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WORLD CUP

Kane hat-trick as England thrash Panama 6-1

Martin Bernetti, AFP | England's forward Harry Kane celebrates after scoring a penalty during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between England and Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24, 2018.

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as England marched into the last 16 of the World Cup with a record 6-1 win over a woeful Panama in their World Cup Group G match on Sunday.

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The result, a record win for England in a World Cup finals match, means England qualify for the knockout stage with a game to spare, along with Belgium who also have six points. Tournament debutants Panama are eliminated along with Tunisia.

England were 5-0 up at halftime after taking full advantage of a poor Panamanian defence. A header from a corner by John Stones, a penalty from Kane and a beautiful strike from the edge of the box by Jesse Lingard set them on their way.

>> Read more: Can England overcome 50 years of World Cup disappointment in Russia?

A Stones header from a well-worked free-kick routine and a second Kane penalty gave them a 5-0 lead going into the break.

The England captain, now the tournament's top scorer with five goals, completed his hat-trick when a shot from Ruben Loftus-Cheek deflected in off the Tottenham forward in the 62nd minute.

Kane became just the third England player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup game following Geoff Hurst in the 1966 final and Gary Lineker against Poland in the 1986 tournament.

Panama pulled a goal back in the 78th minute through Felipe Baloy -- the Central American nation's first goal at a World Cup.

(REUTERS)

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