After the entries for the biggest European teams like Germany, France, Spain, Portugal or Belgium, we were waiting to see what this English selection had in store for us. Rarely at the level and even disappointing in the last international competitions, the Three Lions are not especially expected at the turn, but with players like Sterling or Harry Kane, authors of big performances in the club this season, England could play bad tricks to many nations. On the other hand, a very interesting and playful Tunisian team, with players like Khazri or Naïm Sliti. And in the end, England won 2-1.
From the second minute of play, Hassen had to release a decisive move on a point-blank shot from Lingard, following an error by the Tunisian defence (2nd). In the process, Sterling, while the cages were empty, was completely behind this caviar of Lingard (4th) ! A big start for the English, which quickly became a goal for Harry Kane. On a head of Stones, Hassen had an incredible new parade. But this time, the Spur was lurking there and had only to set foot to send it to the bottom (0-1, 11e). The Tunisians were unlucky, since shortly afterwards Hassen had to leave his partners, wounded. The English domination continued, and Henderson already solicited Ben Mustapha on this distant attempt (18th).
Harmless England in the second period
Opportunities followed one another, and on one of Young’s centres, Lingard, alone on the second post, picked up badly (24′). First Tunisian reaction with this Sassi strike, not in time (27′). And on a trivial action, Kyle Walker nudged Ben Youssef in the surface (33′). The referee did not tremble, and pointed to the point of penalty. Sassi was on the move… and put the ball perfectly out of Pickford’s reach (1-1, 35′)! A hard blow for the English, totally dominating up here ! After another blurry in the Tunisian surface, however, they were close to regaining the upper hand, but Stones was missing with the empty cages (39′). Lingard also had a big chance, alone at the penalty point (43′). He even hit the post (45′)! England, though not rewarded for the score, had a good first period.
On the way back from the dressing rooms, the match was resumed in the same scenario, with three Lions dominating. But Tunisia seemed to have narrowed the ranks behind, and was a little stronger and better organized. The English were struggling to find space, and opportunities were increasingly scarce. Harry Kane had disappeared, as had Alli, who did not exist in the game, and only Jesse Lingard was able to pull off the ball. Minutes passed, and Gary Southgate’s troops could not make it, despite the entrances to Rashford or Loftus-Cheek… Until Kane, well placed on the second post after a ball deflected from the head by Stones, offered victory to his team (1-2, 90e+1). A double for the player from Tottenham, and a narrow victory for the English selection !