Harry Kane said he might well score three like Cristiano Ronaldo. People tittered. Instead it was just the two for the England captain as he struck the goals to gain England a precious victory in their opening Group G fixture against an obdurate, organised and occasionally cynical Tunisia. It mattered in terms of perception as well as points. These were Kane’s first tournament goals and he, and England, are up and running. What a contribution from the captain.
At times England wrestled with familiar failings. At times, Tunisia just wrestled and not least when it came to dealing with Kane who was dragged to the turf on at least two occasions inside the penalty area. The first probably was rightly not given, as John Stones already appeared to have committed a foul, but the second appeared a blatant penalty. Where was the video assistant referee (VAR)?
After being overwhelmed at set-pieces early on the Tunisians resorted to grapple tactics which seemed to have hauled England down into a usual sense of stifling frustration especially in an increasingly drifting second-half.
That was until injury-time when Harry Maguire, who was also being regularly man-handled, finally found some space to meet a corner and flick the ball towards the back-post where Kane had drifted free and headed home. Except it was not as simple as that.
The forward could easily have sent the chance over the bar but he twisted his body, strained his neck and whipped it into the net in the tight space between goalkeeper and goal-frame. In fact both of Kane’s goals came from corners. Thankfully, unlike at Euro 2016, he was not tasked with taking them.