Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Gary Neville: England's late win over Tunisia a huge moment

Gary Neville: England's late win over Tunisia a huge moment

The scores remain tied at 1-1 past the 90th minute, and it looked as if the Three Lions were headed for more World Cup disappointment.

If the second half became more of a war of attrition as Tunisia defended deeper, Southgate has every right to be delighted about so many aspects of England's first-half display as well as the victory.

Tunisia arrived in Russian Federation with a reputation for a solid defence, but they looked shaky early in the game and Kane pounced to put England ahead.

"I definitely didn't expect the manager to drop him against Slovenia and as soon as we all saw that we knew that that gaffer was not somebody to be messed around with", said Rose.

The ineffective Sterling gave way to Marcus Rashford with just over 20 minutes to go and the Manchester United man nearly fashioned a chance straight away with a jinking run into the box. We were strong on set-plays all night.

"Even if we had drawn the game I would have been proud of us but good teams score late goals". He got away with it against Tunisia when he erred in the first half but may not against Belgium, Brazil or Germany. John Stones met Ashley Young's corner with a great header, and even though goalkeeper Hassen made an excellent save to claw it out the ball fell to the feet of Kane who slotted home from just three yards out.

Southgate's men will have been frustrated by their profligacy, Lingard latching on to a ball over the top and knocking it past Ben Mustapha, only to see it trickle onto the post and wide.

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"A few corners, they were trying to grab, hold and stop us running". So maybe there was a bit of justice at the end to get one at the back post.

England paid the price for their wastefulness when the North Africans, who had barely begun to press forward, were awarded a penalty before the break. It showed good character to get on with it.

"Whilst you would have heard all the interviews of having "played well, being over it and building to Panama", it would have been hard over the next few days".

The experiment of moving Kyle Walker to centre-back had been largely successful before the World Cup, with Manchester City's mercurial man impressing there in recent friendlies against Italy, Nigeria and the Netherlands.

For Harry Kane, who scored both of England's goals, they clearly were.

"Harry Maguire's potential is huge", said Southgate.

Maguire said: "I had a couple of nervy passes in the first half - it's a big occasion and your first game at this high pressure".

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