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Tunisia v England Live Commentary, 18/06/2018

1 - 2
F. Sassi (35 pen)
H. Kane (11)
H. Kane (90+1)
Volgograd Arena


Thanks for joining our commentary this evening. Until next time, goodbye.
England and Belgium are off the mark in Group G. Both sides can qualify for the next phase of the competition in their next matches, with Tunisia facing a vital contest against Belgium on Sunday.
England are off the mark with a victory thanks to their skipper Harry Kane. The striker notched a brace converting from two corners, the last of which came in stoppage time as he guided a close-range header past Farouk Ben Mustapha. It looked as though Tunisia had done enough to secure a point as Ferjani Sassi cancelled out Kane's opener from the penalty spot. However, the Three Lions kept on pressing and found their goal to claim the win.
90' + 4' England take time off the clock in the corner and that could be it for Southgate's men.
E. Dier
J. Lingard
90' + 3' A defensive sub for England now as Dier replaces Lingard.
H. Maguire
90' + 1' Maguire wins the header from the corner for Kane to reach and convert.
H. Kane
90' + 1' GOALLLLLLLLLLL!!!! KANE AGAIN!!!!! ENGLAND LEAD 2-1!!!!! Kane scores his second of the game with a well-placed header from close range. He may have won the game for his team at the death. Trippier's corner was headed to the back post by Maguire where Kane was lurking without the presence of a Tunisia defender. He only had Ben Mustapha to beat and he directed his effort beyond the reach of the keeper into the net.
90' + 1' Loftus-Cheek battles down the right flank to win a corner for the Three Lions.
90' There will be four minutes of added time.
89' Loftus-Cheek makes another burst down the right, but this time the ball escapes his feet and rolls out for a goal-kick.
88' Loftus-Cheek makes a good run down the right and he cuts the ball back for Rashford. The striker opts to leave the ball for Lingard, but Syam Ben Youssef makes the interception.
86' Rashford is pulled down and the referee awards a free-kick to England. Trippier brings the ball forward a few yards off the touchline, much to the displeasure of the Tunisia players.
S. Khalifa
W. Khazri
85' Khalifa replaces the tiring legs of Khazri.
83' Another keeper down for Tunisia as Ben Mustapha takes a whack from Stones in the air. The referee awards a foul for the challenge, although it was a fair contest between the two players.
82' Rashford charges down the left flank and he drives into the box before winning a corner for the Three Lions.
R. Loftus-Cheek
D. Alli
80' Alli makes way for Loftus-Cheek. The Tottenham man had struggled with a thigh injury since the first half.
79' OVER! Young bends the ball over the wall, but he lifts his strike sails over the bar.
78' Alli is tripped on the edge of the box and it hands England a free-kick in a dangerous position. Young will take the set-piece.
77' Rashford bamboozles his man on the right flank before knocking the ball back to Trippier to cross. Kane nudges it back to Lingard, but Syam Ben Youssef makes the interception.
75' The tempo is too slow from England as Tunisia sit deep in their shape at the back.
M. Ben Amor
N. Sliti
74' A defensive-minded sub from Tunisia as Ben Amor replaces Sliti, which will see Khazri move up front.
73' Sliti has space on the edge of the box and he strikes at goal with his left foot, but his shot sails comfortably wide of the post.
72' Khazri latches on to a ball over the top and he goes for the blast, only to fire his effort straight into the legs of Stones.
70' Henderson teases a pass over Syam Ben Youssef towards the back post for Alli's run. The defender lets the ball drop to the keeper and Alli almost breaks in, although he was offside anyway.
69' WIDE! Trippier goes for goal as he curls his effort over the wall towards the bottom corner. However, Ben Mustapha watches the ball sail comfortably wide.
M. Rashford
R. Sterling
68' Sterling makes way for England as Southgate does alter his attacking options, with Rashford entering the action.
68' Alli and Kane are caught in quick succession, the latter of which yields a free-kick in a good position for the Three Lions.
66' England build down the right and Henderson whips a cross to the back post for the run of Maguire, but the ball goes out for a goal-kick.
65' Sterling collects the ball in a decent position and tries a backheeled offload to Young, who loses out to Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the corner.
64' Alli wins a header in the final third, but the ball does not fall for Sterling. Southgate may have to ponder changes with his attacking options.
62' Sterling backs into Meriah and has a hold of the Tunisia defender's shirt. The referee awards a free-kick to Tunisia for the shirt pull.
60' Henderson picks out Trippier on the right flank, but his low cross into the box is cleared behind by Maaloul on the slide.
59' Sterling turns his way into the box and tries to turn his way past two white shirts, only to be stopped in his tracks.
58' England are trying to push up the field to leave Tunisia no space to play out from the back. It's a compressed game at the moment.
56' Kane sends Henderson down the right inside channel, but his cross just evades Alli at the back post. England are just lacking that cutting edge in the final third.
54' Tunisia are not afraid to use the ball in possession, knocking the ball around at the back. England are trying to close them down, but they are just getting around the red shirts.
52' Khazri makes a good run past Maguire down the right inside channel. Pickford commits himself and does not reach the ball. However, Khazri is caught offside from the long ball as he takes possession. Replays show that he timed his run to perfection. It has not been a good night for the officials thus far.
51' Meriah has his arms all over Kane at the resulting free-kick, but the referee waves play on. Stones makes contact with Trippier's corner, only to head straight at Ben Mustapha.
50' Sterling runs at the Tunisia defence, but he loses possession as he looks for a team-mate. However, Meriah puts Ben Mustapha in all sorts of trouble with his backpass, with the keeper slicing his effort out for a corner.
48' A sloppy start to the second half as both sides give away possession cheaply. Southgate will want his side to retain their composure.
46' We're back underway in Volgograd.
Gareth Southgate's men were the better side, but missed a slew of chances. Tunisia have looked active on the break and pose a threat with the speed of their attack. The game remains in the balance heading into the second half.
It's all square in the Volgograd Arena after 45 minutes. England took the lead through Harry Kane in the 11th minute as he converted from close range after John Stones saw his header saved. However, the Three Lions were unable to capitalise on their chances and were duly punished at the other end. Tunisia won a penalty when Kyle Walker caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef with a loose arm. Ferjani Sassi fired his effort into the bottom corner to notch the equaliser.
45' + 2' Both sides are slowing the tempo of the game as we approach the end of the half. Tunisia seem keen for the half to end as soon as possible.
45' There will be three minutes of added time.
44' OFF THE POST! Lingard makes a brilliant run into the right inside channel to latch on to Trippier's ball over the top. He knocks the ball past Ben Mustapha, but it strikes the wrong side of the post before heading wide.
43' OVER! Trippier floats a cross into the box from a free-kick and Maguire wins the head. It falls to Lingard on the penalty spot, only to see his left-footed drive diverted over the bar.
41' England are putting the pressure back on Tunisia after conceding. However, their finishing has not been the best in the final third.
40' Kane was hauled to the ground in the process of the scramble, and no decision was made by the referee to award a penalty to England.
39' CLOSE! Young floats his free-kick to the back post and Maguire knocks the header down. Alli flicks it over his head towards goal, but three Tunisia defenders are on the line to clear. Sterling takes a swipe at the ball, only to mis-kick his effort. Stones suffers the same fate before Tunisia clear the danger.
38' Sterling goes down on the left flank in the corner. Young will lift the set-piece to the back post.
36' Alli is struggling with a thigh complaint for England. He may have to make way here.
F. Sassi
Penalty Goal
35' GOALLLLLLLLLL!!!! SASSI LEVELS FROM THE SPOT!!! 1-1! Sassi holds his composure from the spot as he fires his effort beyond the reach of Pickford into the bottom corner. Walker is punished for his mistake and Tunisia notch the equaliser.
K. Walker
Yellow Card
33' Walker goes into the book for his arm on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.
33' PENALTY TO TUNISIA! Fakhreddine Ben Youssef goes down under the arm of Walker and the referee points to the spot. The midfielder was attempting to latch on to Bronn's cross, but was blocked off by Walker's elbow.
33' England work the ball down the right and Alli fires the ball low into the box, but Syam Ben Youssef is there to clear the danger ahead of Kane.
31' SAVE! England win a free-kick following a handball by Bronn. Trippier floats his cross to the back post for Maguire to head at goal. The defender gets a decent connection, although Ben Mustapha gets down to make a comfortable save.
29' Henderson plays a cross-field pass that Trippier almost works into the path of Lingard in the right inside channel, but Meriah is across to make the covering challenge.
28' Khazri bends a threatening delivery towards the near post, but Maguire is on hand to win an important header to clear the danger.
27' WIDE! Two mistakes from Maguire and Walker allow Tunisia to break to the edge of the box. Sassi goes for the strike, only to see his effort diverted behind by a wall of red shirts.
26' Khazri makes a good run to latch on to Syam Ben Youssef's ball over the top. Pickford races off his line and is able to beat the forward to gather on the edge of the box.
24' CHANCE! Young floats a dangerous cross to the back post where Lingard is unmarked. The midfielder has an age to figure out what to do with his effort, only to scuff his strike at goal. A huge opportunity spurned by the Three Lions.
23' OVER! Khazri's corner travels over the heads of everyone in the box. Sliti gathers and beats the challenge of Alli before firing at goal, but he hammers his effort over the bar.
22' Bronn finds space down the right and he charges past Alli. He gets to the byline before Alli gets there to make the block, although Tunisia win a corner.
20' Kane and Alli look to combine on the edge of the box, but the presence of Maaloul is there to stop the latter's run into the box.
18' SAVE! Walker releases Trippier down the right flank and he fires a low ball into the box. It somehow misses Kane and Alli in the middle. Henderson gathers on the edge of the box and fires at goal on the half-volley, but Ben Mustapha gets down to make the save.
17' Fakhreddine Ben Youssef tries to bring the ball forward for Tunisia, but Young makes a strong challenge to knock him off his stride.
16' Kane has scored in seven of his last eight appearances for England, including each of his last four (nine goals).
F. Ben Mustapha
M. Hassen
15' Ben Mustapha comes on to replace the injured Hassen. Mathlouthi started the last game against Spain, but now seems to be third choice.
13' Hassen is down again for Tunisia. He appeared to aggravate his injury when denying Stones' header. He may have to make way here.
H. Kane
11' GOALLLLLLLLLL!!!! KANE STRIKES!! ENGLAND LEAD 1-0!!!! Kane has a dream start to the tournament as he taps home from close range to put his team ahead. Young floated his cross into the middle for Stones to attack. The defender powered an effort towards the top corner. Hassen made a fine save, but Kane was there to pounce on the rebound to convert.
10' BLOCK! Kane turns in the final third after collecting Maguire's pass. The striker goes for goal from the edge of the box, only to see his effort deflected behind for a corner.
9' Tunisia build in the England half with a neat spell of possession, but Sassi wastes the attack with a loose pass out to Bronn.
8' Fakhreddine Ben Youssef goes down off the ball under contact from Young. The referee has a word with the wing-back, but nothing else as England are allowed to continue with their throw-in.
6' Hassen falls awkwardly as he raced out to confront Lingard. He receives treatment on the pitch before continuing for Tunisia.
5' England break through Alli and he offloads to Lingard in the left inside channel. He cuts the ball back to Sterling, but the winger is offside as he connects in the box.
4' CLOSE! Maguire wins the head from the resulting corner and his effort loops towards the corner, but Hassen gets across to make the stop, turning it away from Kane.
3' SAVE! Lingard almost gets England off and running as he latches on to Alli's cutback. However, Hassen sticks out a leg and turns the ball past the post.
2' Hassen is put under pressure by Syam Ben Youssef and he puts his pass wide of Bronn into touch.
1' Trippier overhits his offload towards Lingard down the right flank and it travels through for Hassen to gather.
1' We're underway in Volgograd.
The players are out on the pitch, so we should be underway shortly after the anthems.
England have won only one of their last eight games at the World Cup (D4 L3), a 1-0 victory over Slovenia in June 2010. They have also never scored more than one goal in their last nine games at the tournament.
Tunisia won their first ever game at the World Cup on 2 June 1978 (3-1 v Mexico). Since then, they have failed to win any of their 11 subsequent games in the competition (D4 L7). The record belongs to Bulgaria who suffered a run of 17 winless games from 1962 to 1994.
Youssef Msakni is missing for Tunisia after suffering a knee injury in April. It places further responsibility on Khazri and Sliti in the final third to maximise their opportunities. England kept seven clean sheets in their 10 games before the tournament, highlighting the challenge ahead of Tunisia's attack this evening.
Swarms of flies have been an issue in Volgograd due to the heat. Both sets of players will have to contend with the insects, although the temperature inside the Volgograd Arena should be cool.
Tunisia and England’s last encounter was in the group stages of the 1998 World Cup. England won 2-0 in Marseille. Their only other meeting was in a June 1990 friendly which ended 1-1.
Southgate has opted for Pickford in goal rather than Butland, with the two having split duties in the friendly matches. Maguire, Young and Henderson get the nod ahead of Cahill, Rose and Dier. Lingard starts ahead of his Manchester United team-mate Rashford, while Kane leads the line alongside Sterling.
Tunisia have made two changes from their loss against Spain last time out. Khaoui drops out of the line to be replaced by Khazri, who lines up behind Sliti in attack. Hassen is preferred to Mathlouthi between the sticks.
England's starting XI has an average age of 26y 16d; their youngest for the opening game of a World Cup tournament since 2002 vs Sweden (25y 207d).
For their ninth successive World Cup tournament, England's starting XI in their opening game have never all previously started a England game together before.
England subs: Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Jamie Vardy, Jack Butland, Danny Welbeck, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Fabian Delph, Marcus Rashford, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nick Pope.
ENGLAND (3-1-4-2): Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Jordan Henderson; Kieran Trippier, Jesse Lingard; Dele Alli, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.
Tunisia subs: Farouk Ben Mustapha, Yohan Benalouane, Oussama Haddadi, Rami Bedoui, Saif-Eddine Khaoui, Mohamed Ben Amor, Ahmed Khalil, Aymen Mathlouthi, Bassem Srarfi, Saber Khalifa, Ghilane Chaalali, Hamdi Nagguez.
TUNISIA (4-4-1-1): Mouez Hassen; Dylan Bronn, Syam Ben Youssef, Yassine Meriah, Ali Maaloul; Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Ellyes Skhiri, Ferjani Sassi, Anice Badri; Wahbi Khazri; Naim Sliti.
Let's take a look at the two teams this evening, starting with Tunisia.
Tunisia's nine-match unbeaten run was ended by Spain in their final warm-up match before the tournament. They have beaten the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Iran, Guinea and Costa Rica over the past year. However, Nabil Maaloul's men will need to raise the level of their game this evening.
England have been in good form since qualifying for the World Cup. Southgate's men are unbeaten in their 10 matches, with their last defeat coming at the hands of France in a friendly match last year. The Three Lions warmed up for the tournament with victories over Costa Rica and Nigeria, without firing on all cylinders, but they have momentum to take into the contest in Volgograd.
Tunisia will be desperate to emulate Iceland's performance. They have reached the tournament for the first time since 2006, but in their four forays into the competition they've never advanced beyond the group stage. Wahbi Khazri leads the line and the Sunderland man will be keen to continue his form with a shining display on the world stage.
England will be looking to kick off their World Cup campaign on the front foot to banish the memories of their last exploits at major tournaments into oblivion. The Three Lions suffered the ultimate humiliation at the hands of Iceland, knocking them out of Euro 2016. It brought about the end of Roy Hodgson, and via Sam Allardyce, Gareth Southgate is now charged with an improved performance this time around.
Hello and welcome to live text commentary of the Group G match between Tunisia and England at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.