Pickford And England Off To Winning World Cup Start

Jordan Pickford became the youngest goalkeeper to play for England at a World Cup finals as the Three Lions struck a stoppage time winner to beat Tunisia 2-1 in Volgograd.

The 24-year-old Everton stopper produced a composed, assured performance in the Three Lions’ Group G opener as Harry Kane’s brace ensured Gareth Southgate’s men got off to a winning start.

After an energetic start, England deservedly went ahead on 12 minutes - former Everton defender John Stones’ thumping header from Ashley Young’s cross was brilliantly saved by Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen, but Kane was on hand to fire in the rebound.

England continued to boss proceedings, with Pickford showcasing his wide range of passing to help launch attacks from the back.

As the clock ticked past the 25-minute mark, the former Sunderland stopper still hadn’t had a shot to save but was alert to intercept a searching ball forward that former Sunderland teammate Wahbi Khazri looked set to race on to.

England were made to pay for failing to capitalise on their dominance on 35 minutes, however.

After Kyle Walker brought down Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the area. a penalty was awarded. Pickford got a fingertip to Ferjani Sassi’s spot kick but the Tunisian’s precise effort found the bottom corner.

Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli both went close as England looked to regain their advantage – while Kane had a strong shout for a penalty when he looked to be wrestled to the ground in the box - but the sides went in level at half-time.

England maintained control of the game in the second half, with Pickford rarely called into action as the majority of the game was played out in the Tunisian half.

The Three Lions appealed for penalty when Kane again went down after in a tangle in the area but Southgate’s men struggled to carve out clear cut chances against a stubborn Tunisia outfit. 

The game looked to heading for a draw but in stoppage time that man Kane headed home after Harry Maguire nodded on Kieran Trippier’s corner to spark wild celebrations among the England players.

Next up for Pickford and England is a clash with Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday, before they round off their group stage campaign against Belgium on June 28.

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