World Cup 2018: Great Fans, Golazos, More Goals & Fun, Wow! And, Then There’s England’s Harry Kane, Leading All Scorers
“He’s one of our own, He’s one of our own, Harry Kane, He’s one of our own…” — Harry Kane song
Don’t you just love World Cup 2018?!
Before England’s second group game versus Panama, who qualified ahead of team USA for this tournament, my pal Rolfe Jones and I were discussing tactics for England. Who should we bring in, or keep in, who needed to step up? Englishman Rolfe, who’s now based in LA, is a life-long Tottenham Hotspur fan and the co-founder of LA Spurs (along with Graeme Rudge), an official Tottenham supporters club. LA Spurs, who will be “hosting” the July 28 ICC match between Harry Kane’s Spurs and Lionel Messi’s Barcelona at the Rose Bowl, is one of the largest Premier league supporters club in America. San Diego Spurs will “host” the ICC match, Spurs vs Roma, on July 25 at SDCCU Stadium.
So, after finishing up tactics talk about England, Rolfe quipped, “Naturally, if Harry scores two or three them everything will come up roses.” Sure enough, England’s captain courageous, Harry Kane, scored three goals to lead England to victory, 6–1 over Panama. After the game, Kane enthused: “I’m extremely proud of the hat-trick, and proud of the lads, let’s keep it going.” Kane, who leads the Golden Boot race with five goals ahead of Ronaldo and Lukaku with four each, was called “irreplaceable” by England Manager, Gareth Southgate, who explained: “We wouldn’t swap him for anyone in the tournament in terms of No 9s because you know that, when he gets opportunities, he’ll bury them. Just as important is the way he presses, holds the ball up, contributes to the overall game, and sacrifices himself for the team.”
And, venerated journalist/author Norman Giller, who had the pleasure of covering England’s World Cup victory in 1966 when captain Bobby Moore hoisted in the trophy wearing a red jersey, contributes his thoughts on Kane and England’s present World Cup adventure at Spurs Odyssey:
“Arise, Sir Harry: Where on earth is Harry Kane going to take us on his incredible footballing adventure? We are all on board with him and thoroughly enjoying the ride. (Drive on, Aitch!) Just to put his performances into some sort of perspective, he has scored 89 goals and had 12 assists in his last 91 games for club and country. That is a phenomenal strike rate. We have seen nothing like it from an England (and Tottenham) player since the goal-gorged days of the little master, Jimmy Greaves. I feel privileged to have watched both of them on their journey into the land of legend, and there is still much more to come from Our Harry. He has so far scored 18 goals in 26 England appearances. Where will it end? He is just 24 and approaching his peak!
“And just to remind you, he has recently signed a new six-year contract with Tottenham. We literally love him here at Spurs Odyssey. Our guru Paul H. Smith, publicly said as much on Twitter and got dozens of ‘likes’ from similar-minded supporters who have lost their hearts to our Hurrikane. His hat-trick against Panama (on Sunday) in a crucial World Cup group match was unremarkable and straightforward by his standards, two masterclass penalties and then a deflection. But in milestone measurement he is only the third striker after Sir Geoff Hurst and Gary Lineker to notch a World Cup hat-trick for England, and he now has a collection of hat-trick balls that reach the ceiling in his sumptuous Essex mansion. Arise Sir Harry!
“Just a word of keeping-our-feet-on-the-ground caution: Tunisia and Panama are not the greatest of international sides. The real test for Gareth Southgate’s young lions comes against the sort of quality opposition we can expect on Thursday against the multi-talented Belgian team. (Fellow Spurs) Toby and Jan against Our Harry! Can’t wait.”
BTW, the Guardian lauded Kane as “the perfect star of a team built without starriness” in an article noting this sea change shift, “From Wayne to Kane: England excel after ditching Mr Big Stuff mentality.” Also, journalist Dave Bolton gives his thoughts on the tournament, so far, and how “England’s Three Lions Are Raising My Expectations. Again.”
And, if you’re interested in what happened on the day that England football ruled the world, check out Giller’s author site and his iconic book, July 30, 1966 — Football’s Longest Day.