Published: Tue, June 19, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

England leave it late in the opening win

England leave it late in the opening win

Japan has not had the best of preparations for the World Cup in Russian Federation, and news of an natural disaster back home added to their worries on Monday, while a false hotel alarm a day before their opener against Colombia did little to help settle the team.

Sweden vs South Korea is the first match of the day, and it will begin at 5.30 pm IST, followed by Belgium vs Panama at 8.30 pm IST and Tunisia vs England at 11.20 pm IST.

But it was a distraction neither team needs in a tough Group F with defending champion Germany and Mexico.

They're in group G which also contains England and Tunisia.

But which players will Martinez be most pleased with after the win tonight?

After struggling to find the net in the first half, the talented Belgian squad comfortably reached victory with a goal by Dries Mertens and two from Romelu Lukaku.

Tunisia aren't as weak as Panama, but are still ranked 51st in the world and without a win at the World Cup since 1978, England should be flexing their muscles in Volgograd. I believe that we will now lock ourselves in a cupboard and cry for a while.

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- Panama, a country of four million living around the Canal which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, has never before qualified for the World Cup finals; people have always been more interested in baseball.

Dark-horses, Belgium, would've been buoyed about their chances in Russian Federation in the FIFA World Cup as they saw the big boys, Argentina, Spain, Germany and Brazil all falter in their opening fixture of the competition.

"Fortunately it didn't happen what everybody thought it would happen, which was for us to lose by six or seven goals", Panama coach Hernan Gomez said.

"We just got a little bit anxious but I was delighted by the way we defended", he added.

Lukaku, who was put through to the goal by Bruyne against run-a-play, failed to beat Panedo in a one-on-one situation.

Playing in their first World Cup match since the 2010 event, this Swedish team pulled off one of the epic upsets during the qualifying campaign by outsmarting Italy in a play-off after displaying tremendous team spirit and resolve. The Chelsea man has had an up and down season, but the national team captain showed his class in the warm up game against Costa Rica, receiving praise from the opposition manager.

Mouez Hassan may have lasted only 16 minutes in the Tunisia goal against England, but he used that time to make two of the finest saves of the tournament, the first with his toe from Jesse Lingard and the second a full-stretch diving stop from John Stones.

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