Harry The Hero As England Beat Tunisia In Opening Game

It seemed like the wait would never be over, but finally England got their World Cup campaign in Russia underway last night. It had been eight years since England had won a game in the competition (a 1-0 win over Slovenia in 2010) but as ever expectations were high as fans hoped the team would break their duck against Africa’s highest ranked team, Tunisia.

England fielded a strong attacking line-up for the game, with Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, and of course, Harry Kane all starting.

And, it looked like this positive approach was going to pay off in the early stages as the Three Lions peppered Tunisia’s goal with shots.

Eventually, it paid off as Harry Kane tapped in from close range following a John Stones header. From here it looked like England would romp home to a comfortable injury, but of course, it wasn’t that simple.

England missed more chances before Tunisia began to have a spell of their own. The referee then pointed to the spot as it was judged that Kyle Walker had elbowed Fakhreddine Ben Youssef and Ferjani Sassi coolly levelled. 

Tunisia
Ferjani Sassi of Tunisia celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from a penalty against England.

 

Going into the break at 1-1 England’s intensity levels seemed to drop as the second half got underway.

Tunisia’s defensive approach meant England found it difficult to break them down, and they also had two big penalty claims waved away, with questions about VAR being asked by pundits and fans alike.

As the game progressed it looked like England were heading for another disappointment, and even though a draw wouldn’t be catastrophic, it would certainly have been frustrating given how well the side performed in the first half.

Thankfully this did not happen, as in the dying minutes of the game, Harry Kane once again proved why Gareth Southgate made him captain as he nodded in a Harry Maguire flick, to send England into pandemonium as they won 2-1.

harry Kane
Harry Kane celebrates after scoring a late winner, making the score 2-1.

 

Overall, England can be happy with the result even if it is tinged with a sense of relief.

Their dominant display in the first half, coupled with the character the team showed to fight back and claim the win, can only boost confidence in the squad ahead of their remaining group games and (hopefully) beyond.

Next up, is Panama on Sunday before the big clash against Belgium on 28 June which is likely to determine who gets top spot in the group.

Today’s games see Colombia take on Japan, Senegal face off with Poland and hosts Russia back in action against Egypt, who will be boosted with the addition of Mo Salah, who is back to full fitness.

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