England hero Harry Kane gushed with national pride as he spoke of his team’s performance and his own following England’s dramatic last-gasp 2-1 victory over Tunisia in their opening group game of the 2018 World Cup.
“I’m absolutely buzzing”
Making his World Cup debut, Captain Kane netted twice, the second clinching the game in the dying minutes of the match. When asked to sum up the night and the team’s efforts he told BBC Sport:
“Yeah it’s massive. I’m proud of the lads you know and it’s been tough. I thought we played really well especially in the first half, we deserved to be ahead. Okay, we maybe should have scored a few more. Obviously I’ve not seen the penalty back, but in my opinion, it didn’t look like one. But credit to the lads, we kept going, that’s what these games are about. It’s a World Cup, and you keep going to the last second. So yeah, I’m absolutely buzzing.”
From Cubs to Lions?
The team, as Kane said, showed good character. They shook off the questionable penalty that gifted Tunisia the equaliser, and not settling for the draw. Tunisia defended much better in the second half and deserve credit for containing the English attack. It was clear lessons were learned from the disastrous European campaign of 2016. When asked what had changed in England’s resolve since then, Kane replied:
“We’ve done it for a while now since the gaffer’s (Gareth Southgate) has been here. He’s really installed that into us. We’ve spoke a lot about togetherness, and we’ve got a great bond off the pitch. So it’s nice, to get it on the pitch as well in the first game, and to see it working. And that’s everyone, staff included we’re all delighted that we played well. We are really happy tonight.”
Tough Tactics From Tunisia
Kane, at times, found himself tangling with more than one Tunisian player. At one point, one player given the ‘soft’ penalty awarded against England for Kyle Walker’s stray arm, the North Africans could be considered lucky that their shirt pulling and grabbing went largely unnoticed by the referee. When asked if the referee had been one-sided during the match, he said:
“I think there could have been a couple of penalties, especially when you look at their one. Also from corners, we had so little joy, they were grabbing hold and trying to stop us running. So yeah maybe there was justice at the end to get one from the back post. But you know that’s football, and that the ref. It shows good character to get on with it, and that’s what we did.”
A Good Trip Out For Kieran
Harry Kane may have been the hero of the night but there were other excellent performances, like that of his Tottenham teammate Kieran Trippier. Right-back Trippier arguably put in his best England shift, defending well and placing some superb balls into the forwards. When asked about his comrade’s performances Kane replied:
“I’m really proud you know. We’ve done a lot of work on the training field. Obviously, we’re here now, but we’ve been watching other games and been itching to play. Like I say it’s tough, it’s the World Cup, especially the first game. Get the nerves out of the way, the excitement, you’ve got to contain it. I thought we played really well and I’m so, so proud of them.”
There was some controversy over Kane’s appointment as captain of the Three Lions, some favouring Jordan Henderson for the role. Ergo, the boy from Enfield will be delighted that his first 90 minutes wearing the armband included a win and two goals.