World Cup 2018: England vs Tunisia, 3 Things that went wrong for Tunisia
England finally broke the shackles and demonstrated the work that Gareth Southgate had been doing with the lads over the past year and a half. A thrilling match, which England won courtesy of a brace from their captain Harry Kane means that the Three Lions have now started off the tournament in a positive note as such.
However, Tunisia were no pushovers either, as the African team made Southgate’s men dig deeper in order to snatch a victory in the injury time. Nabil Maaloul drilled his team to perfection from a defensive point of view, but loss of concentration during the final corner kick of the match resulted in Tunisia giving up the possibility of a drawn game altogether.
What exactly went wrong for this African nation? Have a read, yourself.
#1 Lack of energy and pressing in the midfield
Under Southgate’s tutelage, England focuses on playing a possession-based, positive brand of football. However, as they have to accommodate three central midfielders, Gareth often goes in with Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli in central midfield.
This leaves England with only Jordon Henderson as the defensive midfielder, and this drawback could be exploited by inducing more energy and pressing at the centre of the park.
Tunisia often refrained from winning the ball back by pressurizing the likes of Henderson and Harry Maguire deep in the midfield area. England’s centre-back players are very inexperienced and could be outclassed with some incessant pressing and high display of energy.
Moreover, Tunisia’s tendency to rely on misplaced passes to regain possession allowed England to maintain better possession of the ball as almost all the English players are good, accurate and incisive with the ball at their feet.
Due to the lack of a creative central midfielder, Lingard and Alli push ahead on the field to create more goal-scoring opportunities. In such a scenario, Henderson should have been targeted on the counter-attack by Tunisia. This lack of intent in the midfield means that Tunisia ended up sacrificing a lot of possession of the ball.