Alli hopes World Cup injury is not serious after England start with win

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The midfielder was replaced late on against Tunisia and could be a doubt for the second group fixture against Panama

Dele Alli is hopeful the injury which forced him off late into England’s opening World Cup group game against Tunisia is not too serious.

The midfielder appeared to suffer the injury late in the first half, but after it initially looked like he was going to be replaced immediately, he stayed on before eventually being substituted in the 80th minute.

Alli’s movement off the ball was a key component of England’s impressive first-half performance in the 2-1 win over Tunisia, but his influence faded as the game wore on.

He could now be a doubt for England’s second game of the tournament against Panama on Sunday, but the Tottenham star is optimistic the problem is not too bad.

"Hopefully I am OK," Alli said post-match. "It's my quad."

England manager Gareth Southgate revealed that the decision to keep Alli on was made because he ‘was still causing a problem’ for the Tunisian backline.

Southgate said: "We had to keep monitoring Dele, he was feeling a little bit of an issue just before half-time, but he felt he could carry on and I thought the runs that he was making and the way he was pressing the ball was still causing a problem.

"He had a half chance with a lovely ball Jordan Henderson played to him, lofted over the top.

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"But we have good options on the bench and we felt to put the freshness of Marcus (Rashford) and Ruben (Loftus-Cheek) would both bring fresh energy but also a different sort of threat to the one that we'd posed."

England’s victory over Tunisia puts them joint top of the group with Belgium, who beat Panama 3-0 earlier on Monday.

With Panama next up at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Southgate could decide to rest Alli and bring Loftus-Cheek into the starting line-up rather than take any risks on his fitness.

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