England, with new team & confidence, give nation joy & optimism

England, with new team & confidence, give nation joy & optimism

England, with new team & confidence, give nation joy & optimism

Four years ago, England failed to win a match at the World Cup and was eliminated in the group stage.

Harry Kane scored a hat trick to move to the top of the Golden Boot race, while John Stones also found the net twice and Jesse Lingard curled in a spectacular strike as Gareth Southgate's men showed the clinical edge so lacking in their opening game against Tunisia. "England is totally spectacular, a lovely team", said coach Hernan Dario Gomez, who went into the English changing room at halftime to congratulate Southgate.

The Tottenham striker become only the third England player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup game after Geoff Hurst (1966) and Gary Lineker (1986). The last time that happened was in Germany's incredible 7-1 win over Brazil in the 2014 semi-final.

And backed by an England squad containing a combination of varying personalities, from the joker Lingard to the under-stated (at least off the pitch) captain Kane, Southgate is over-seeing a team the nation is learning to love again. If you want to achieve anything in life you have to believe. The slickness and complexity of some of the set-piece routines reinforced the sense that this is the best-prepared England tournament side in years.

Who will win today’s Costa Rica vs Serbia match?
Mitrović is taking part in his first ever World Cup and will be eager to open his account with a goal against Costa Rica . Costa Rica are looking a much better team going forward but they are yet to get the opener at the Samara Arena.

England top the group on fair play, meaning they only need a draw against Belgium to stay top, so long as they do not pick up more bookings in the final group game.

At this moment my thoughts are with the players who haven't played as much, but I have to consider everything before I decide upon my team.

If England draw against Belgium, who tops the table will come down to fair play records - and if that is level, lots would be drawn. Him and (Ruben) Loftus-Cheek have been great together and have a good understanding.

The performance against Panama certainly ensures that will continue as they go back to work in Zelenogorsk before their stiffest test of the World Cup so far.

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