Kane’s hat trick lifts England to round of 16
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia — With two penalties and an accidental deflection, Harry Kane moved ahead of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo and put England into the round of 16 at the World Cup.
Kane scored half of England’s goals Sunday in a 6-1 rout of Panama, the national team’s largest-ever margin of victory at the World Cup.
“The third one is probably one of the luckiest ones of my career,” said Kane, who took the game ball to the locker room. “Sometimes you go through spells where you are scoring and sometimes it doesn’t fall for you.
“Not many players get to score a hat trick in a World Cup.”
Kane has scored a tournament-leading five goals at the World Cup in Russia, one more than Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku. He also has 18 for England’s national team, one more than Beckham.
Not since the 4-2 victory over Germany in the 1966 final has England scored as many goals at the World Cup.
The ruthlessness of the display in the sweltering heat of Nizhny Novgorod showed just how far England has been transformed in the four years since an older, more experienced squad couldn’t even manage a win when it exited the World Cup in the group stage.
In 2014, England complained about the heat in Brazil — particularly the humidity of the Amazonian jungle in the team’s opening loss to Italy.
Kane scored two in the opening 2-1 victory over Tunisia, including a header in injury time.
“The other day we had to go right to the wire and show qualities that were going to be extremely important,” England coach Gareth Southgate said. “The only downside was the goal at the end because we talked at halftime about the importance of controlling the group with our goal difference. We missed out on that opportunity but it would be harsh to criticize the players after a day like that, in the heat as well, so we must enjoy the win.”
Now England is sure of a spot in the round of 16 with a game to spare in Group G. Panama, which offered little resistance, is leaving the tournament early after being eliminated along with Tunisia.
Sterner tests await, starting with the Thursday’s game against Belgium. England and Belgium are level on points and goal difference and will play for first place in the group.
England showed it wasn’t only reliant on Kane, who couldn’t find the net at the 2016 European Championship. John Stones headed in two goals and Jesse Lingard curled in another.
In Russia, England has been trying to cast aside the negativity of the past while remolding the image of the team on and off the field. Even locals were supporting the team in Nizhny Novgorod, despite the bitter diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain.
The egos who dominated in England’s celebrity-obsessed, underperforming Golden Generation in the first decade of century have gone. The joy and togetherness in the squad — the second-youngest in Russia — becomes clear in the goal celebrations.
Where past England teams might have wilted in warm temperatures, this one pressed with high-tempo intensity to ensure there was no need to scrape a victory like on Monday against Tunisia.
England picked up where it left off in Volgograd, with a corner from Kieran Trippier headed into the net in the eighth minute. It wasn’t Kane on the end this time but Stones, who was left unmarked to score his first international goal.
Kane didn’t have to wait long to add to his tally, converting from the penalty spot in the 22nd after Lingard was brought down by Fidel Escobar.
Japan, Senegal draw
YEKATERINBURG, Russia — Senegal twice took the lead. Japan tied it up both times.
Keisuke Honda came off the bench and scored from close range in the 78th minute to give the Japanese a 2-2 draw with Senegal at the World Cup.
The draw keeps the two teams at the top of Group H ahead of their final matches.
Sadio Mane gave Senegal the lead in the 11th minute, deflecting the ball into the net for his first World Cup goal, but Takashi Inui equalized with a well-placed shot from inside the area in the 34th.
Moussa Wague restored Senegal’s lead in the 71st minute. Honda came on the field a minute later and evened the score.
In their final group games on Thursday, Senegal will face Colombia in Samara while Japan plays Poland in Volgograd.
KAZAN, Russia — Radamel Falcao’s first World Cup goal led Colombia to a 3-0 victory over Poland and kept the team in the running for a spot in the knockout round.
Poland was eliminated.
Falcao, who missed the 2014 World Cup because of a knee injury, made it 2-0 with a 70th-minute goal.
Yerry Mina scored in the 40th and Juan Cuadrado completed the win in the 75th.
Both teams lost Group H openers and knew another loss would end their hopes of advancing.
Senegal and Japan drew 2-2 in the other group match and lead with four points each.