21st June 2018
Match Report: England leave it late in Volograd
Harry Kane’s injury time winner secured a dramatic 2-1 win in their World Cup opener against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday.
England’s swift start was capped off by a clever volleyed effort from captain Harry Kane 11 minutes in. Kane was on hand to smash home from close range after Tunisia’s keeper, Mouez Hassen, pulled off a good save to deny John Stones’ header from Ashley Young’s corner.
Hassen continued to make excellent saves, including one to deny Jesse Lingard, which led to an injury that ultimately ended his night early.
Lingard, Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire wasted opportunities but England remained in control of the game until the 35th minute when Colombian referee, Wilmer Roldon, awarded Tunisia a way back into the game with a penalty.
Kyle Walker’s trailing arm, that caught Ben Youssef in the face as the pair challenged for a cross, was deemed to be a foul. With VAR opting not to overrule the call, Ferjani Sassi coolly slotted home despite Jordan Pickford diving the right way.
However, moments later England were denied their own penalty after Sassi wrestled Kane to the ground in the box. There was still time in the half for Lingard to poke Kieran Trippier’s through-ball onto the outside of the post, as the incident-filled first half ended 1-1.
Another penalty call was turned down early in the second half, as the referee refused to penalise a further hold on Kane by Yassine Meriah.
The second half lacked intensity and seemed void of clear chances for both sides, despite Marcus Rashford and Ruben Loftus-Cheek replacing Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli, who were ineffective at best.
But, in the 1st minute of injury time, there was one clear chance left in the game and it fell to Harry Kane, who must have dreamed of winning the game for his country. Kane was alert to convert Maguire’s header after losing his marker and nodding home from three yards, sinking the tough Tunisians, and igniting England’s World Cup campaign in the process.