have scored three goals within the first 5 minutes, Tottenham front man Harry Kane broke the deadlock on the 11th minute when he tapped home from an Ashley Young corner. A dubious penalty just 10 minutes before the break then allowed Tunisia a route back into the match, but despite some resilient defending from the North African side in the second half, it ultimately wasn’t enough as Kane got his second of the game and clinched a vital first win for the Three Lions right at the death.

There were plenty of positives to take from Monday night’s game, England looked confident on the ball and were constantly looking to attack their opponents. In the past we’ve seen England sides approach tournament openers in a much more conservative, ‘safer’ manner due to being overly conscious of losing their first game, but not this time. It was extremely refreshing to see an England side who were positive with their possession, willing to try new things in order to penetrate a frustratingly strong defensive line.

Chances need to be taken

If England can come out of the blocks as quickly as they did against Tunisia in this clash then there’s no doubting they’ll be too strong for Panama here. One thing that does need to be refined however is their composure in front of goal; too many times England fluffed their lines when presented with gilt-edged chances on Monday evening and it’s simply not good enough if they’re going to progress through to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2002. Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard & John Stones were all guilty of surpassing clear goalscoring opportunities against a sloppy Tunisia side. England got away with this due to the strength of the opposition, however there’s no doubting that they’ll be punished heavily against the stronger sides in this competition when they go up against them in the knockout stages of the tournament.

England were let off against Tunisia after squandering chances early on.

Sterling for Rashford?

It’s reported that Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling will be dropped for this game, with Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford replacing him alongside Harry Kane up front. Sterling, who has enjoyed a fantastic season at club level has never really reached his full potential in an England shirt, and on Monday disappointed when presented with a perfect opportunity to give England a 1-0 lead in the third minute. There is absolutely no doubting Sterling’s talent, he’s one of England’s key attacking threats however when Rashford was introduced late on against Tunisia, he really made a difference. Rashford plays without fear in an England shirt, he’ll attack Panama from the off should he start on Sunday and when he’s on form there’s simply no stopping the United attacker.

Elsewhere on the field, Dele Alli could make way for Ruben Loftus-Cheek after the Spurs midfielder picked up a thigh strain in training. Alli was another player who was largely ineffective in Monday’s narrow win, and when Loftus-Cheek was introduced late on in the second half he looked extremely sharp and caused all sorts of problems for Tunisia breaking forward. Panama are by far the groups weakest group so a win here for England seems a certainty. Harry Kane is the obvious threat going forward, he’ll be full of confidence following his brace on Monday so could be a good bet to open the scoring in this one. Marcus Rashford will be too much for Panama to handle should he line up alongside Kane, so to boost the odds we would suggest backing the 20-year-old to score anytime and an England win here.

England

Will Southgate opt to hand Rashford his first start in a World Cup?

Panama defeated 3-0 by a dominant Belgium side

Panama will be eliminated from the World Cup with a loss to England here, and there chances of a win aren’t looking likely after a meek performance against Belgium last week. After keeping out Roberto Martinez’ men for 45 minutes, they capitulated in the second half after Dries Mertens’ stunning volley opened the floodgates for the ‘Red Devils’. A brace from Romelu Lukaku then boxed off a comfortable win for Belgium, leaving Panama rock bottom of Group G heading into this weekends challenging tie with England.

Panama still have a slight chance of qualifying for the knockout stages should they get at least a point in this match, beat Tunisia in their final group game and England lose to Belgium on Thursday night. The chances of all that happening are ridiculously slim, however they’ll definitely be using it as motivation in this Sunday’s game in the hope that it can give the minnows a boost against the Three Lions. With one slender 1-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago acting as Panama’s only victory since November, the chances of a win here for the Central American’s is looking hugely unlikely. They take absolutely no momentum into this clash with England, so backing an England win to nil here would be our suggestion.

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England to win-to-nil (4/6 with Coral) – BET HERE

England to win & Marcus Rashford to score anytime (6/4 with Bet365) – BET HERE