By Izuchukwu Okosi
Harry Kane scored a brace to clinch a 2-1 win over Tunisia at the Volgograd Arena Monday night to start their 2018 World Cup on a good note and more significantly maintain their unbeaten run against African teams at the World Cup.
Nabil Maaloul’s men had to deal with an early onslaught from the Three Lions in the third minute but keeper Mouez Hassen was quick to put out a Jesse Lingaard close effort after sticking out a leg.
England then got in ascendency in the 11th minute as Kane prodded home from a rebound after Hassen initially kept away a John Stones’ header. Hassen later would be substituted off with tears in his eyes no thanks to a shoulder injury.
Jordan Henderson tested Farouk Ben Mustafa, Tunisia’s goalkeeper from the bench soon after his entrance with a long range strike but he was equal to the task.
With 26 minutes played it was Tunisia’s Ferjani Sassi’s turn to try his luck from a distance but the ball was only deflected for a corner.
The Carthage Eagles equalised as Kyle Walker impeded Fakhreddine Ben Mustafa and Sassi converted from the spot ten minutes to halftime. Walker was duly yellow carded for his indiscretion.
That was Africa’s first goal of Russia 2018 World Cup.
Lingaard was inches away from putting England on the front foot again two minutes before halftime after going past Ben Mustafa but the ball hit the foot of the post and out of touch although the flag had been raised for offside.
Tunisia played too deeply and initially resisted several late surges by the Three Lions but the north Africans capitulated in the death as Kane headed past the Tunisian keeper unmarked.