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Captain Kane at the double as England get off to a winning start

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 4 4,158

Pin Kane's brace secured victory for Southgate's side. AFP
Kane's brace secured victory for Southgate's side. AFP

Captain Kane at the double as England get off to a winning start

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 4 4,158

Two poacher's goals from Harry Kane, including a late late headed winner secured victory for England in their World Cup opener against Tunisia on Monday night after it looked for long spells like the Three Lions would be made to do with a point.

Gareth Southgate's youthful side has a different feel to it than past England squads and the new era in English football looked to be getting off to a flyer early on as England flew out of the blocks.

Jesse Lingard and Harry Maguire were both denied inside four minutes by Mouez Hassen, before the offside flag spared Raheem Sterling's blushes as he fluffed his lines when presented with an open goal.

It didn't take long for England to capitalise on their lightning start, with Harry Kane turning home the loose ball after Hassen brilliantly denied Maguire's powerful header from an Ashley Young corner to open the scoring.

The dominance continued after the goal, with England seeing all the ball, though Lingard should have done better when he was found unmarked at the far post from a Young cross.

As if often the case though at major tournaments, England's worst enemy was themselves, with Southgate's side shooting themselves in the foot just after the half-hour mark as Kyle Walker caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face as the pair jostled to meet a cross, with the referee immediately and somewhat harshly pointing to the spot.

Ferjani Sassi did the honours from 12 yards, despite Jordan Pickford guessing right and getting a fingertip on the spot-kick.

Despite the set-back, normal service was quickly resumed, with John Stones somehow failing to make contact with the ball with the goal at his mercy and Jesse Lingard prodding an effort against the post on the stroke of half-time after being brilliantly found by Kieran Trippier.

Those two chances sandwiched an inexplicable decision which saw England denied a penalty, despite Sassi clearly appearing to wrestle Kane to the ground as he attempted to attack a corner.

- England frustration - 

The pace of the game dropped after the interval, something which certainly suited the Tunisians more.

Having looked full of vim and verve early on when driving at players and into space, the England forward line was now unable to find the space needed to get on the ball in dangerous areas.

Maguire, who dominated in the air all night long, saw another header easily saved by substitute goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha as England toiled.

Set-pieces looked by far England's best route to a precious winner at this point, with both Trippier and Young failing to call Ben Mustapha into action with well-placed free-kicks.

As the game ticked into added-on time, both sides looked to be forced to settle for a point, but finally, England's set-piece dominance paid off with 91 minutes gone as Maguire headed Trippier's right-wing corner into the path of an unmarked Kane, who powered home his second of the game at the far post.

The delight on Southgate's face told the story as he danced along the touchline, with Kane sending England level on points with Belgium at the top of Group G. England will face World Cup newcomers Panama next up on Sunday, with Belgium taking on Tunisia a day earlier.

Matt Morley

Matt Morley

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