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الجمهورية التونسية

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Monday, 18 June 2018
World Cup 2018 Finals First Phase Group G, Match Two

Tunisia 1 England 2 [1-1]

Volgograd Arena, Tsenral'nyy Rayon, Volgograd, Volgograd Oblast, Russia
Kick-off (MSK): 9.00pm 7.00pm BST
Attendance: 41,064.

97 minutes 48:10 & 49:07 England kicked-off Match Summary
England Squad
Tunisia Squad

[1-1]Ferjani Sassi 35 34:45
 low to the keeper's right as Pickford dived to the same way
  (awarded 32:30 - Walker elbowed Youssef).
[0-1] Harry Kane 11 10:32
3-yard tap-in after Stone's header saved
[1-2] Harry Kane 90+1 90:31
3-yard header after Maguire heads in the corner
  Kyle Walker 34 33:03
Commentator: Guy Mowbray with Martin Keown

Match Summary

Officials from Colombia



Referee (sky blue) - Wilmar Alexander Roldán Pérez
 38 (24 January 1980), Antioquía, FIFA-listed 2008.

Assistant Referees - Alexander Guzman and Cristian de la Cruz
Reserve Assistant Referee - Hiroshi Yamauchi, Japan
General coordinator - Khaled Nasser, Egypt
Match commissioner - Manolo Zubira.

Fourth official - Ricardo Montero
, Costa Rica
Video Assistant Referee - Sandro Ricci
, Brazil
Assistant Video Assistant Referees - Gery Vargas
, Bolivia, Emerson de Carvalho, Brazil and Tiago Bruno Lopes Martini, Portugal

6 Goal Attempts 17
1 Attempts on Target 7
0 Hit Bar/Post 2
2 Corner Kicks Won 7
2 Offside Calls Against 3
14 Fouls Conceded 8
41% Possession 59%

Tunisia Team



FIFA (7 June 2018) 21st
EFO ranking
ELO rating
Colours: Made by Ullsport - White round-collared jerseys with red collar/cuffs and side gradient graphic, white shorts with red side gradient graphic, white socks.
Capt: Wahbi Khazri, handed over after 85 mins. Coach: Nabil Maâloul, 55 (25 July 1962), appointed 27 April 2017.
Tunisia Lineup
22 Hassen, Mouez, injured off
14th min. (13:37)
23 5 March 1995
born in Fréjus, France
G Olympique Gymnaste Club Nice Côte d'Azur, France 4 0 GA
2 Ben Youssef, Syam 29 31 March 1989
born in Marseille, France
CD Kasımpaşa SK, Turkey 44 1
12 Maâloul, Ali 28 1 January 1990 LB Al Ahly SC, Egypt 47 0
4 Meriah, Yassine 24 2 July 1993 CD CS Sfaxien 17 1
13 Sassi, Ferjani 26 18 March 1992 LDM Al-Nassr FC, Saudi Arabia 40 4
17 Skhiri, Ellyes 23 10 May 1995
born in Lunel, France
RDM Montpellier Hérault SC, France 6 0
23 Sliti, Naïm, off 74th min. 25 27 July 1992
born in Marseille, France
CF Lille Olympique SC, France 18 3
8 Ben Youssef, Fakhreddine 26 21 June 1991 RAM Al-Ettifaq FC, Saudi Arabia 35 4
9 Badri, Anice 27  18 August 1990
born in Lyon, France 
LAM Espérance Sportive de Tunis 8 2
10 Khazri, Wahbi, off 85th min. 27 8 February 1991
born in Ajaccio, France
AM Sunderland AFC, England 36 12
11 Bronn, Dylan 22 19 June 1995
born in Cannes, France
RB KAA Gent, Belgium 6 0
Tunisia Substitutes
scoreline: Tunisia 0 England 1
1 Ben Mustapha, Farouk, on 15th min. (14:54) for Hassen 28 1 July 1989 G Al-Shabab FC, Saudi Arabia 16 0
scoreline: Tunisia 1 England 1
14 Ben Amor, Mohammed Amine, on 74th min. (73:02) for Sliti 26 1 January 1992 M Étoile Sportive du Sahel 27 1
19 Khalifa, Saber, on 85th min. (84:45) for Khazri 31 14 October 1986 F Club Africain 44 7
result: Tunisia 1 England 2

unused substitutes:

3-Yohan Ben Alouane, 5-Oussema Haddadi, 6-Rami Bedoui, 7-Saïf-Eddine Khaoui, 15-Ahmed Khalil, 16-Aymen Mathlouthi, 18-Bassem Srarfi, 20-Ghailene Chaalali, 21-Hamdi Nagguez.
4-2-3-1 Hassen (Ben Mustapha) -
S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maloul -
Sassi, Skhiri -
F.Ben Youssef, Khazri (Khalifa), Badri -
(Ben Amor)

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 25.5 Appearances/Goals 23.7 2.4


England Team


FIFA (7 June 2018) =12th
EFO ranking Group 3
ELO rating 7th
Colours: The Nike 2018 away shirt - Red v-necked jerseys with a shadowed St. George's flag, red shorts, red socks.
Capt: Harry Kane, sixth captaincy. Manager: Gareth Southgate, 47 (3 September 1970), appointed caretaker manager on 24 September 2016, appointed as permanent manager on 30 November 2016.
nineteenth match, W 11 - D 6 - L 2 - F 29 - A 12.
England Lineup
1 Pickford, Jordan L. 24 7 March 1994 G Everton FC 4 2 GA
2 Walker, Kyle A. 28 28 May 1990 RD Manchester City FC 36 0
Walker cautioned in the 34th min. for Unsporting Behaviour, after a flailing elbow hit Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face that led to the penalty.
Kyle Walker committed the foul (32:38) that gave away the penalty.
18 Young, Ashley S. 32 9 July 1985 LWB Manchester United FC 35 7
12 Trippier, Kieran J. 27 19 September 1990 RWB Tottenham Hotspur FC 8 0
5 Stones, John 24 28 May 1994 LD Manchester City FC 27 0
6 Maguire, J. Harry 25 5 March 1993 CD Leicester City FC 6 0
7 Lingard, Jesse E., off 90th+3rd min. 25 15 December 1992 RAM Manchester United FC 13 1
8 Henderson, Jordan B. 28 17 June 1990 CM Liverpool FC 40 0
9 Kane, Harry E. 24 28 July 1993 RF Tottenham Hotspur FC 25 15
10 Sterling, Raheem S., off 68th min. 23 8 December 1994
in Jamaica
LF Manchester City FC 39 2
20 Alli, Bamidele J., off 80th min. 22 11 April 1996 LAM Tottenham Hotspur FC 26 2
England Substitutes
scoreline: Tunisia 1 England 1
19 Rashford, Marcus, on 68th min. (67:49) for Sterling 20 31 October 1997 LF Manchester United FC 20 3
21 Loftus-Cheek, Ruben I., on 80th min. (79:20) for Alli 22 23 January 1996 LAM Chelsea FC 5 0
scoreline: Tunisia 1 England 1
4 Dier, Eric J.E., on 90th+3rd min. (92:18) for Lingard 24 15 January 1994 RM Tottenham Hotspur FC 27 3
result: Tunisia 1 England 2

unused substitutes:

3-Danny Rose, 11-Jamie Vardy, 13-Jack Butland, 14-Danny Welbeck, 15-Gary Cahill, 16-Phil Jones, 17-Fabian Delph, 22-Trent Alexander-Arnold, 23-Nick Pope.

team notes:

Manager Gareth Southgate played against Tunisia in the opening 1998 World Cup Finals group match victory.
Harry Kane becomes the youngest player to captain England in a World Cup Finals match.
3-5-2 Pickford -
Walker, Maguire, Stones -
, Lingard (Dier), Henderson, Alli (Loftus-Cheek), Young -
Kane, Sterling

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 25.6 Appearances/Goals 23.6 2.3

    Match Report by Mike Payne

So after all the waiting and the build-up, now was the time to get down to the serious business, and as is usual in a World Cup tournament, the England fans had to endure every emotion before finally gaining their just rewards.  Years ago, we would have beaten teams like Tunisia by a cricket score, but in modern football, with expert coaches plying their trade worldwide, it is a whole new ballgame.  England were made to work very hard by the well-organised North African side, but in the end, thanks to our talisman, we won through.

arly on, it did seem that a cricket score was on as England’s players showed all the pent up eagerness to start their campaign, and they were straight on to the front foot.  As early as the third minute, how Jesse Lingard didn’t score I will never know.  Kieran Trippier’s cross from the right was blocked but the ball ran to Lingard who just had to score.  That he didn’t was because of Mouez Hassen’s left boot as the goalkeeper dived the wrong way, stuck out his foot and somehow deflected the ball wide for an amazing save.  Immediately Raheem Sterling looked to tap in Lingard’s cross from the left.  Not only did Sterling miss badly, but Lingard was caught just offside anyway! 

Tunisian players were going down all over the pitch with the goalkeeper and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef both needing treatment, or a breather perhaps from England’s whirlwind start.  Both teams showed little signs of nerves but England gradually warmed to the task and they put together some lovely football.  Harry Kane saw a shot deflected for a corner and when Ashley Young’s cross came in there was John Stones to power in a fine header.  Once again Hassen made a fabulous save, but this time the ball dropped to the England skipper and Kane does not need any encouragement to score from that sort of chance.  He side-footed home and the joy amongst the England players was there for all to see.

The goalkeeper’s injury was obviously serious because he then had to go off to be replaced by Farouk Ben Mustapha.  The replacement goalkeeper was soon in the action when another fine England attack ended with a superb low drive from Jordan Henderson.  Kyle Walker put through a superb pass to the ever-willing Trippier and although his cross was cleared it fell to the on-rushing Henderson.  Ben Mustapha did well to get his body behind the shot.  After a couple of half-hearted breakaway efforts from Tunisia England came close again.

This time Young put in another excellent cross and there was Lingard again to hit a volley.  Unfortunately he didn’t connect properly and the ball bounced over the bar.  Lingard could have had a hat-trick at this stage and England could have been three or four goals up.  On 31 minutes Harry Maguire, who had shaken off his nervous start, put in a header which brought another save out of the keeper.  Were England to rue all these missed chances?  Well, two minutes later the unthinkable happened.  A Tunisian cross came over from the right, an easy ball for Walker to deal with, but as he spread his arms to shepherd the ball away from danger Ben Youssef made a meal of the contact, went down screaming and the referee bought the deception, penalty!  It was to be one of many dubious decisions by the Columbian referee, but it gave Tunisia a lifeline.  Ferjani Sassi took the kick and hit his spot-kick just wide of the diving Jordan Pickford.  It was all so frustrating and so undeserved from an England perspective.

The Three Lions hit back immediately though and, not for the first time on the night, Sterling’s control let him down just when a promising move was put together.  To make matters worse, before half-time Kane was manhandled to the ground for a blatant penalty, as was Lingard, all ignored by the referee and not referred to the VAR system, which surely would have given England a penalty.  It was so blatant and right under the ref’s nose.  Meanwhile the frustration continued for England as Lingard latched on to another Maguire header only to see his shot again deflected over.  Then, just before the break, Lingard did brilliantly to latch on to a through pass, beat the keeper, and then see his shot roll agonisingly slowly against a post and away for a goal-kick.  Talk about frustrating.  On another day England could and should have been out of sight, but 1-1 it was, so more work to do after the break.

The recent pattern of England games to us regular watchers has been a good first-half, but not so good after the interval.  And it was the same against Tunisia as the England opponents re-organised, matched England’s formation, and opened with some clever possession football.  For a spell nothing went right for England as their earlier zest had disappeared.  To be fair it was England who still created the chances, and looked the more likely, but as the game wore on, some of the old doubts began to creep in.  Sterling again lost control from a good position and then Kane was once again thrown to the ground at a corner.  The referee got so much wrong in this game but to England’s credit they just carried on and tried to build more attacks searching for those chances.

Things began to pick up again after Gareth Southgate brought on Marcus Rashford for the ineffective Sterling with just over 20 minutes left.  Immediately the young Manchester United player ran at the defenders and Tunisia were beginning to tire too.  But as we approached the 70 minute mark England seemed to be running out of ideas.  Young hit a free-kick over  after Deli Alli was fouled, and then Southgate brought on Reuben Loftus-Cheek.  He again livened England up and made a couple of delightful turns and runs.  The 90 minutes were up and the board signalled  four extra to be added.  England won another corner, and for once, they had caused problems with all their set pieces.  This one was a bit special though.

Trippier sent over the cross, Maguire rose majestically, and his header found Kane, who had escaped his markers to patrol the far post.  The ace goalscorer did his country proud by steering a wonderful header past the keeper at his near post.  England and their fans were ecstatic as Kane had given them the win their overall performance had thoroughly deserved.  In actual fact, Kane had a quiet match by his standards, and was only really prominent twice.  Goal, and Goal, that’s Harry Kane for you.

My man of the match?  I thought Harry Maguire was outstanding, but there were eleven very good footballers out there and they all chipped in with as good a team performance as we could wish for.  COME ON ENGLAND!

Source Notes

BBC Sport
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor