England’s Captain Harry Kane struck late to grab the opening win for England in their group G fixture against African side Tunisia. African teams are suffering terribly so far in this World Cup with their inability to defend set-pieces and all goals conceded by African teams have been as a result of set-pieces. Kane opened the scoring in the 11th minute to convert a rebound from a John Stones header from a corner-kick.
England had an intense start and Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen was forced to make some fantastic saves to keep his side in the game. However, Kyle Walker elbowed Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the box which resulted in a penalty that Ferjani Sassi converted in the 35th minute. Tunisia fought hard in the second half but they were dealt a big blow in the 90th minute as Harry Kane latched on to the second ball off Harry Maguire from a corner to head -in the winner.
I am honestly distraught because of the lack of concentration from African sides, the set-piece frailty is surprisingly not just a Nigerian issue – it is killing us all. The Tunisian players were incredibly criminal to leave Harry Kane free in the box two times in the game, and it cost them dearly. Tunisia also were victims of overplaying at the back and it cost them the crucial corner that resulted in England’s second goal.
Earlier, Belgium’s second half performance ensured that they ran out 3 – 0 winners against World Cup newbies Panama. Belgium was extremely poor in the first half in comparison to their potentially high standards. It increasingly looks like all the top sides are suffering from tournament cold feet. However, they were able to recover quickly in the second half with a stunning strike from Dries Mertens in the 47th minute and two goals from Romelu Lukaku in the 69th and 75th minute. In truth, Panama was no match to the Red Devils and did well to hold Belgium to a stalemate in the first half.
Andreas Granqvist 65th minute penalty sealed a 1 – 0 win for Sweden against Son Heung-Min’s South Korea. South Korea was on the back-foot throughout the game and were lucky to lose by just one goal. Sweden missed a bunch of chances and would have been massively disappointed if they did not grab all three points.
Tomorrow, tournament hosts Russia will take on Mo Salah’s Egypt. Colombia will battle Japan in the group H opener while Senegal will carry Africa’s flag as they face Poland.