World Cup 2018: England Always Expects and Tottenham’s Harry Kane Rises to Save the Day at the Death
England 2–1 Tunisia: The Three Lions had 60% possession, 17 shots, and 7 shots on goal versus 1 for the very brave Tunisians, but the match was still tied going into time added on. However, despite some dodgy referee calls and non-calls (when Kane was twice wrestled to the ground in the penalty area without VAR being used), Kane nodded England to victory.
London-born Kane, who’s played his whole professional career with Tottenham, is proudly called “one of our own” by his fans. Now, he’s captaining England, which hasn’t won the World Cup since 1966. In perhaps a positive sign, Kane led his team out in a red jersey — the 1966 England captain Bobby Moore also led his team out in red.
As for England snatching victory from the jaws of a tough draw, Kane observed:
“It was a massive win, and I’m so proud of the lads. I thought we played very well. There are always a bit of nerves, a bit of excitement, but we got into the game very quickly, We could’ve scored a few more.Then it went to 1–1 and the momentum changed a bit. But, credit to the lads, we kept going. There could’ve been a couple of penalties — maybe a little bit of justice that we got it at the end. Absolutely buzzing.”
American-based Tunisia fan, Mourad Bensalem was gracious in defeat: “Congratulations to England, you guys did it in the 91st minute and Harry Kane is unbelievable, like always. We couldn’t finish 94 minutes and we didn’t play so well. Overall, we didn’t deserve it, not even a 1–1 tie, to be honest. This high level is too tough for us that’s for sure.”
Other games today.
Belgium 3–0 Panama: One of the tournament’s favorites, the Belgians, took a half to get going then won going away in a canter with some excellent goals and ManU’s Lukaku nabbed two of them. The Red Devils will play England’s Lions in the third game in this group, probably to determine first place.
Sweden 1–0 Korea Republic: In another early but dour game, VAR helped Sweden earn a PK from which its captain scored the winner.
The last of the first round group games kick off on Tuesday.
The jury is still out on VAR and there will be more twists, turns and disagreements. But, there have been some interesting observations.
American-born Philip Crippen: “I counted 3 out of 4 quality takedowns by the Tunisians. Well done, but we were actually playing football.”
And, London-born and now LA-based Greg Palmer: “The answer is quite clear. There is a very obvious anti-England bias in regards to this, just one in a series of appalling refereeing decisions that enabled the Tunisian team to stay in the match. Same with Brazil’s Neymar, the Swiss set out to kick him off the ball as often as possible without risking getting sent off. The ref was yards away, looking right at it. There should be a VAR challenge permitted by the Manager/Captain in each half, get it correct you keep the challenge. But some decisions or non-decisions have been shocking!”
To paraphrase Shakespeare, To VAR or not to VAR, that is the question.
Download a terrific World Cup 2018 Guide at TotumSport.