Volgograd : England head coach Gareth Southgate praised his team for their endeavours as Harry Kane’s late goal gave England a 2-1 victory over Tunisia in their first World Cup game in Group G.
With Kane’s early goal in the first half on Monday night, England made a near-perfect start at the Volgograd Arena here.
However, Tunisia evened the score 24 minutes later with a penalty.
“At 1-1 we had a plan which is to keep looking and keep probing,” Southgate told reporters at the post-match press conference. After the equaliser by Tunisia, the England players launched continuous fierce attacks.
FIFA statistics showed that England made 17 attempts at the goal throughout the match, while Tunisia made six.
“We created a lot of clear-cut chances in the first half, as many as I can remember us having. In the second half we dominated the game, kept our patience and looked for good opportunities rather than throwing the ball in the box,” the 47-year-old coach added.
“At the end, the pressure built and built. We did the right things and made good decisions and were good value for the win,” Southgate said.
In the 91st minute, Kane scored his second goal of the game with a well-placed header from close range which made England seal the victory.
Southgate praised Kane and said the England forward “will feel the pride of leading a country to a World Cup win is the most important thing”.
“I’m so proud of the lads,” Kane said. “They kept going, kept going to the last second.
“I am absolutely buzzing, everyone on the staff is. It shows good character to get the job done.”
England had started brightly in a blur of passing and movement and could have been two goals up inside the first four minutes.
Meanwhile, despite being disappointed with the result of the match against England Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul praised his men for the defensive attitude during the whole game.
“It’s true England controlled the match, but we defended ourselves very well for 90 minutes. We were very strong until we conceded the second goal.” the 55-year-old coach said.
“I would thank all my players for the defensive attitude. They played beyond expectations in the second half,” he told the press after the match.
“If we were to get a draw it would have been an excellent result for us. But hopefully, this will lead to higher levels of concentration in the coming games.” he added.
Regarding the performance of Harry Kane, Maaloul considered the Tottenham Hotspur forward one of the best attackers in the Premier League. Tunisia will play against Belgium in their next game on June 23.