From Russia With

It’s on baby, it is on. England are going to win the FIFA World Cup 2018! Do you know what happened last time we scored a last-minute winner in a World Cup match? Yes, we got knocked out on penalties in the semi-finals to West Germany. Ah well, surely it is better to score a last-minute winner than not score a last-minute winner, right?

Captain Able, Harry Kane, scored a brace from a combined distance of about four yards to break the hearts of the Tunisian defenders who could only blame themselves. I mean, if you are daft enough not to rugby tackle Harry to the ground on every single corner you can hardly blame him for scoring from the two you let him roam free.

Although they left it late, the game should never have been in doubt for Gareth Southgate’s men. Regular readers of this site will know that I have defended Raheem Sterling from the vitriol he receives from the English gutter press for off-field activities. However, even I cannot defend Raheem from his performance last night. He may have scored 20-odd in City’s title-winning campaign last season but there were at least 50 moments like the one after five minutes as well. A cross comes in, Raheem realises he has his legs on the wrong way round, open goal missed from inside the six-yard box. A goal then and things would have been very, very comfortable indeed.

It wasn’t just Sterling who was guilty of passing up good opportunities. Jesse Lingard will need to do better if he wants to keep the enigma that is Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the bench for much longer.

There was another penalty, of course. Considering some of the ones that have not been given in this World Cup so far, Kyle Walker could be forgiven if he was still pleading to the referee as to why he was considered guilty. Having his arm up in the box like that was risky, but there will be many greater offences missed by all ten of the officials in this tournament. Hell, they missed two bigger ones on Captain Able later on.

I am tempted to say that I have never seen three more capable English centre-backs on the ball than Walker, Stones and Harry Maguire. Then I have to remind myself that this was a Tunisia team giving them until the middle of next week to bring the ball out, but bring it out they did and we like that. Well, I like that. I’m sure there are plenty of English fans that would like to see them ‘hit Harry’ a bit earlier.

So, England have something Brazil, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Argentina do not have. Three points on the board. What do you mean you can’t win the trophy after the first group game?

I’m also going to commit to paper that I think Belgium might slip up against Tunisia. Sure, they ended up coasting past Panama 3-0 and Big Rom looks deadly but they didn’t half take their time. Panama were “plucky but pants” according to Gary Lineker and that was probably a fair shout.

Having watched Sweden labour to a 1-0 win over South Korea courtesy of, yes, a penalty you had to wonder how the Italians felt. That could have been them out there. And, in all honesty, having watched the game myself I was starting to wonder if Zlatan had brought his boots.