Millennium Post

Confident England aim to build on winning start

Repino: Confident England will start as hot favourites against debutants Panama in a Group G FIFA World Cup clash here at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Sunday.

England struggled against the well organised and physically imposing Tunisian defence in their first match of the tournament. Skipper and star striker Harry Kane's last gasp winner in second half injury time handed England a winning start for the first time in a major tournament after 12 years.

England dominated the game and wasted a hatful of chances against Tunisia, and on Sunday coach Gareth Southgate would want his wards to improve on that.

Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard were particularly guilty of spurning simple chances before Kane saved them the blushes.

Kane, who plays for Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League (EPL) and is a two-time EPL Golden Boot winner, lived up to his billing and performed on the biggest stage for his country with the first double by an English player at the World Cup since Gary Lineker in 1990.

Southgate's planned team was inadvertently revealed when assistant manager Steve Holland's notes were photographed at training on Thursday.

According to the notes, Marcus Rashford will replace Sterling with Ruben Loftus-Cheek stepping in for Dele Alli, who suffered a thigh injury against Tunisia. "If we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team it's a disadvantage to us," Southgate was quoted as saying as he criticised the media for helping the opposition. "So of course our media has to decide if they want to help the team or not."

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