England play Panama on June 24 in Nizhny Novgorod in their second group stage match of the World Cup 2018. The English will go into the fixture having already played Tunisia. It could turn out to be a vital match for the English depending on their result on matchday 1.
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Panama will be playing in their first ever World Cup in Russia after a dramatic qualifying campaign in CONCACAF. The Central Americans will be hungry for success against England, and after playing Belgium on match day 1, Panama will need points to get through the group.
England v Panama match winner predictions
Our bet: England (Odds: 1/5*)
This is a fixture of David versus Goliath. Panama will be playing the part of David, but it is unlikely the minnows of international football can slay the larger England. Panama have never made a World Cup previously and the squad’s experience at this level is minimal. The club’s top player, centre-back Roman Torres, plays his club football in Major League Soccer. Six other players play in MLS. Just five players in Hernan Dario Gomez’s team play in Europe. One of those European players is Jamie Penedo, who plays for Dinamo Bucuresti. He has played 130 times for the national team.
Panama’s lack of stars will help the more powerful English overcome the Central Americans. The quality England have in attack is far superior to what Panama have on the pitch. Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy should be too much for Torres and the rest of the team’s defence. Vardy in particular has the pace to get beyond Panama’s defenders. He should set up chances and stretch Panama’s in the final third.
Other Betting previews
Who will score during the game (Odds: not known yet*)
Our bet: Delle Alli
Dele Alli has a real opportunity to step onto the world stage and succeed. The midfielder is a star in England for Tottenham. However, this summer, he can become a star around the globe. Alli will be able to find space and pick his passes against Panama. He will also be able to shoot from distance when he has an opening.
England’s pace, if Southgate deploys Vardy, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling against Panama, should destroy the Central Americans. The team’s pace would give Alli even more space in the midfield and arriving into the box to tap in a cross will get the Spurs’ man on the score sheet.
Number of goals (Odds: 3/1*)
Our bet: 3
England will get a clean sheet from this fixture while putting up three goals against Panama. A heavy scoreline in England’s favour could swing the group, if Southgate’s side and Belgium finish level on points.
Panama lacks stars and the nation has the longest odds to win the World Cup (1000/1). England shouldn’t have difficulty getting through the team’s midfield and defense to score three goals.
Our bet: more than 3.5
England may need a superior goal difference to top Group G. If England and Belgium win their first two group games and draw the match between them on matchday 3, Southgate’s team will need a better goals record. The English should go out and attack Panama and get as many goals as possible.
This prediction may evolve following first results of the English squad. Always check latest odds. Odds may vary.
*All the odds mentioned in this article are correct or unavailable at the moment of publication.