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Harry Kane scored twice for England to beat Tunisia 2-1.
Harry Kane scored twice for England to beat Tunisia 2-1.

England, Belgium, Sweden Edge Past Rivals

England, Belgium, Sweden Edge Past Rivals

England captain Harry Kane declared his arrival on soccer’s biggest stage when he scored twice, including a stoppage-time winner, in a dramatic 2-1 victory over Tunisia as his team launched the World Cup campaign on Monday.
Just when it looked like the ‘Three Lions’ were going to extend their disappointing run in World Cup tournaments, Kane stooped at the far post to head home in the 91st minute, Reuters reported.
Mindful of Ronaldo’s hat-trick for Portugal against Spain on Friday and doubles for Spaniard Diego Costa, also in that match, and Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku, Kane is the first England player to score twice in a World Cup game since Gary Lineker in 1990.
Manager Gareth Southgate labeled him a “top, top striker” and said he knew the pressure the Tottenham Hotspur striker was under to deliver having failed to score at Euro 2016.
Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul said Kane was the difference between the two teams.
“It was him who was always there at the right time. He is the optimal striker,” he said. “The spaces that were created by Kane were very scary to us.”

 Belgium Outclasses Brave Panama
A stunning volley from Dries Mertens and a Romelu Lukaku double broke the resistance of a brave Panama side on the nation’s World Cup debut as Belgium cruised to a 3-0 win in the opening Group G game on Monday.
Mertens hammered home a superb volley two minutes into the second half, sending the ball arcing over Jaime Penedo after Panama struggled to clear a cross.
Lukaku’s hard work up front was rewarded when he headed home Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliant pass off the outside off his foot to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute and the big striker latched on to an Eden Hazard pass to complete the scoring with a neat finish.
 Sweden Beat South Korea
Sweden won an opening World Cup game for the first time since 1958 with a narrow 1-0 victory over South Korea in Group F.
After dominating the game but missing a string of chances, the Swedes won a 65th-minute penalty when Kim Min-woo brought down Viktor Claesson in the box. Salvadoran referee Joel Aguilar initially waved the Swedes away, before being called to consult the Video Assistant Referee system.
In the second VAR-awarded penalty of the World Cup, Sweden’s 33-year-old captain Andreas Granqvist swept the ball low and left of impressive goalkeeper Cho Hyun-woo.
The result brought wild celebrations from hordes of yellow-clad Swedish fans, fearful their team would draw another blank after failing to score in its last three games.
Sweden had not won an opening World Cup game since 1958, when it was the host and eventual runner-up.

 Big Guns’ Failure
Traditionally the stage on which the biggest teams parade their talents, this year’s World Cup has seen the Goliaths of international football stumble when faced with industrious opponents of a lesser stature.
Brazil, Germany and Argentina have lifted 11 World Cups between them, but all failed to win their opening games in Russia, prompting questions about whether this was a temporary blip or indicative of a major shift in the balance of power.
Moreover, the 2010 champion Spain failed to beat Portugal and France struggled to overcome one of the supposedly weakest Australia sides in recent years.
A competition that has only had eight winners in its 88-year history has suddenly witnessed a leveling of the playing field. As the tournament wears on, it will become apparent whether the lesser lights could turn the tide.

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