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July 11, 2018

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ENGLAND have always choked on the big stage when it really mattered. In 2010, they were ousted by Germany in the round-of-16, and four years ago in Brazil they exited in the group stage.

This time around, however, their team is different.

Gareth Southgate has put together a bunch of passionate youngsters who are hungry for glory with star striker Harry Kane at the helm. England started in Group ‘G’ with a 2-1 win over Tunisia followed by a cosy 6-1 rout of Panama which saw Kane score a hat-trick as he became the third Englishman to score three goals at the World Cup finals and lead the golden boot race.

Since making his senior debut in 2015, the 24-year-old has gone on to score 19 goals in 28 games. No doubt Kane is England’s talisman and key player. The prolific three lions man is a forward who can score all types of goals with both feet, and can surprise the opposition with precise headers.

He has consistently found the net for club and the country since bursting onto the Spurs first team in the 2014-15 campaign, winning the English Premier League Golden Boot in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

That England are very much reliant on Kane is a massive understatement. The HurriKane, as he is nicknamed, will surely be looking to carry that influence into the semi-final when England face Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow tonight.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2018