Gareth Southgate looks to Panama after late World Cup win over Tunisia

Monday 18 Jun 2018
Gareth Southgate congratulates Jordan Henderson after England's win over Tunisia

Gareth Southgate has refused to get carried away following England’s opening-day victory at the World Cup.

Harry Kane headed home an added-time winner against Tunisia after Ferjani Sassi’s penalty had cancelled out the Three Lions’ skipper’s 11th-minute tap-in.

The result brings England level on points with Belgium, who outclassed Panama 3-0 earlier in the day, at the top of Group G and leaves Southgate’s charges in a strong position to reach the knockout stages with the Panamanians up next on Sunday.

Tunisia 1-2 England
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Group G
  • Monday 18 June 2018
  • Volgograd Arena, Russia
And the manager has asked his side to remain focused over the next week.

He said: “We’ve given ourselves a great platform to build on.

“There is so much to be pleased about tonight, in particular for me the level of performance, but there’s a lot of work to do still.

“We knew what a tough test Tunisia would be and Panama will be a tough test in a different way because they will be disappointed with [their defeat by Belgium].

“We can enjoy tonight but we’ve got to keep on performing.”

England flew out of the traps and played some great football before Kane broke the deadlock early on.

Harry Kane (No9) wheels away after opening the scoring against Tunisia

Parity was restored by Sassi’s 35th-minute spot-kick after Kyle Walker was adjudged to have blocked Fakhreddine Ben Youssef inside the box.

But Kane and co dusted themselves down and dominated possession in the second half.

Southgate added: “I’m most pleased with the way we kept playing. Even though the clock was running down we stayed patient. We didn’t just throw the ball in the box; we waited for good opportunities.

“I think we deserved the win. We created so many clear-cut chances, especially in the first half, and we were in total control of the game in the second half.

“Even if we’d have drawn the game – which would have made life more difficult for us – I’d have been proud of the performance.

“The pleasing thing was the movement, the pace, the interchange of positions and the control from the back with the ball. In the end you wear teams down and that’s what happened.

“Good teams score late goals partly because if you dominate the ball like [we did] the opposition tire.”

Watch England take on Panama at 1pm on Sunday 24 June, live on BBC One and BBC Online.

By Glenn Lavery