Kane grabs late winner for England

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England's forward Harry Kane (up) celebrates after scoring his first goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between Tunisia and England at the Volgograd Arena in Volgograd on Monday. — AFP

Volgograd, Russia — Harry Kane grabbed a dramatic late winner for England on Monday, powering home a header in the dying minutes of their World Cup opener after Belgium had earlier swept past Panama.

Gareth Southgate's team won 2-1 after it looked as if they had squandered their chance to take all three points when they faded in the second half following a bright opening but the Tottenham striker, who also scored England's opener, was not to be denied.

Menaced by flying insects under the floodlights in Volgograd, England raced out of the blocks and took an early lead in the Group G match through Kane.

But the young English team squandered multiple chances, with Jesse Lingard particularly wasteful, and Tunisia made them pay when Ferjani Sassi scored from the penalty spot after Kyle Walker was adjudged to have fouled Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.

Despite enjoying the bulk of the possession in the second half, England created few clear-cut chances and looked as though they would be forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

But captain Kane had the last word, heading in a corner at the back post in the 91st minute.

"It's massive," said Kane. "I'm so proud of the lads. It's tough. We played so well, especially in the first half, and we could have scored a few more.

"We kept going. It's a World Cup, you go to the last second. I'm absolutely buzzing."

- England fans outnumbered -

Southgate's young charges arrived in Russia quietly confident after a solid qualifying campaign and encouraging friendly results, determined to end a woeful run that has seen England fail to win a knockout match at a major tournament since 2006.

The manager's lack of experience was widely discussed when he was appointed but the former Under 21s coach has cultivated an atmosphere of unity and a determination to bury past failures.

England fans were outnumbered by Tunisian supporters in Volgograd after fewer than 2,000 tickets for the match were sold in Britain.

The England supporters were given a warm welcome in the city formerly known as Stalingrad and were largely well-behaved although two fans were charged with public drunkenness after being detained on a train. — AFP


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