Harry Kane scored a brace against the African side.
England beat Tunisia 2-1 in a game that looked like the African side were going to snatch a point away from. The game opened with England looking absolutely dynamic and opened the scoring in the 11th minute. Tunisia got back after some time, thanks to a penalty by Sassi, but the England captain was not done yet as he grabbed another goal and three points for the Three Lions to start their 2018 World Cup campaign.
Tunisia held on through the 90 minutes and defended quite well. They faced 17 shots in total with eight on target and 13 of the 17 shots inside the box, but they dealt with it without any problems as England lacked the finishing touch.
Watch: England 2-1 Tunisia highlights
Here are five talking points from the game.
5. Tunisia got the better of the referee
Tunisia flirted with the devil a couple of times as the players hacked Kane down inside the box, but the referee did not seem to get a glimpse of it on more than one occasion.
The penalty that Tunisia received also seemed a bit soft as Kyle Walker’s arm only lightly hit the player who then made the most of the situation. There were other situations where VAR could have been used to make the right decision, but the referee refused to do so.
4. England finally look like an all-around unit
The squad setup by Gareth Southgate looks like one of the best England sides in the last 10 years. The way they started the game showed the level of quality in this side.
England were already knocking on the doors of the Tunisian backline three minutes into the match. The squad is younger, more dynamic and exciting to watch, when compared to the England teams of recent times.
3. England lack a leadership
Although, England look like a well-oiled unit, there’s an important ingredient that’s missing in this side that sets apart good teams from great teams. The lack of leadership is quite apparent in this side.
When the game’s pace settled down, they did not have a player to dictate the tempo and push the team to go and find the winner. A vocal leader is the one missing piece in England’s jigsaw this summer and Harry Kane is not one of them.
2. The lack of sharpness in the African sides
The African sides that are in focus here are Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. All these three teams have conceded goals in their respective matches, due to momentary lapses in concentration.
The Tunisian defense let Kane roam free in the 91st minute of the game inside the six-yard box and when the ball fell kindly to him following Harry Maguire’s header, he punished Tunisia’s lack of sharpness with a goal that would put the game beyond them.
1. Set-pieces are England’s bread and butter
When you have two players like John Stones and Maguire in your ranks, all you need to execute is a perfectly floated ball inside the box and in their path. The duo won more than 60% of their aerial duels and both of England’s goals came from set-pieces.
Both Stones and Maguire have great aerial abilitity in their arsenal and coupled with their heading prowess, its no surprise that set-pieces are England’s favourite weapon.