Panama name unchanged line-up for 'hardest game by far'

24 June 2018, 01:33 | Kristine Mills

Raheem Sterling was replaced by Marcus Rashford during the 2-1 victory over Tunisia after a disappointing performance

Raheem Sterling

England take on Panama in a Group G match of Fifa World Cup 2018 at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday, June 24.

There are bigger challenges for the Three Lions, not least of all Belgium, who wait in the next match.

Football may viewed as the major sport in Panama this summer, yet they are more renowned for the three Bs - baseball, boxing and basketball. Despite a scintillating start against the African side, England were left frustrated in the second half by their opponents and the officials.

England head coach Gareth Southgate on the supposedly leaked team sheet: "There is a squad of 23 names on the sheet". It was like watching WWE's Kane rather than Tottenham's superstar, but the England Captain stepped up to score an injury time victor with a back-post header.

It's been an eventful week at England's Repino training base, with boss Gareth Southgate dislocating his shoulder during what he'd hoped was a record-breaking 10km run, while his teamsheet was then exposed by an intrusive long camera lens, a photgraph which the media spread like wildfire.

That does not dampen their spirits however.

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They are yet to make their mark on the world stage though and they struggled against Belgium in their opener, eventually succumbing to a 3-0 defeat.

Japan is an experienced team - the nation has qualified for the past six World Cups - that could be at full strength against Senegal. "They (England) don't have a lot of individual stars like Belgium". It will not be easy on the eye but it could be effective. The guys have to find stories, produce content, we have to get results, but it's a bit like when you go on holiday with your family - after you've been away a while, you're a bit sick of some people and less so of others. The 20-year-old offers a more direct option and he has scored three goals in 20 appearances for England, with the United forward starting just eight of those.

"Who England pick is not a concern for us".

Alli is likely to be replaced in the starting line-up by Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with Marcus Rashford or Raheem Sterling also expected to battle it out for a place in the starting line-up. There is little need for change apart from the issues highlighted.

Kieran Trippier was a key man for England against Tunisia, and expect the Tottenham wing-back to start on Sunday. His players seem fit though, so he'll just need to be cautious if England scores and he wants to celebrate.

A week that started with a last-gasp victor against Tunisia ends with a shot at reaching the knockout phase.



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