Panama face the hurricane that is Harry Kane

Panama face the hurricane that is Harry Kane

England's Harry Kane celebrates scoring their second goal. Reuters

England’s young and free-flowing team banished the ghost of past national failures with a record 6-1 thrashing of feeble Panama on Sunday that included a hat-trick by Harry Kane and eased them into the last 16.

England’s biggest-ever World Cup win, featuring two penalties by Kane, then a fortuitous deflection off his heel, also guaranteed Belgium’s berth in the next round from Group G.

“Not many players score a hat-trick at a World Cup, so I’m proud of it. We had fun out there too,” said Kane calling his third “one of the luckiest goals of my life.”

Ahead of their meeting on Thursday to decide who tops Group G, England and Belgium are level on points, goal difference and goals scored.

Sunday’s game at a pulsating Nizhny Novgorod stadium left the shell-shocked Central Americans out of their debut tournament with nine goals conceded. It also eliminated Tunisia.

On Saturday, defending champions Germany stayed alive in the tournament, pulling off a last-gasp 2-1 win over Sweden.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, Japan twice pegged back Senegal in a thrilling 2-2 draw that leaves World Cup Group H wide open.