News Live Scores
World Cup

England's work 'all coming together' in stunning World Cup start, says Kane

7:48 PM GMT+4 24/06/2018
Harry Kane_cropped
The Three Lions' 6-1 rout of Panama shows how their hard work in training is starting to pay off, according to the hat-trick hero and captain

Harry Kane believes England are reaping the benefits of their hard work at the World Cup after they booked their place in the knockout stages in style on Sunday.

Captain Kane scored a hat-trick as Gareth Southgate's side made it two wins from two in Group G courtesy of a 6-1 thrashing of Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

John Stones scored twice with his head while Jesse Lingard produced a fine curling finish as England eased into a 5-0 lead by half-time.

Kane - who completed his treble in rather fortunate fashion in the second half, inadvertently deflecting a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot into the net - says the squad are more than happy with their start.

"I am so, so proud of the boys," he told BBC Sport. "We are just enjoying it - enjoying being here.

"They started pretty well, but we've been working on set-pieces, working on the way we want to play, and it's all coming together.

"It's a brilliant result and it's obviously fantastic to be through."

The resounding nature of the victory, coming after an injury-time winner against Tunisia in their opener, will raise expectation levels back in England.

The nation have not won the World Cup since 1966 and while he acknowledges there is still a long way to go before they end their wait to lift the trophy again, Kane sees no reason to be pessimistic about their chances this year.

"I said before, you have to believe. To achieve anything in life you have to believe," the Tottenham striker - who came off immediately after completing his treble in the 62nd minute - said.

"There's a long way to go, a lot of hard work to do. We will stick together and keep to our game plan, that’s the most important thing."

England round out their group campaign with a fixture against fellow qualifiers Belgium on Thursday, with the winners certain to finish on top of the table.

"It's a bit disappointing to concede a goal [against Panama] at the end, but we've got to go into the game [with Belgium] believing we can win," Kane said ahead of the clash in Kaliningrad.

"It gives us a bit of a cushion, but it's going to be an attacking game as both teams are through, so let’s see what happens."