England 2-1 Tunisia: 5 Talking Points, World Cup 2018
England beat Tunisia 2-1 in their opening World Cup 2018 Group G encounter at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on Monday night in what was a tense encounter until the very end.
Harry Kane gave the Three Lions the lead as early as the 11th minute but Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot for Tunisia to make it 1-1. However, a late set-piece goal from Kane saw England bag all three points.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
#1 Electric start by England
When the game kicked off, one thing was apparent. England were up and ready for the game and looked to play in top gear right from the referee's first whistle.
Jesse Lingard could have given England a very early lead had Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen not stuck his foot out to make a save he didn't know much about. The quick combination play of Dele Alli, Lingard and Sterling saw them find each other with ease and only the offside flag (and Sterling's horrible miss) had kept it at 0-0 in the first few minutes.
Nevertheless, 11 minutes was all they needed to get on the scoresheet. A set-piece floated into the box saw Hassen make a save to deny a powerful John Stones header but who else was there to mop up but skipper Harry Kane to make it 1-0 to the Three Lions.
England were great to watch when they were on the ball in the first half. Unlike their teams of old, these players were constantly on the move and always available for a pass, never leaving a teammate in peril.
It was a very sprightly opening half hour for the Englishmen and the young average age of the squad had a lot to do with how they were constantly on the move.
Even their mature and intelligent tactical organisation all across the pitch showed Gareth Southgate has been able to make England a well-organised unit from back to front.
Tthe only complaint one can make of their start is that they did not capitalise on their domination. The first quarter of the game was played at a frenetic pace and England should have buried a couple of chances to pull away from their African opponents.
Unfortunately for Southgate's men, they allowed Tunisia to claw their way back into the tie.