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England's football team banished the ghost of past national failures with a record 6-1 thrashing of Panama at the FIFA World Cup that included a hat-trick by Harry Kane and eased them into the last 16.

It was the first time in England's history they have managed five goals in a first half and Kane became the first England player to score a World Cup hat-trick since Gary Lineker in 1986.

The in-form Tottenham striker bagged his third after a 61st-minute shot by Ruben Loftus-Cheek hit his foot and bounced over despairing Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo.

Kane's three goals included two penalties and a deflection he knew little about - and called "one of the luckiest of my career" - as England secured a spot in the knockout stage and joined Belgium on six points atop Group G.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku were joint level with four strikes at the beginning of Sunday, however Kane's haul has moved his tally for the tournament to five. "We wouldn't swap him for anyone in the tournament in terms of number nines".

"It could have been a tough game but we started well".

Playing from the off with an ease and trickery that contrasted with the stressed-looking England flops of recent worldwide tournaments, Gareth Southgate's team romped into a remarkable 5-0 lead at half-time.

"We've got to make sure that the players who haven't played as big a part feel valued", he said.

"A ball to be proud of", Kane said of his third goal.

Things finally appear to be looking up for an England side who were humiliated by Iceland at Euro 2016 and eliminated with a game to spare at the 2014 World Cup.

They will then go on to the quarter-finals, where they will play either the runner-up or victor of Group H, depending on where they finish.

"And John Stones is such a threat from set-pieces so we're delighted he's got two goals and he'll be buzzing about that".

"I was pleased the captain got his hat-trick because it meant he had the hump less when I brought him off!" quipped Southgate. If you want to achieve anything in life you have to believe.

"I think it's important to keep momentum going and we'll do everything we can to prepare right for the next game and recover well".