Unlucky Tunisia fall to England

Unlucky Tunisia fall to England
Harry Kane of England celebrates after scoring

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Monday Jun 18, 2018. 22:22

Tunisia began their 2018 FIFA World Cup Group G campaign with a 2-1 defeat to England at the Volgograd Arena in Russia on Monday.

The victory took the Three Lions to second place on the Group G standings after match day one, while the Carthage Eagles are placed third on the table.

The Three Lions dominated the game from the start with their inspirational captain Harry Kane leading their attack.

The first chance of the game fell for England midfielder Jesse Lingard, who unleashed a low shot which was saved by Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen four minutes into the game.

However, the France-based shot-stopper was then beaten when John Stones' header was saved by Hassen and Kane pounced, and fired home the rebound to make it 1-0 to England.

The Carthage Eagles then suffered another blow in the 14th minute as they had to make an early substitution with Hassen injured and he was replaced by Farouk Mustapha.

Mustapha became a busy man as he had to stop Jordan Henderson's long-range shot in the 18th minute, before denying Harry Maguire, who was looking to score with a header just after the half-hour mark.

Tunisia then grew confidence and they pushed forward in numbers, with Fakhreddine Ben Youssef looking lively upfront for the 2004 African champions.

The towering centre forward was fouled by Kyle Walker inside the England box and Tunisia were awarded a penalty in the 33th minute.

Ferjani Sassi then stepped up and made no mistake from the spot-kick as he beat England shot-stopper Jordan Pickford to make it 1-1 for Tunisia.

The Three Lions then piled pressure on the Carthage Eagles defence and they nearly scored in the 39th minute through Stones, who fluffed his left-footed effort from close range.

The last chance of the first-half fell for Lingard, who was unfortunate as he managed to beat Mustapha, but his effort hit the upright and Tunisia survived a scare just before the half-time break.

Tunisia and England were locked 1-1 at the interval following an action-packed first-half.

The Three Lions were the better side in the early stages of the second-half and they nearly scored from a well-taken corner-kick by Kieran Trippier.

The diminutive full-back managed to find his England team-mate Harry Maguire, whose header was easily saved by Mustapha seven minutes into the second-half.

England head coach Gareth Southgate decided to make a change eight minutes after the hour-mark - pulling out the ineffective Raheem Sterling and he introduced marksman Marcus Rashford.

The Carthage Eagles were happy to sit back and launch quick-counter attacks, but they could not test Pickford, who had a quiet second half in England's goal-posts.

On the other hand, the Tunisia defence, which was led by Syam Ben Youssef, looked solid and organised with England attackers struggling to penetrate the backline in the closing stages of the game.

However, England kept probing and they deservedly snatched a late winning goal through Kane, who scored with a header from the blind spot in stoppage time, with the Tunisia defence exposed, and ultimately England emerged 2-1 winners.

Tunisia (1) 1 (Sassi 35')

England (1) 2 (Kane 11', 90'+1)

Tunisia: Hassen (Mustapha 15'), S. Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul, Sassi, Sliti (Ben Amor 73'), Skhiri, Bronn, Khazri (Khalifa 85'), Badri, F. Ben Youssef.

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young, Trippier, Henderson, Alli (Loftus-Cheek 80'), Lingard (Dier 90'+2), Sterling (Rashford 68'), Kane.

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