Tunisia 1 (Ferjani Sassi, 35) – 2 England (Harry Kane, 11 & 90+1)
Tunisia: Mouez Hassen; Dylan Bronn, Syam Ben Youssef, Yassine Meriah, Ali Maaloul; Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi, Anice Badri; Wahbi Khazri; Naim Sliti
England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Jordan Henderson; Kieran Trippier, Jesse Lingard; Dele Alli, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.
Entering the 2018 World Cup and being from England and therefore an England fan it is quite a strange thing surrounding it in all honesty. We do not have the usual build up that this is our year and we are going to win it, no we have a pretty young squad and no big superstar players. We have some very good and impressive players, but not the David Beckham or Wayne Rooney. I personally think that is only a good thing as then we have more of a chance of creating a good team.
The game started at lightning pace, I don’t ever remember seeing an England team as quick as this creating chance after chance that probably should have been put away. Lack of finishing quality in the box mainly coming from Jesse Lingard. Luckily though we seem to have a proper striker who can finish now and just so happens to have the captain’s armband in Harry Kane, a leader from the front and well quite frankly a fox in the box. We have certainly missed this! However a stupid mistake from Kyle Walker giving away a penalty, which was very cooly converted by Sassi with Jordan Pickford getting finger tips to it in a great effort to save it. Despite that England still worked hard to get back in the lead before half time, hitting the post in the process.
The second half started probably more in the manner in which we have seen England more in recent years, the self belief and confidence from the opening 20 minutes long gone. But the thing is though the players kept going and trying to break the lines. Mainly going out wide which wasn’t really working, I was therefore wanting to see Rashford on for Sterling which I was happy to see as the first sub. Rashford offers more of a threat down the middle dribbling at players and not afraid to take them on. A little bit of a shame for Sterling as I was really hoping to see him at his best, I know only the first game but it might just lose him his starting spot.
Something I need to complain about though is the formation which by the second half meant England had a flat back 5 and meant the front 4 players were pressing, closing down and it meant nothing as too many gaps across the midfield. Hopefully that can be sorted out if they are going to use the formation for the whole tournament, I wasn’t overly impressive with Maguire out of the back three being the more attacking player either as he seems less comfortable on the ball in comparison to Stones.
Into stoppage time with four minutes added on the players kept working hard and battling, that was about to pay off when Captain Harry Kane was about to show he can score headers as well, with a fantastic glancing header sending the keeper the wrong way after Maguire headed it towards the him. Amazing moment and starting with a win which was in all honesty more than deserved!
IT’S COMING HOME . . .