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Harry Kane hits twice to give England 2-1 win over Tunisia in World Cup Group G match  | Coastweek

VOLGOGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Raheem Sterling [left] of England tussles with Anice Badri [center left] and Ellyes Skhiri (2nd R) of Tunisia during a group G match between Tunisia and England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Volgograd, Russia, June 18, 2018. XINHUA PHOTO - LIU DAWEI

Harry Kane hits twice to give England 2-1 win
over Tunisia in World Cup Group G match   

VOLGOGRAD, Russia (Xinhua) -- An early goal and an injury-time header from captain Harry Kane gave England a 2-1 victory against Tunisia in their opening World Cup game in Group G on Monday.

England, playing a 3-5-2 formation, launched fast attacks from the very beginning, making attempts at the goal two times within the first five minutes.

In the 11th minute, Kane broke the deadlock. Ashley Young swung in a corner from the left and John Stones nutted a header towards the top-left corner. Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen clawed the ball out only to push it to Kane, who crisply tapped the rebound home.

Just three minutes after England’s goal, Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen was forced off by injury and Farouk Ben Mustapha replaced him.

Tunisian did not have their first chance until the 26th minute. Ferjani Sassi flashed a shot wildly across goal.

A penalty was awarded to Tunisia in the 33rd minute as England defender Kyle Walker pushed Fakhreddine Ben Youssef down in the box. After two minutes Ferjani Sassi struck the penalty into the bottom right corner to level the score.

Despite England players’ continuous fierce attacks, they failed to score in the rest of the first half.

Admitting that England “played really well” during the first 45 minutes, Harry Kane also thought England should have seized more opportunities.  “In the first half, it felt good out there. We could’ve scored two or three goals in the first half and put the game to bed early,” he said.

Paces slowed down in second half and England created a few chances. However, the efforts of the Three Lions didn’t pay off in face of a strong Tunisian defense.

England got a free kick opportunity in the 79th minute while Ashley Young’s shot went over the bar.

In the 91 minute, Kane scored his second of the game with a well-placed header from close range which made England seal the victory.

The England captain hailed his teammates’ performance. “We are proud of each other and in a World Cup you are not sure how it is going to go, but we have a great togetherness and are always proud to see it come off in the game. We never panicked, never looked like conceding another one and got what we deserved in the end,” he said.

Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul expressed his disappointment on the last-minute goal from England.

“If we were to get a draw it would have been an excellent result for us,” he said. “But hopefully this will lead to higher levels of concentration in the coming games.”

FIFA statistics showed that England made 17 attempts at the goal throughout the match, while Tunisia made 6. Ball possession was 60 percent for England and 40 percent for Tunisia.

Tunisia’s goalscorer Sassi thought his team deserved better result. “We played a good match defensively. We played with five in defense during the second half which helped us to close the spaces. We will do everything against Belgium to win the three points,” he said.

Monday’s match marks the two teams’ second clash at World Cup which a total of 41,064 spectators attended at the 45,000-seat Volgograd Arena.

Tunisia will play against Belgium in their next game on June 23 while England will take on Panama one day later.

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UPDATES:

By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) -- Six shots on target in the first half, several shots off target which should have been in the back of the net and 1-1 at the break; when the halftime whistle blew in Volgograd between England and Tunisia, seasoned England fans will have nodded their heads and thought it was just about par-for the course.

England began their 2-1 win against Tunisia like a side on a mission to forget recent disappointments and from the start Gareth Southgate’s young guns went for it, using the width of the pitch and playing with pace and style to carve Tunisia apart time after time.

With better finishing they could have been 2-0 ahead before Harry Kane opened the scoring in the 11th minute and with some calmer work in the last third of the pitch, there could have been more goals before Kyle Walker stuck out an unnecessary arm to gift Tunisia an equalizer from the penalty spot, when Jordan Pickford hadn’t been called into action all night.

England could have retaken the lead before halftime: Jesse Lingard’s shot was deflected over, John Stones totally miscued when the goal was at his mercy and Lingard’s quick feet got him to the ball ahead of the Tunisian keeper only for it to hit the post and out for a goal kick.

It had been good, but they had let Tunisia off the hook and the game was in the balance; so the question when England came out for the second half was if this young side had the confidence to go on to claim the win, or whether the ghosts of England’s past failures and the pressure of expectation would take their toll?

And the answer was ‘Yes and No.’

Yes, because they kept on pushing, kept on trying to play the same football they had in the first half and because Tunisia never had half a chance to score against them.

And ‘no’ because’ it was another half of ‘almost and nearly’ and for all their good intentions, England’s final pass was a yard long, the shot two yards wide and the cross deflected so that Tunisia’s substitute keeper, Farouk Ben Mustapha didn’t really have a difficult save to make for all of the pressure.

Harry Kane struggled to get involved and although central defender Harry Maguire was outstanding in the England defense, looking to carry the ball into the heart of the Tunisia half, it was telling that two of the players billed to be stars in Russia; Deli Ali and Raheem Sterling were two of the players substituted by Gareth Southgate with the impressive Marcos Rashford and Ruben Loftus Cheek replacing them.

It was brave of Southgate to take off two big name players and it will be interesting if Rashford and Loftus Cheek start against Panama, but the young England coach has already shown he is no slave to egos and that is positive for his side.

And as for Kane, well we did see him in the second half, scoring the injury time header to seal a vital win. In the 2016 European Championships Kane took the corners, he made it clear where he is more effective in Volgograd.

Looking at Group G, England and Belgium look to be a class above Tunisia and Panama and if things go as expected they will probably play for the leadership on the group on July 28... But as England fans will tell you, things rarely go as expected.

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England tied with Tunisia 1-1 in Group G clash first half

VOLGOGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Harry Kane’s first World Cup goal and Ferjani Sassi’s penalty made England tie 1-1 with Tunisia in the first half of their World Cup Group G opener the Volgograd Arena here on Monday.

England, playing a 3-5-2 formation, launched fast attacks from the very beginning, making attempts at the goal two times within the first five minutes.

In the 11th minute, England captain Kane broke the deadlock. Ashley Young swung in a corner from the left and John Stones nutted a header towards the top-left corner. Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen clawed the ball out only to push it to Kane, who crisply tapped the rebound home.

Just three minutes after England’s goal, Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen was forced off by injury and Farouk Ben Mustapha replaced him.

Tunisian haven’t created their first chance until the 26th minute. Ferjani Sassi flashed a shot wildly across goal.

A penalty was awarded to Tunisia in the 33rd minute as England defender Kyle Walker pushed Fakhreddine Ben Youssef down in the box. After two minutes Ferjani Sassi struck the penalty into the bottom right corner to level the score.

Despite England players’ continuous fierce attacks, they failed to score in the rest of the first half.

Grouping with England, Belgium and Panama in Group G, Tunisia started their fifth appearance at the World Cup finals here on Monday evening but they have never made it out of the group stage.

England have never lost against an African team at the World Cup. However, the Three Lions have not won any of their last six World Cup games.

Monday’s match marks the two teams’ second clash at World Cup and England beat Tunisia with a 2-0 victory in 1998.

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England coach Gareth Southgate hails team’s endeavor, patience

VOLGOGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- England head coach Gareth Southgate on Monday night praised his team for their endeavors to win, as Harry Kane’s late goal gave England a 2-1 victory against Tunisia in their first World Cup game in Group G.

With Kane’s early goal in the first half, England made a near-perfect start at the Volgograd Arena. However, Tunisian evened the score 24 minutes later with a penalty.

“At 1-1 we had a plan which is to keep looking and keep probing,” Southgate told reporters on the post-match press conference.

After the equalizer by Tunisia, England players launched continuous fierce attacks. FIFA statistics showed that England made 17 attempts at the goal throughout the match, while Tunisia made 6.

“We created a lot of clear-cut chances in the first half, as many as I can remember us having. In the second half we dominated the game, kept our patience and looked for good opportunities rather than throwing the ball in the box,” the 47-year-old coach added.

“At the end, the pressure built and built. We did right things and made good decisions and were good value for the win,” Southgate said.

In the 91st minute, Kane scored his second goal of the game with a well-placed header from close range which made England seal the victory.

Southgate praised Kane and said the England forward “will feel the pride of leading a country to a World Cup win is the most important thing”. 

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Tunisia coach: thank all my players for their defensive attitude

VOLGOGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Despite disappointed with the results of the match against England in the World Cup Group G clash on Monday, the Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul praised his men for the defensive attitude during the whole game.

An injury-time header from captain Harry Kane gave England a 2-1 victory against Tunisia. After the match, Tunisia coach admitted disappointment on the way they lost the game.

“It’s true the England controlled the match, but we defended ourselves very well for 90 minutes. We were very strong until we concede the second goal.” the 55-year-old coach said.

“I would thank all my players for the defensive attitude. They played beyond the expectations in the second half,” he told the press after the match.

“If we were to get a draw it would have been an excellent result for us. But hopefully, this will lead to higher levels of concentration in the coming games.” he added.

Regarding the performance of Harry Kane, Maaloul considered the Tottenham Hotspur forward as one of the best attackers in the Premier League and admitted that optimum scorer was always at the right time.

Tunisia will play against Belgium in their next game on June 23.

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