ENGLAND still doesn’t expect but they might just be getting a bit excited.

A last-minute win over Tunisia and now this trouncing of Panama, a poor and also an annoying team that won’t be missed, does not hint that all those years of hurt will end in Russia.

But six points out of six, passage to the knock-out stage secured and a record World Cup win suggests this English side have a chance of doing something good.

They won’t win it. They allow teams chances, and their two opponents have hardly been great, far too many opportunities which will be punished by Belgium, who they play next to see who wins the group, and any proper international teams.

Raheem Sterling doesn’t do nearly enough and while the midfield is set up well, with Jordan Henderson crucial sitting centre and deep, there is a lack of a really creative playmaker such as Toni Kroos, Eden Hazard and David Silva.

However, what England do have is pace, a structure, a plan and their manager, Gareth Southgate, has fostered a spirit and belief so many of his predecessors failed to do.

If England do go on and win the World Cup, then those journalists who exposed the greed of Sam Allardyce which forced him to leave the manager’s job after one game should be knighted.

Just imagine England under Allardyce. Wayne Rooney would be playing in a 4-4-2 and there would be no chance the excellent Kieran Trippier and Ruben Loftus-Cheek would be in the team.

Southgate is no genius; however, he is the perfect man for the so-called impossible job. He has played things down, as he should, and gets the best out of some good, a few great and one world-class star in his captain Harry Kane.

Sure, Panama were rubbish, the worst team in this World Cup, and we will know a lot more about England when they play an excellent Belgian side next.

But they have already exceeded their supporters’ lowly expectations, simply by playing some good football with smiles on their faces. And good on them.

Please, spare me this ‘Anyone but England’ nonsense. Admittedly, some of those who follow the team might be on the right of Attila the Hun and are so confused they believe singing pro-England songs while making Nazi salutes is not moronic.

These days they are the minority. And the arrogance which once put off even English people is nowhere near as strong.

This game was ridiculously one-sided. England scored five times in the first half. The only reason this didn’t finish much worse for Panama was because England, rightly, made sure they had a bit of a breather and nobody got injured.

It began with a John Stones goal after eight minutes, a bullet of a header from a corner and from that moment, really, this was only going to end one way.

The lead was doubled after 20 minutes, Jesse Lingard was fouled, Kane took the penalty and perfectly sent it into the top corner.

The third, on 34 minutes, was a cracker. Crisp passing and good movement bemused Panama, Lingard took control and curled the ball into the top corner from 20 yards.

Four minutes later, a well-worked free-kick, and when was the last time you could say that about England, ended with Stones getting his second by heading in from close range.

Before half-time, Kane was wrestled to the ground when a corner was played in, Panama by this stage were utterly gone, and the captain dispatched the penalty in similarly impressive fashion.

Kane did get a hat-trick, albeit a strange one, when Loftus-Cheek’ shot hit the Tottenham man’s heel which deflected the ball into the net.

Felipe Baloy made history when he got in behind the England defence to score Panama’s first ever goal in the World Cup. Their fans celebrated as if they had just won it.