World Cup 2018: Tunisia 1-2 England; Player Ratings
Gareth Southgate's England kick-started their World Cup campaign in Group G with a 2-1 win over Tunisia at the Volgograd Arena last night. The Three Lions got off to a flying start and opened the scoring in the 11th minute through their captain and talisman Harry Kane after the ball fell kindly to him inside the penalty area for a close-range tap-in following a brilliant save by Moez Hassan to keep out John Stones' header from a well-worked set-piece routine.
England were seemingly in control and continued to create chances until Kyle Walker's swing of the elbow at Fakhreddine Ben Youssef resulted in a penalty being awarded against them. Ferjani Sassi shouldered the responsibility for Nabil Maaloul's side and calmly put away the spot-kick to restore parity between the two sides.
It almost seemed as if England would be put to the sword for failing to convert the bulk of their chances but a stoppage-time winner from Kane ensured that the Three Lions snatched all three points in their opening game of the tournament. On that note, let's take a closer look at how players from both sides fared during the game:
Moez Hassen - 4/10
The young goalkeeper made a number of crucial saves in the opening 15 minutes of the game before fate put a halt to his night in the form of a shoulder injury that saw him being withdrawn shortly after England's opener on the night.
Dylan Bronn - 6/10
Despite being pinned back in his own half for a majority of the game, Bronn showed a lot of promise when he made a sudden burst down the flank to put England on alert. The full-back grew in confidence as the game progressed but then all his hard work went to waste in the end.
Syam Ben Youssef - 6/10
The defender was not afraid to throw himself in front of anything that England tried to muster on the night and did well to cope with the threat offered by Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane before finally being undone by the latter's effort in the dying minutes of the game.
Yassine Meriah - 6/10
Meriah did not hit the ground running right from the start and was pegged back on the wake of England's promising start to the game. However, he slowly started finding his rhythm and settled in well before being dismantled by Kane's late winner.
Ali Maaloul - 5/10
The left-back would have certainly enjoyed going forward but he was forced to stay in his own half and contain the likes of Kieran Trippier and Sterling for prolonged periods in the game and he was given a hiding on a few occasions as well.
Anice Badri - 5/10
Badri was outmatched in midfield by England's rich vein of talent and offered very little cover to his defenders on the night. The midfielder threw his back to the wall as England pushed on for a winner that eventually came in the dying moments of the game.
Ellyes Skhiri - 5/10
The midfielder did most of his work deep inside his own half and rarely threatened to go forward and contribute to the numbers ahead of him. Skhiri managed to recycle possession effectively whenever Tunisia had a sniff of the ball but struggled against England's pace and quick feet.
Ferjani Sassi - 6/10
Sassi was probably the luckiest player on the pitch last night after his penalty went in despite Pickford getting a hand to it and later the referee failed to spot him wrestling Kane to the ground inside the penalty area.
Fakhreddine Ben Youssef - 7/10
The winger was Tunisia's best player on the night after winning them the penalty and sending a header just wide. Ben Youssef was constantly showing a willingness to move forward and get inside England's penalty area.
Wahbi Khazri - 4/10
The Sunderland player struggled to make an impact on the night and never looked like offering any form of threat up front before being replaced later on in the second half.
Naim Sliti - 5/10
Sliti was constantly looking to improve from an attacking perspective but otherwise, he was pretty much an isolated figure as England continued to dominate the game before he was eventually replaced by a more defensive minded player.
Farouk Ben Mustapha - 6/10
Despite making his first appearance in years for the national side, Ben Mustapha managed to do a commendable job between the sticks. However, he could not prevent Harry Kane from clinching the winner in the end.
Mohamed Amine Ben Amor - 5/10
Amine Ben Amor replaced Naim Sliti in the 74th minute in a tactical move that was aimed to protect Tunisia's goal but things did not go according to plan.
Saber Khalifa - N/A
Came on in the 85th minute to replace Wahbi Khazri.