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If Thursday night’s performance is anything to go by, England can expect a bruising World Cup encounter with Panama.

The minnows, who will be making their debut at the finals this summer, battered the Danish side right from the first minute, seemingly reluctant to partake in much of the beautiful game themselves.

It eventually culminated in a red card for centre-forward Blas Perez, meaning any of the scouts Gareth Southgate will have sent would return back to warn the players of a tough test.

The Three Lions meet the Panamanians in the second of their three Group G games at the tournament this summer, on June 24 at the Nizhy Novgorod Stadium.

Denmark fielded a strong side in Copenhagen, including Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen, and initially found it difficult to deal with the aggressive 3-4-3 style boss Hernan Dario Gomez utilised for his side.

On a bobbly pitch, and with lots of niggly Panamanian fouls, the game was slow and suited to the nature of the visitors.

Pione Sisto was the danger man for the hosts, but was limited to scraps in a scruffy first half.

Although Sisto did net the winner 20 minutes from time, Panama would have felt proud to have left the Brondby Stadion with their dignity intact.

How the Panama side lined up on Thursday night

HOW CAN ENGLAND BEAT PANAMA?

They have to move the ball quickly in order to unlock the Panamanian backline. If Gomez’s tactics tonight are anything to go by, it is likely Panama will be nasty and use the wings as much as possible. As mentioned above, the bobbly pitch stopped the Danish attacks, and meant Panama were never stretched. England must move the ball with pace and exploit the gaps behind the full backs who bomb on so bravely.

WHO ARE THE DANGER MEN FOR PANAMA?

As mentioned above, Panama used the pace of their wide men to try and get in behind the Danish defence. Eric Davis, the left-wing-back, was a constant threat down the flank and forced a clearance form Mathias Jorgensen early on. Jaime Penedo, the goalkeeper, is probably going to be the busiest member of the Panama squad in Russia. If he plays well, he could really frustrate England.


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