It is England v Panama at 1pm today.
The match live on BBC TV thankfully, excellent coverage so far.
After a tedious few days in the media, as they attempted to defend publishing the revealing of notes in coach Steve Holland’s hand during an open training session, it is thankfully back to the football.
Knowing who England will or won’t play is arguably only marginal help to any opposition and as for Panama, well their tactics are surely not going to change whatever team Southgate picks.
They defended deep throughout the 3-0 defeat to Belgium and if England get an early lead as they did against Tunisia, surely they will comfortably put this one away, which would put them through to the knockout stages.
After the Tunisia match, BBC Sport revealed that England’s win was the most-watched television programme of 2018, attracting a peak television audience of 18.3 million on BBC 1.
This comfortably beat the recent royal wedding and at it’s peak, it represented almost 70% (69.2%) of the total TV audience (watching TV at the time).
On top of that, the BBC say that there were also a record three million requests to stream it on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website. That makes it the highest ever live audience for an online BBC programme.
This afternoon, it is predicted that those viewing figures will be smashed, with claims the live TV audience could be as high as twenty five million.
This is a World Cup that looks really open and that first 25 minutes against Tunisia was some of the best play seen so far, just maybe England could go quite far if they carry their luck.
Here’s hoping….(plus that might take my mind off the fact that it is only eight days until Newcastle United are back for pre-season!).
Panama Manager Hernan Dario Gomez:
“The (Panama) line-up will be exactly the same.
“I liked how my team worked against Belgium.
“The team that starts the match is the one with the most experience, that’s one of our assets.
“As a starting eleven we are very organised and tactical.
“England are going to be our hardest match by far.
“They don’t have a lot of individual stars like Belgium with Hazard, but they work well as a team, especially on ball recovery.
“We could lose 3-0 again, or even worse, but mathematically we still have the possibility to progress.
“I told my players today that they can still qualify.”
England v Panama Match Betting:
All England v Panama betting HERE