World Cup 2018: Four reasons why England’s win against Tunisia could prove pivotal for their campaign
Harry Kane's dramatic late winner against Tunisia, gave England their first win in the opening game of a major tournament, since the 2006 World Cup. The first 30 minutes were truly exceptional, as England forced and pressurized the Tunisian players with their energy and dynamism. There was an added creativity and spark to the England side, as they created several chances.
Unlike in tournaments gone by, England played with a method and a clear plan. However, in the 35th minute, a lapse in concentration from Kyle Walker gave Tunisia a penalty, which Ferjani Sassi put away. The majority of the second-half looked slow and labored, as England probed and searched for any possible opportunity.
It seemed as though another promising England performance would end in an underwhelming draw. Harry Kane however, had other ideas and in the dying moments of the game, gave England all three points, with a neat header. The victory could prove vital for England and could help them finish top of the group and avoid the big teams in the round of sixteen.
A good start generally means a good tournament
Harry Kane’s injury-time header gave England their first win, in the opening game of an international tournament, since the 2006 World Cup, where they beat Paraguay 1-0. The three lions’ first game of the 2010 World Cup perfectly summed up the feeling of disappointment.
A Robert Green howler from a tame Clint Dempsey shot meant England ended up with only a point. This left doubts as to who should be in goal, as David James replaced Green for England’s remaining games. The 2016 Euro’s started off in a similar fashion, as England dominated the play and were one-nil up against Russia until a stoppage-time header from Vasili Berezutski earned Russia a valuable point.
In both occasions, failure to win on the first day, meant an eventual second place finish in the group. This ultimately led to the humiliating defeats against Germany and Iceland. The 2006 World Cup remains England’s joint best finish at a major tournament since the turn of the century, which therefore highlights the importance of winning the opening game.