England v Panama Preview, Stats and Betting Tips, Saturday 24 June, Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Kick off: 13:00
It’s never easy supporting England at the World Cup. Gareth Southgate’s team got off to a flyer by taking the lead against Tunisia on the 11 minute mark. But then it started to go wrong as Tunisia levelled up from the penalty spot and England repeatedly fluffed their lines in front of goal.
Thankfully, the Three Lions kept on going and Harry Kane popped up with his second goal to secure the three points. Panama are up next for England in a match that they are heavy odds on favourites to win.
England v Panama Betting Tips
England v Panama Preview
The reaction to England’s win over Tunisia was decidedly mixed. Optimists pointed to the number of times that England broke through their opponents’ stubborn defence and the battling spirit that was required to snatch the win late on. Pessimists were unhappy with the second half performance and some of the less than convincing play in defence.
Southgate was very much taking the positives when talking to the media and it is thought he will play largely the same team against Panama before the tougher test of Belgium and (hopefully) the knockout stages. That means another attack-minded midfield, lots of pace and centre backs tasked with bringing the ball out of defence.
If anything, Panama will be even more defensively minded than Tunisia were. Hernan Dario Gomez was happy with the way that his players stuck to their task in the first half against Belgium but worries about their second half collapse should see Panama retreat even deeper against England.
This will be a challenge of mentality, of patience and of creativity for England but it’s one the bookies are expecting them to pass as they are as short as 2/13 in places.
Relevant Stats, Injuries and Suspensions
This is Panama’s first campaign in the World Cup finals and also their first meeting with England. Fortunately for the Panamanians they have little in the way of injury concerns so should be able to put out their strongest team in Nizhny Novgorod. Dele Alli is the big injury concern for England. He wasn’t brought off at half time as it initially appeared but he may be rested to give the quad problem he suffered time to heal.
Five Panama players were booked against Belgium. If they employ similarly agricultural tactics in trying to stop England they’ll surely lose a player or two through suspension for their final match.
England v Panama Tips
If England are beaten by Panama it will go down as a bigger upset than their defeat at the hands of Iceland in Euro 2016. Still, there’s little point backing them at heavy odds on. Instead, try a bet on England with two goal handicap at 15/8 with Betfair as the Three Lions should have plenty of chances and will be keen to put distance between themselves and Panama as early as possible.
Alli’s injury could see Ruben Loftus-Cheek given a start and it should also ensure that Jesse Lingard keeps his place in central midfield. The Man Utd star missed a number of chances against Tunisia but will surely get more against Panama so looks a good bet to score at 7/5 with BetVictor.