Harry Kane was there when his country needed him, bagging a brace as England beat Tunisia in Volgograd. The English captain put the Three Lions in front in the first half before scoring the winner in the final moments.
England 1-2 Tunisia — Group G
(Kane 11', 90+1' — Sassi pen. 35')
Harry Kane was the man of the hour in Volgograd Arena on Monday, scoring a late winner in second-half stoppage time to lift England to a 2-1 win over Tunisia.
With the score tied 1-1 after 90 minutes, Harry Maguire flicked on a corner from Kieran Trippier. Kane, open at the far post, buried a header over the line to win it for England.
"That's what the World Cup is about," Kane told BBC after the game. "I'm really proud of the players."
Kane, 24, sported the captain's armband for England, making him the youngest ever England captain at a World Cup.
He also scored the opening goal for in the first half after Tunisian goalkeeper Mouez Hassen had parried a John Stones header from a corner — a save that injured Hassen's left shoulder and forced him to leave moments later. But Kane had little time for sympathy as he volleyed in the rebound to put England ahead.
England dominated Tunisia in the first half, outshooting their North African opponents 12-4. But the two sides were level at the break after Ferjani Sassi converted from the spot - although the penalty decision was controversial.
Tunisia were awarded a penalty after Kyle Walker's elbow met the head of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Ferjani Sassi scored the ensuing spot kick off the finger tips of a diving Jordan Pickford.
Moments later, Raheem Sterling hit a free kick from the left wing towards the far post. Kane fell over before he could get to it, appearing to be tackled to the ground by Youssef. Referee Wilmar Roldan, who appeared to be looking right at the incident, allowed play to continue.
England were up in arms again shortly after the break. As Dele Alli connected with a corner from Trippier, Yassine Mariah appeared to have prevented Kane from breaking free again by holding the English forward at the far post. Mariah wagged his finger at Kane, but the Tottenham Hotspur star thought he was hard done by.
"I feel there had to be one or two penalties in there. They were trying to get a hold of us and try to stop us running," Kane complained post-match. "But it shows good character to get on with it and that's what we did."
The victory put England second in Group G behind Belgium, who defeated Panama 3-0 earlier in the day. Tunisia face Belgium on Saturday in the second round of the group stage, while England will take on Panama on Sunday.
As it happened...
90+3' England substitution — Erik Dier replaces Jessie Lingard, a tactical substitution from Gareth Southgate.
90+1' GOAL — Harry Maguire heads on a corner from Kieren Trippier to Harry Kane. The England captain buries a header into the back of the net to put England back in front.
90+1' — Four minutes added on.
88' — Ruben Loftus-Cheek crosses the ball on the ground to Marcus Rashford. Rashford tries to leave it for Harry Kane at the top of the penalty area, but Tunisia clears the ball away.
85' Tunisia substitution — Saber Khalifa replaces Wahbi Khazri, a straight change from Nabil Maaloul.
83' — Marcus Rashford heads to the goal line trying to dribble the ball around two Tunisian defenders, but the ball is cleared out for a corner. John Stones collides with Farouk Ben Mustafa on the ensuing corner as Mustafa is punching the ball away.
80' England substitution — Ruben Loftus-Cheek replaces Dele Alli, a straight change from Gareth Southgate.
78' — Syam Ben Youssef fouls Dele Alli not far outside the penalty area, another terrific free kick opportunity for England. Ashley Young's curls the free kick well, but it still flies over the crossbar.
73' Tunisia substitution — Mohamed Ben Amor replaces Naim Sliti, a tactical substituion from Nabil Maaloul. Ben Amor moves centrally, and Anice Badri moves out to the flank.
72' — Naim Sliti dribbles forward before firing from distance, but his shot flies wide left. It was Tunisia's first shot in the second half.
71' — Jordan Henderson chips a ball over to Dele Alli in the penalty area, but the flag goes up for offside.
68' England substitution — Marcus Rashford replaces Raheem Sterling, a straight change from Gareth Southgate.
68' — Yassine Meriah fouls Harry Kane 30 meters from goal, setting up a solid set piece chance for England. Kyrian Trippier curls his free kick wide to the left.
64' — Harry Kane passes to Raheem Sterling on the left wing. He leaves the ball for Ashley Young, but Dylan Bronn steps in for the interception. Young fouls Bronn trying to win the ball back to end the chance.
57' — Jordan Henderson takes the ball near the goal line and crosses from the right, but the ball sails past Jessie Lingard at the far post.
52' — Kieran Trippier find Dele Alli's head on a corner, but Alli's long-range header sales over the crossbar.
46' Second half
20:50 — Some halftime statistics...
45+1' — Three minutes added onto the first half, presumably for the break in play that resulted from Mouez Hassen's injury.
45' — Jessie Lingard is played into the penalty area. He fires a shot around an oncoming Mustafa, but his shot hits the outside of the right post.
43' — Kieran Trippier's free kick is headed on by Jordan Henderson. Kyle Walker collects it and passes it back to Jessie Lingard. Lingard fires a shot on the half-volley, and it is blocked over the bar for a corner. Naim Sliti clears the ensuing corner only as far as Trippier, but Mustafa saves Trippier's cross.
40' — Major chance for England. Dele Alli's header is cleared from the goal line by Syam Ben Youssef. Raheem Sterling collected the rebound and passed it back to John Stones, but Jones mishits his shot from just outside the six-yard box.
35' EQUALIZER — Ferjani Sassi fires the penalty just past the fingers of Jordan Pickford to level the score. England 1, Tunisia 1
33' Penalty — Fakhreddine Ben Youssef is elbowed by Kyle Walker in the penalty area and the referee points to the spot. Ferjani Sassi is taking the penalty. Walker received a yellow card after the incident.
27' — Wahbi Khazri steals the ball away from Harry Maguire and dribbles into the middle. He dribbles into the middle and leaves the ball for Ferjani Sassi. Sassi shoots from distance, his shot is deflected and falls wide left.
24' — Ashley Young puts in an in-swinging cross from the left flank, but Jessie Lingard's volley at the far post hits the side netting. England have seven shots already in the match.
23' — Dylan Bronn breaks down the right and tries to cross, but Dele Alli hits the cross out for a corner. Wahbri Khazri's ensuing corner is too high for anyone to reach.
18' — Kieran Trippier crosses from the right but the ball is cleared by Yassine Meriah. Jordan Henderson jumps on the clearance and fires from distance, but Mustafa makes the save.
15' Tunisia substitution: Farouk Ben Mustafa replaces Mouez Hassen as Tunisia's goalkeeper. Hassen appears to have injured his left arm and is not able to continue.
11' GOAL — John stones attacks a corner which Mouez Hassen saves. Harry Kane volleys in the rebound to open the scoring. England 1, Tunisia 0
10' — Harry Kane combines with Raheem Sterling before shooting from outside the penalty area.
5' — Dele Alli plays Jessie Lingard in on the left, and Lingard crosses a ball towards the back post. Raheem Sterling receives it at the far post, but he couldn't sort his feet out and hits the ball clumsily over the goal line. The goal wouldn't have counted anyways as Lingard was called for offside.
3' — Early chance for England. Dele Alli receives a ball over the top from Jordan Henderson. He crosses the ball towards Raheem sterling, but the ball is cleared away. Alli steals the ball away again and crosses once more, and Jessie Lingard is denied a goal by Mouez Hassen.
19:56 — Harry Kane is wearing the captain's armband tonight for England. At 24, he's the youngest English international to captain the Three Loins at a World Cup.
19:54 — Players on the field as the teams get set for the national anthems.
19:21 — Here are the lineups for this evening's game...
19:19 — Engand begin their World Cup campaign in Volgorad Arena against Tunisia. The Three Lions are facing less pressure than in past World Cups, but many expect them to handle Tunisia, who are participating in their first World Cup since 2006.