VAR raises eyebrows for England despite win
Harry Kane was denied two penalties but bounced back to grab the points against Tunisia.
England got the opening World Cup win their performance deserved against Tunisia, but frustrations with the video assistant referee system meant it was more dramatic than it might have been.
Gareth Southgate’s side were frustrated by the penalty awarded against Kyle Walker for Tunisia’s goal – but more so by the two decisions not given to Harry Kane after he was manhandled in the penalty area at corners.
Kane had the last laugh and here, Press Association Sport reviews the controversies in the context of the match.
11 minutes: England take the lead
Ashley Young’s corner was headed powerfully goalwards by John Stones and though keeper Mouez Hassen made a superb save – in the process aggravating a shoulder injury which led to him being forced off – Kane followed up to score.
34min: Tunisia penalty
Referee Wilmar Roldan was quick to rule that Walker had blocked Fakhreddine Ben Youssef with his arm as the Tunisia forward chased a cross in the England area. There was no respite from VAR and Ferjani Sassi tucked away the penalty.
41min: Kane denied penalty
VAR must have had the wrong replay for that Kane penalty incident... pic.twitter.com/AGzGLxWHBD— Liam Blackburn (@liamblackburn) June 18, 2018
Sassi’s challenge on Kane as Tunisia defended a corner was widely likened to either a WWE wrestling move or a rugby tackle, yet neither Roldan nor the video official awarded a penalty.
England’s frustration grew still further as Jesse Lingard’s cute effort just before half-time clipped the outside of the post.
51min: Deja vu for Kane
Tunisia clearly had a plan to prevent the Tottenham frontman attacking corners and this time around, Yassine Meriah was the defender who held on and dropped to the turf on top of him but escaped punishment.
90min+1: England grab the winner
Kane was finally left unattended at a corner and was on hand to meet Harry Maguire’s header with a superbly-directed flick inside the post.