World Cup 2018: Captain Kane inspires England to 2-1 win over Tunisia
Harry Kane’s inspirational brace helped England edge past Tunisia 2-1, to get their Group G campaign up and running at the Volgograd Arena on Monday.
Captain Kane netted twice from set-pieces including an extra-time winner, as England capped-off a deserved victory after dominating over 90 minutes. Ferjani Saasi scored from the spot for Tunisia, in what was their only shot on target.
Both of England’s goals came from set-pieces and while the first was from a rebound after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen had pulled off a blinder, the second came in the first minute of extra-time and was after Harry Maguire had headed Kevin Trippier’s corner into the farpost, from where Kane scored the winner.
Beginning the match, England had started well, fearless in their approach and came close as early as the second minute when Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli combined well before Hassen sticked out a leg, stopping the latter’s goal bound shot on the line.
Then Raheem Sterling spurred a chance, with Alli-Lingard combining once again to find the Manchester City forward who failed to make a proper connection with the ball.
But it didn’t matter as England took the lead 11 minutes later, when Kane scored from a rebound after John Stones’ flying header from a corner had been incredibly saved by Hassen. It was the last action for the goalkeeper who was soon subbed-off owing to a right hand injury.
England however continued dominating, so much that Tunisia had failed to even make a touch in the ‘Three Lions‘ box until Kyle Walker gave away a reckless penalty, for a foul off the ball. It was after some quick play on the right wing, that Ben Youssuf swinged a cross into the England box for Naim Sliti, who was hit on the face by Walker, with the Manchester City defender not just getting booked but also giving away a penalty in the 35th minute.
Sassi stood up and levelled the scores, even as Jordan Pickford guessed it right. It was Tunisia’s only shot on target in a game of 90 minutes.
Tunisia moved into a defensive mode as the second-half kicked on, with England allowed more time on the ball, while the African nation played on the counter. They had just four shots to account in final 45 minutes but gave away nine fouls, as Trippier curled in balls without much success.
But it was so until the Tottenham star Kane stepped up with another volley from England’s seventh corner on the night.
Gareth Southgate’s tactics
Equally impressive was England head coach Southgate’s tactics as was the ‘Three Lions‘ game all night. Starting the match in a 3-1-4-2 formation, it soon tweaked into 5-3-2 when the opposition had the ball. Both Ashley Young and Trippier had the license to make overlapping runs as Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson stood between the three centre-backs.
Then there were those two substitutions which helped England grab the winner. Both Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek made immediate impacts after replacing Alli and Sterling in the final half-hour mark. In fact it was the Chelsea player’s persistence that forced Tunisia into conceding a corner, from which Kane scored the winner.
This English team unlike it’s superstar predecessors play without fear and have a cutting edge that was missing in the ‘Golden generation’ of the 20th century. As a result for the first time since the 2-2 draw against Sweden in 2006, England managed to score twice in a World Cup game. Breeding under Southgate’s tutelage and led by the magnificent Kane, England finally looks capable of making it’s mark in the World Cup.