01:30 am: Well, that was a pretty ordinary performance – but ask any team or manager whether they prefer 3 points or a great performance in the first match of a World Cup, the answer would be unanimously the former. In that sense, a good night for England and their fans. We’ll leave you with some post-match comments. That will be all from us. Good night!
FULL-TIME: ENGLAND HAVE SNATCHED A LATE WIN!
A dreary performance but Southgate, an absolutely elated Southgate, won’t mind. And it’s yet another North African team that has lost to a late, late goal.
After 92 minutes, Tunisia 1-2 England
A corner swung in by Trippier, flicked on Maguire and turned in at the far post smartly by Kane. Poacher’s finish!
91st minute: GOALLLLLLL, HARRY KANE! COMETH THE CRUNCH TIME, COMETH THE KANE!
After 88 minutes, Tunisia 1-1 England
Loftus-Cheek to his credit has had a few bright moments since coming on, but this has been a rather painful second half to watch.
83rd minute: Rashford with some good footwork down the left byline, results in a corner. Decent delivery, but the GK punches it away.
Break in play.. as the substitute goalkeeper is in pain now! Seems alright to continue. Tunisia make their final substitution.
79th minute: And Ashley young curls it over the wall and over the goal...
Substitution: Delle Alli comes off for Loftus-Cheek. Wait, is that a defensive move now?
78th minute: Alright, more energy in England’s game now. A few good crosses into the box, just no finishing touch. And now a freekick from a dangerous, central position. At least Trippier is not taking this... it’s... Ashley Young. Oh. Well...
74th minute: Ben Amor comes for on Tunisia in their first outfield change of the night. Remember they had to bring on their reserve goalkeeper early on.
As for the actual football. we have nothing to report.
69th minute: Marcus Rashford comes on, maybe he will bring this game to life? Sterling is done for the night. Trippier, who seems to be the designated free kick taker, sends one wide of goal.
66th minute: We are happy to report that the crowd has started a round of Mexican wave. Perhaps the most exciting thing to happen this half.
After 61 mins, Tunisia 1-1 England
Pretty pedestrian pace to this match, otherwise. Tunisia will be happy with the status quo.
And imagine this...
After 61 mins, Tunisia 1-1 England
England are threatening down the right flank, with Trippier finding some space. Henderson, for the fourth time by our count, hits a wonderful diagonal ball that Trippier controls well but the cross is diverted for a corner. Stones header from the corner is cleared away.
12:47 am: Meanwhile...
12:46 am: Not many happy with the refereeing / Tunisian defending, understandably
After 55 mins, Tunisia 1-1 England
Pedestrian start to the half by both sides, nothing much in terms of productivity.
Meanwhile, Mr. Lineker is not impressed. And he has a point, at least as far as the Kane manhandling inside the penalty area goes.
50th minute: A fortuitous corner for England after misunderstanding in the Tunisian defence.. will it prove costly? Shot on target... saved. Oh, more man-handling inside the box. This is, frankly, ridiculous inconsistency from the referee.
47th minute: Tunisia keeping the ball well to start the second half but concede a freekick deep in England half.
SECOND HALF BEGINS: More drama in store? We bet.
FIRST HALF TALKING POINTS: England’s start to the match came as a breath of fresh air but since then, frustration has set in, mainly due to the missed chances of Stones and Lingard... and most importantly, this tackle on Kane.. if VAR is not used to give this a penalty, then what is the point?
FIRST HALF STATS: England with three times the number of shots as their opponents, and five attempts on target. They’ve hit the woodwork twice too but Tunisia are level on the stat that matters. 1-1.
HALF-TIME: After a refreshingly fast start, England have reverted to default mode in Volgograd. They took an early lead through Harry Kane, only for Kyle Walker to give away a penalty, as Sassi equalised for Tunisia. 1-1 with 45 minutes to go.
Maybe England do need some magical help?
Stoppage time in first half: It’s been an “eventful” (read: comic) end to the first 45 minutes...
45th minute: CHANCE LINGARD! For what feels like too many times in this half, Lingard has a chance to score after being through on goal – tries to chip the onrushing goalkeeper but the effort is tame and in slow motion, hits the post and rolls away for a goal kick.
After 42 minutes, Tunisia 1-1 England
Just England things, eh? Conceding goals out of nowhere due to an individual error – which Lineker thinks wasn’t a penalty. Not the hardest of tackles, agreed. But a silly, avoidable, off-the-ball challenge. At the other end though, England go mighty close from a goalmouth scramble – during which Harry Kane was rugby-tackled down to the ground. Now, that should be a clear penalty.
37th minute: England break at speed after they were stretched themselves at the back once again. A slip by Tunisia’s winger lets England off, the resulting break comes to nothing.
35th minute: GOAL TUNISIA! Ferjani Sassi scores the spot-kick for Tunisia and they’re level. Pickford guesses the right way but this is well placed to his bottom right. 1-1. Game on!
33rd minute: PENALTY, TUNISIA! Oh, Kyle Walker, what are you doing? A cross from the right into the box... Walker just nonchalantly uses him arm bring the striker down inside the box. Silly. VAR Check is done, it’s a penalty.
30th minute: Henderson has played some lovely crossfield passes tonight. Meanwhile, a free-kick from deep for England, the delivery is good and finds Macguire at the far post, headed straight to the goalkeeper though.
Can’t argue with this, eh?
27th minute: Tunisia growing into this game now. A shot from outside the block is deflected over, and the resulting corner is delivered to a dangerous area but cleared away.
After 25 minutes, Tunisia 0-1 England
England continue to create chances to score, working the wide areas to good effect. Lingard volleys it high and wide from close range. Tunisia manage to get a shot on goal away, from long range – very high and not so handsome.
18th minute: Good move by England. Trippier is freed down the right flank and his cut-back is deliciously well-hit but no England player can get a touch. Rebound falls to Henderson who strikes from a distance to test the new goalkeeper, who’s alert to the task.
After 17 minutes, Tunisia 0-1 England
Early substitution for Tunisia as keeper Hassen is taken off injured, replaced by Farouk Ben Mustapha.
13th minute: Hassen is receiving more treatment... and this time it looks like his game is done.
HOW ABOUT THIS FOR A STAT?
11th minute: GOALLLL, ENGLAND! Harry Kane, who else? Corner comes in from the left, Stones sends in a powerful header which is saved brilliantly by Hassen but he can only palm it on to the foot of Kane, and it’s the easiest of finishes for the England captain.
After 9 mins, Tunisia 0-0 England
Bit of a lull after that frantic start.
DID YOU KNOW: Gareth Southgate is the first England manager not born when they won the World Cup in 1966.
CORRECTION: It was Lingard who set up Sterling for that chance earlier.
6th minute: Break in play as the already busy Hassen gets treatment for a shoulder injury.
5th minute: ANOTHER CHANCE ENGLAND! Lingard this time down the left, cuts the ball back for Raheem Sterling who makes an absolute mess with the goal gaping. Fortunately for him, Lingard was offside. Would have been an embarrassing miss otherwise.
3rd minute: WHAT A CHANCE ENGLAND! Henderson releases Delle Alli down the right who’s cut back is only partially cleared. Delle Alli steals the ball again and sets up Lingard who hits a first time shot at goal saved BRILLIANTLY by Tunisia’s goalkeeper Hassen. A trailing left boot takes the ball away.
KICK-OFF! A set of 11 Englishmen who are playing together for the first time...
11:28 pm: Mr. Lineker is excited...
11:25 pm: National anthem time... it’s almost time for the kick-off.
11:20 pm: Tunisia were in the news in the lead up to the World Cup, for a very interesting reason. Tunisia’s goalkeeper Mouez Hassen faked ‘injuries’ in friendlies – against Portugal and Turkey – coinciding with the time of sunset, which is when Muslims observing Ramadan break fast, letting his teammates grab a drink and a snack! And the scored minutes after restart on both occasions!
11:16 pm: Here’s the match report of Belgium’s (eventually easy) win.
11:10 pm: England failed to get out of their group in Brazil in 2014 and were humiliated by tiny Iceland in Euro 2016 in France but Southgate insisted his side were only looking to the future. Here’s what he has been saying in the lead up to the match:
“This team shouldn’t be burdened with [the past record] because they’re a fresh group, most of them have very few international caps, so the future is all ahead of them.
“They’ve got to be thinking about what’s possible, the players of the past and the opportunities of the past are gone.
“This team is looking at things in a different way, trying to play in a different way.
“The first thing is to have a really clear understanding of how we want to play because when you’re in tense moments of games everybody knows they’re in their individual role and the team are connected on the pitch,”
11:05 pm: England’s opponents tonight, Tunisia, have an unwanted record coming into this World Cup. Among the 32 teams in Russia, they have the longest winless streak in World Cup finals – 11 games. Their last win? 3-1 against Mexico in 1978, which incidentally was the first time ever an African side won a match at the World Cup finals.
10:57 pm: As we wait for kick-off, take a few minutes off and read this... you’ll not regret it.
10:50 pm: It’s 12th (England) vs 21st (Tunisia) in the Fifa rankings. They met at the World Cup on 15 June, 1998, when Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes scored for the English in a 2-0 win at Marseilles. Gareth Southgate played the full 90 back then. He’d probably play the full 90 in his head tonight – a far more daunting proposition, we are sure.
10:46 pm: Away from the England-Tunisia game for a minute... Have you figured out yet how Mexico defeated Germany? No? Well, this might be the answer.
10:44 pm: Another stat to underline just how young (read: inexperienced) this England side is.
10:40 pm: Confirmation of both the starting lineups. No Chelsea and Arsenal player in an England starting XI at the World Cup. Wonder when was the last time (if ever) that happened...
10:34 pm: Full time in the first Group G match as Romelu Lukaku’s brace takes Belgium home. Read how that match went down in our live blog.
10:19 pm: Alright, England fans. Here’s the starting XI for your side tonight.
(Graphic: @England / Twitter)
10:16 pm: England have a new man at the helm and it’s the prolific Harry Kane will lead his team out tonight. Hear him speak about what the tournament means to him.
10:15 pm: Hello all and welcome to The Field’s live blog of the Group G encounter between England and Tunisia. The Three Lions have brought a young squad to Russia without too much baggage of the disappointments from past tournaments but they start as favourites aganist Tunisia in their opener. A win is essential for Gareth Southgate’s men if they hope to progress, with Belgium starting their campaign with three points.