Camaraderie key to World Cup win over Tunisia, says Jordan Henderson

Tuesday 19 Jun 2018
Jordan Henderson (centre) celebrates with the fans after England's World Cup win over Tunisia

Jordan Henderson believes England’s team spirit was pivotal in their 2-1 victory over Tunisia.

Captain Harry Kane scored both goals, including an added-time winner, as the Three Lions got their World Cup campaign off to the perfect start.

Gareth Southgate’s side dominated possession throughout but wasted a host of chances before Kane’s late reprieve.

Tunisia 1-2 England
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Group G
  • Monday 18 June 2018
  • Volgograd Arena, Russia
The camaraderie among England’s 23-man squad had been highlighted a number of times in the build-up to Russia 2018 and Henderson reckons it was this comradeship which helped get them over the line in Volgograd.

The Liverpool skipper said: “We can be friends off the field but when you’re on the field it’s important that you’re fighting for your mate next to you. We’re fighting for each other.

“We’ve always said that we need to keep going no matter what happens. You never stop until the final whistle and thankfully it paid off for us with a late goal and a big win in the group stage.

“I thought the lads worked really hard. It was a good performance and a massive boost for us.”

Ferjani Sassi’s 35th-minute penalty was a fly in the ointment but England recovered to pick up an important opening-day win.

Both of the Three Lions’ goals came from corner kicks with Kane supplying the finishing touch on each occasion.

Kane is mobbed after nodding home the late winner

Panama, who lost 3-0 to Belgium in Group G’s other match, are next in line and, ranked 55th in the world, Southgate’s charges are widely expected to pick up another three points on Sunday.

But Henderson has tried to temper expectations.

He added: “Every game is so important. Yes it was a big win for us, a big boost – winning the first game always is – but then the next game becomes the most important, then the one after that… it goes on and on.

“We can’t get carried away. We’ve got to recover well, we’ve got to prepare well and we’ve got to play as well, if not better, in the second game to win that.

“We want to keep going, keep building momentum.”

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

By Glenn Lavery