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England look to make it sweet 16

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: John Stones, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling will be bidding to help England to more World Cup success against Panama

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: John Stones, Kyle Walker and Raheem Sterling will be bidding to help England to more World Cup success against Panama

The nation’s eyes will focused on England this lunchtime as Gareth Southgate’s men bid to seal their place in the last 16 of the World Cup when they tackle Panama.

An opening 2-1 win over Tunisia in Group G got the Three Lions off to the perfect start in Russia with City trio Kyle Walker, John Stones and Raheem Sterling all being part of the starting eleven.

The indications are all three will get the nod again this afternoon in Nizhny Novgorod where the match kicks at 3pm local time (1pm UK) in what are expected to be sweltering conditions.

With Belgium, including Kevin De Bruyne, beating Tunisia 5-2 in their second group game yesterday, another England win would set up a fascinating opening stage finale next week between Southgate’s men and the Red Devils with the prize at stake being confirmed as group winners.

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Elsewhere in Russia today, the second stage of group games wraps up with a double-header in Group H.

First up at 4pm in Yekaterinburg, Japan lock horns with Senegal at 4pm with both sides having won their opening games.

Then at 7pm in Kazan, Colombia and Poland will bid to get their World Cup campaigns up and running after defeats first time out.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s headlines were dominated by holders Germany who secured a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden to maintain their hopes of defending the crown they won in Brazil four years ago.

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A first-half goal from Ola Toivonen had left Joachim Low’s side facing the prospect of being eliminated from the tournament.

But the Germans, who brought on City’s Ilkay Gundogan as a first-half substitute, levelled through Marco Reus and then overcame the handicap of seeing ex-City defender Jerome Boateng sent-off to secure a stunning win in the 95th minute through Toni Kroos’s brilliant free-kick.

Earlier in Group F, Mexico maintained their superb start to the World Cup with a 2-1 win over South Korea. Javier Hernandez netted his 50th international goal for his country after Carlo Vela’s penalty had given Mexico a first-half lead.

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Tottenham striker Son Heung-min’s stunning late strike then proved a mere consolation for South Korea.

Saturday’s other game saw Belgium overpower Tunisia 5-2 with Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku both bagging a brace of goals and City’s Kevin De Bruyne produce another assured midfield display. 

Saturday’s results

Group F

Mexico 2-1 South Korea

Germany 2-1 Sweden

Group G

Belgium 5-2 Tunisia

Sunday’s fixtures

Group G

England v Panama (1pm BBC)

Group H

Senegal v Japan (4pm BBC)

Colombia v Poland (7pm ITV)





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