Tunisia 1-2 England: Five things we learned

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Captain Harry Kane scored twice, including an injury-time winner, as England battled to a 2-1 victory over Tunisia in their opening game of the World Cup.

Kane nodded home from close range in the 91st minute following Harry Maguire’s flick-on from a corner, adding to his opportunistic finish in the first half in Volgograd.

Here are five thoughts from the game


For a side with the likes of Delle Alli, Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling, one would have fancied Tunisia to sit deep in their half and look to hit England on the counter. Instead, Tunisia pressed England high up the pitch, especially in the first half. Tunisia stubbornly stayed true to their playing philosophy and played out the back even though it sometimes appeared risky. It was this same hesitance to clear the ball which caused them the game. Despite this, I must say that the Tunisians were very impressive in their one-touch passing and were a delight to watch as they comfortably passed the ball around. The Tunisians have themselves to blame as they dropped deeper and deeper as the second half progressed and allowed England to come at them. I felt that the Tunisians should have kept on playing like the way they did in the first half as they showed that they could also take the game to England.


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There was always danger anytime England had set pieces [corner kicks and free kicks closer to Tunisia’s defensive third]. The Tunisians were very poor at marking their opponents and could only watch on as Harry Kane slotted home from close range after Hassen pulled off an impressive save. This predicament was further highlighted as Harry Kane was left unmarked as he powered in a header from a corner kick in stoppage time to seal the victory for England.


Tunisia’s left back Maaloul and left central defender Bronn had a torrid time defending Tunisia’s left side of the defence. So many English attacks were initiated from Tunisia’s left side of the defence. Kyle Walker and Kevin Trippier had a field day at the left flank. Gareth Southgate surely realized it and brought on Loftus Cheek to play at the left flank.  Going into the next game, Tunisia will definitely have to work on their left side of the defence.


Prior to the game, majority expected a Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford partnership upfront. Gareth Southgate had other thoughts and decided to pair Raheem Sterling with Harry Kane up front. The partnership didn’t work and Rashford came in for Sterling. Ruben Loftus Cheek was also brought on to replace Dele Alli and the introduction of these players gave England a lift. Rashford and Cheek were direct in their play as they gave England renewed energy going forward. It was Cheek’s persistence on the left side of midfield that led to the corner kick which resulted in the winning goal.


Egypt and Morocco also conceded goals late on in their respective games. This has led to genuine concerns about the concentration level of the African teams so far. Well, it is very amazing how Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia seemed to have lost concentration when it mattered most. This trend is very worrying and the various African teams must make sure that they toughen up their mentality.

Written by Eugene Nyavor

Eugene Nyavor is the Founding Editor at Gh Links.

Reach me via Email: [email protected]

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