England could’ve killed the match in the first half, but football can be like that, sometimes you don’t score. They more than deserved to win. It was a late goal, sure, but they could have scored more in the first half so it was a fair result.
Harry Kane couldn’t ask for a better start. He’s the captain, he scored his first two World Cup goals, if he can score seven, eight, nine goals, that would mean England are in the semi-final at least, and he is capable of doing it. And not just with head from set-pieces, he scores goals from everywhere. Kane is a born goalscorer.
England were unlucky with the penalty given against them too – it was not very clever by Kyle Walker – but they scored from the set-pieces. And from all the set-pieces they were dangerous.
They have one foot in to the next round now, because they will win against Panama, I have no doubt. That would put England on six points and would be a marvellous start.
I would play the same team again. If someone has a knock or someone is tired, you change, but if not, I think they deserve to play the next game.
Some talk about Dele Alli or Kyle Walker, but they are two very, very good players, both had great seasons, if they made a mistake or were not in the game as much you’d like, they will make up for that in the next game. They know what it takes to play in these games.
It was a very stable performance from England, they were solid. Tunisia created nothing besides the penalty. As a manager, that’s what you want. You want to give away as few possibilities for opponents as you can.
To start the World Cup this way, it was very, very good.
Belgian battle could be group decider
When England and Belgium meet, the approach of both teams will depend on how the next two games go. You’d expect England and Belgium to win both their next games, then they might play a very entertaining nil-nil or one-all draw, because, normally, when both teams are through, they will not try to kill each other in a match like this. That’s human.
Of course they will try to win, but it’s different than if they need a result.
It could be better to lose that game depending on how other groups finish – Germany’s loss means they could finish second in their group and go to the other half of the draw, for example – but if you think like that you are planning for things that are not 100% in your control. You never really know how things would play out in other games.
I cannot speak for Gareth Southgate, but for myself I would always try to go through, try to win the group and that’s it, then you see what happens elsewhere. Don’t play thinking about ‘if this happens, or if that happens…’ Do the best you can, win the three games if you can.
Belgium did very well against Panama. They didn’t play brilliantly in the first half, but they kept going, and early in the second half they made it 1-0, and that was it. Game over.
You know with many teams at the tournament, as long as they have nil-nil, they’re very happy, but as soon as they have to attack, they have big problems. So it’s all about patience for teams like England and Belgium. Don’t think that you must score in the first five minutes, or even the first half.
If you are patient, play your game, in ninety minutes you will score for sure.
Belgium have a chance to win the World Cup, but not a big chance in my opinion. De Bruyne and Hazard are two great players. We see them every weekend in the Premier League, they perform at such a high level regularly, they are great players, but there are plenty of better teams in Russia in my view. They have a good team, a lot of very good players. But Belgium to win the World Cup? I don’t think so. Quarter or semi, maybe, but not winning it.