World Cup player watch: Exciting England ease to World Cup knockout stages
The latest in a daily look at what the players are up to in Russia sees England ease into the knockout stages after an emphatic victory over Panama.
There was much optimism heading into the second Group G match between England and Panama, but even the most passionate Three Lions fan could not have envisaged the dominant nature of their performance against the World Cup debutants.
England played well in their World Cup opener but needed a last-gasp goal from Harry Kane to edge past Tunisia, but Gareth Southgate’s side were well and truly on top in Nizhny Novgorod as they booked their place in the last 16 with a 6-1 win.
And the England players praised the togetherness that Southgate has brought ahead of their crucial clash with Belgium on Thursday, which will decide who will top Group G.
What a team performance, let’s continue to build on this ComeOn 🏴🏴!!! pic.twitter.com/BdmfSMVQZk— Raheem Sterling (@sterling7) June 24, 2018
England centre-back Harry Maguire was at the European Championships in France with England as a fan two years ago, however the Leicester man has started both matches in Russia but he has not been left out by his friends on another major championships journey.
2 years on... have a good trip lads 🏴🦁🦁🦁 pic.twitter.com/b0PzlsXiJY— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 24, 2018
Group G rivals Belgium also advanced to the knockout stages, despite having a day off following Saturday’s 5-2 victory against Tunisia, and the players celebrated their progression with the sights of Moscow.
Elsewhere, Cristiano Ronaldo posed with Portugal team-mate Ricardo Quaresma as they land in Saransk for their Group B clash with Iran on Monday evening.
Finally, reigning world champions Germany were seconds from a shock early exit before Toni Kroos scored a sublime 95th-minute winner to down Sweden and keep their title defence alive, and their players showed their relief on social media.