Kane to the Rescue as England Edge out Tunisia in World Cup Opener
England opened up their World Cup campaign with a win, but the Three Lions made their fans sweat on a sweltering night in Volgograd before claiming a 2-1 win over Tunisia.
Captain fantastic Harry Kane scored at the beginning and end of the match, sandwiching a penalty from Ferjani Sassi, as Gareth Southgate’s men put themselves in pole position to qualify from Group G.
In many ways it was a very England performance. Southgate has assembled a youthful squad who have not been scarred by past failures, but they put together a display that many Three Lions fans are all too familiar with.
For the opening 25 minutes, it appeared as if England had morphed into Brazil. Swift interchanges of play, crisp passing and incisive running overwhelmed their Tunisian opponents and Southgate’s team could arguably have been four goals to the good.
But poor finishing meant they only had Kane’s predatory finish from a corner on 11 minutes to show for their efforts.
And in the blink of eye, or the straightening of Kyle Walker’s arm, the tables had been turned.
In an attempt to shield the ball from his marker in the 34th minute, Walker held out his arms. That was invitation enough for Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to go down, and it prompted referee Wilmar Roldan to award a penalty. It was the softest of spot kicks, but it was not a clear and obvious error so VAR was never going to overturn the award.
Sassi kept his cool to beat Jordan Pickford from the spot. Tunisia were level and England slipped into bad habits of previous tournaments.
Tunisia carried little if any attacking threat, but they were neat in possession and for long spells of the second half it looked as if England would be frustrated.
Southgate threw on Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to spark his side into life and the changes made a big difference, as England upped the tempo and the direct running of the substitutes had Tunisia in difficulties.
The North African side looked like they were going to weather the storm, only for Mohamed Ben Amor to concede a needless corner when attempting to be clever and shield the ball deep in his own half in injury time.
Set–pieces always looked like England’s best source of a goal, which does not bode too well for the remainder of the tournament, and the corner brought them their winner. Harry Maguire rose high to meet the delivery and his effort floated towards Kane who did superbly to angle his header into the corner.
The celebrations from players and coaching staff were an indicator of the importance of the goal, while it was also England’s first victory in their opening match of a major tournament since the win over Paraguay in 2006.
The wins sets them up nicely for group games with Panama and Belgium to come, but much has to be done in all areas of the pitch if England are to made a run at the World Cup.
England can be backed at 13.0 for World Cup glory with 188BET. The advice would be to keep your powder dry.
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