Harry Kane struck a hat-trick as England’s young and free-flowing team banished the ghost of past failures with a record 6-1 thrashing of feeble Panama on Sunday that eased them into the last 16.
England’s biggest ever World Cup win, featuring two penalties by Kane then a fortuitous deflection off his heel, also guaranteed Belgium’s berth in the next round. It was a humbling experience for Panama against a side known to get nervous and slip up against less illustrious rivals on the big stage.
Midfielder Keisuke Honda came off the bench to salvage a 2-2 draw for Japan against Senegal, as both teams were locked at the top of Group H folksinging an entertaining encounter on Sunday.
Veteran Honda, who became the first Japanese player to score in three different World Cups, replaced Shinji Kagawa in the second half with his team down 2-1 and fired the equalizer in 12 minutes from time after an error by Senegalese goalkeeper Khadim N’Diaye.
The result leaves both teams, along with Colombia, on four points from two games and within reach of a spot in the last 16.
After a disastrous start against Japan last week, Colombia got exactly what it needed against Poland on Sunday, a big win led by its talented offensive trio of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado.
The result put Colombia back on track to make it to the group, though they are still in third behind Japan and Senegal after their draw earlier on Sunday. Poland’s World Cup will end after the group stage, as two losses means it has no hopes of advancing.