During their 6-1 thrashing at the hands of England overnight, Panama came up with a crafty tactic to hit back.
In a moment that was missed by all but a small few on Twitter, a Panama player was seen snatching the ball after one of Harry Kane’s two successful penalties.
As the whole Three Lions team rushed to the end of the field to celebrate with their captain, the sneaky Panama player can been seen rushing back to halfway with the ball in hand, clearly intent on getting the game back underway.
In one of the most audacious acts of the 2018 World Cup, the player can then be seen kicking off, despite every England player being behind the byline still celebrating.
Unsurprisingly the referee was quick to foil Panama’s plan, much to the displeasure of the desperate players, who argued the play was all above board.
Each kick-off in football has to be taken after the referee has blown their whistle to restart play.
It is understood the referee has complete discretion as to when a kick-off is ready to be taken, often depending on the readiness of the defending team.
Either way, Panama’s effort has to admired, considering their backs were well and truly against the wall against the rampaging England side.
Kane took the plaudits after a hat-trick in England’s record 6-1 demolition of Panama but the bizarre goal that sealed his special milestone was mired in controversy.
England backed up their opening 2-1 win against Tunisia with an attacking masterclass against the hapless Panamanians as Kane made it five goals in two matches and England sealed their place in the knockout stages.
However, it was Three Lions’ skipper’s bizarre third goal that proved one of the post-match talking points, with Kane offside and completely unaware he was about to deflect Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot into Panama’s net.
Can't believe that counted. Kane was offside. But hey I'll take it. #ENGPAN
— Jurgensglasses (@Bennett15Db) June 24, 2018
Yeah I thought it was defo offside, was a bit weird that it stood.
— JustForBets (@JustForBets2) June 24, 2018
Was offside, but you know.. football’s coming home so give the goal 🤷🏻♂️
— Adam (@adam__dillon) June 24, 2018
Other fans suggested that the VAR must have been preoccupied after failing to pick up on Kane’s obvious offside.
Commentators: "The VAR team are checking if Harry Kane is off side"
VAR team: pic.twitter.com/iXvxNoaa9S
— Ryan De Haber (@Itshaber) June 24, 2018
Admittedly, the damage had already been done by the time Kane added his third and England’s sixth early in the second half.
Two penalties from Kane, a John Stones double and Jesse Lingard’s wonder strike saw Gareth Southgate’s team take an insurmountable and record-breaking 5-0 lead before half-time.
Harry Kane was England’s hat-trick hero against Panama. Pic: Getty
Kane completed his hat-trick shortly after the hour mark to go top of the tournament’s goal chart and make Felipe Baloy’s late consolation nothing to worry about as the Three Lions eased into the last 16.
It is the first time England have scored more than three goals in a single match on the big stage since they won the World Cup in 1966 and is their biggest win since they beat Denmark 3-0 in 2002.