Alexi Lalas on England win: ‘Panama had no clue’ | 2018 FIFA World Cup™

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Alexi Lalas, Ian Wright and Kelly Smith discuss England’s hefty win over Panama.

- It was a rout, right? It wasn't even close, and it wasn't close for much of this game. So what do you guys really take out of this one?

- Well, they go off to a flyer. And that's the main thing. They were starting straight from the off. Scored early, which was great for confidence. And it was a good performance. I think now they can relax. They're through. Gareth Southgate can change it up and give other players experience coming into the World Cup.

And it's just a really pleasing performance. Yes, people on Twitter are bashing the English side, saying they haven't really played anyone yet. But you can only play what's in front of you. What can you do? You come up against Panama and you put six past them. Some teams might struggle to do that, but England didn't. They started on the front foot from the off, and it's very pleasing to be an English fan today.

- Yeah, you can only play what is in front of you. Absolutely. And they played a team that was on the day horrible. Panama had no clue as to how to mark on set pieces, no clue as to how they were actually going to go about. What they did have a clue, it was broken up by some wonderful play from England.

However, and I know you were mentioning the fact that there should be some perspective. And I think that they will have it. There were people running around that shall remain nameless in the studio acting like they'd won the World Cup. This is-- you know, act like you've been there before, all right?

In the same way that we were going crazy on Neymar for crying at a point where, why are you crying about this, don't waste it here. Don't waste it here, OK? It's going to be fine, you know? You did what you needed to do. It was a comprehensive performance.

- It's not wasted.

- And well done.

- It's not wasted. It's just-- you know, I'm just pleased to be here doing well.

COMMENTATOR: Enjoy it. I love this wasted theme, though, because I want to go back to the 40th minute and this cleverly designed set piece that clearly England had worked on. And my first reaction was, this is glorious. This is beautiful. But the second part was, why show it now?

COMMENTATOR: Because at the end of the day, people will see it. But what you want to do is you want to give people like Panama, who they can't even really defend properly in the first instance. So when you start throwing in things, look how many people are going to one man. Three of them there.

And then you look at the back post once Harry Kane-- he's totally free. So what you want to do with teams like that is you want to give them more things that's going to confuse them. If he'd put that straight in, they probably would have--

- They were already confused. It was 3-0.

- It's something that, you might as well use it if you've got it.

COMMENTATOR: You can say why did they reveal that now, but that puts it-- this set piece puts this in the mind of other teams now, knowing that England were working more on set pieces. So the other teams are going to be more aware. Harry Maguire won every ball in the first game. And he was a target this time. They didn't use Harry Maguire, they used John Stones. So they're mixing it up and making them hard to be judged.

- I think what else is good from an England standpoint is they are showing that these are going to happen, these set pieces. They have things that they're going to run. And the referee did a good job today. And I think it was a good visual for the entire tournament to recognize that this, you know, this bear-hug type of defense that maybe was OK years ago is not going to be tolerated anymore, especially with VAR going on. And even in this tournament, they didn't get all the calls.

You know, at times, people were draped all over Harry Kane. I thought it was disgraceful, actually, some of the defending from Panama today, not just missing the marks, but when they were one on one, I mean, it was just ridiculous in terms of tackling players to the ground. So going forward, other teams are going to have to respect that. But then, going forward, making sure the referees are vigilant in terms of keeping an eye on it. I think it's going to be really good and really positive for England going forward when those set pieces come around.

- And real quick on Panama, we've seen better from the Canal Men. This was not indicative of who they are and where they're going. But England on the day was absolutely flying against set pieces, set pieces, set pieces. England has just pounded their way through the group.