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MOSCOW, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - Tunisia goalkeeper Moez Hassen has been ruled out of the World Cup after dislocating his left shoulder in the team's 2-1 loss to England Monday night.

The team posted the injury update on Twitter on Tuesday, saying Hassen was the "victim of a dislocation" and the injury was "very bad news for Tunisia."

Hassen collided with England's Jesse Lingard in the 5th minute in the match at Volgograd. But he remained on the field and even pulled off a fine save - clawing away John Stones' header from Ashley Young's corner - before Harry Kane scored the opening goal for England.

Hassen was forced off in the 15th and replaced by Ben Mustapha.

The Tunisia squad has returned to its World Cup training base in Moscow to prepare for Saturday's Group G game against Belgium.

VOLGOGRAD, Russia, June 19, 2018 (News Wires) - A stoppage-time header from two-goal Harry Kane gave England a 2-1 win over Tunisia in their opening World Cup Group G match late Monday.

A 35th minute Ferjani Sassi penalty had cancelled out Kane's 11th minute opener.

After the break, England, who had wasted several good chances in the first half, struggled to break down the deep defending African side.

But from a Kieran Trippier corner, a glancing header from Harry Maguire found Kane at the back post and he nodded home to give England a winning start.






VOLGOGRAD, June 18, 2018 (News Wires) - England open their World Cup campaign on Monday seeking to banish memories of dismal performances in recent tournaments as Belgium’s “Golden Generation” kick off as dark-horse challengers.

England, winners on football’s biggest stage more than half a century ago, crashed out without a win four years ago in Brazil, and have not won a knockout match in any tournament since 2006.

Gareth Southgate’s team will be eager to start with a bang after world champions Germany slipped up in their opening match against Mexico and favourites Brazil were held by Switzerland.

Southgate’s young charges arrived in Russia quietly confident after a solid qualifying campaign and encouraging friendly results against Brazil, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

They play Tunisia in the historic city of Volgograd knowing anything other than a win would disrupt pre-tournament plans, with Belgium looming later in Group G.

Southgate’s lack of experience was widely discussed when he was appointed but the former Under 21s coach has cultivated an atmosphere of unity and a determination to bury past failures.

“This team shouldn’t be burdened with that because they’re a fresh group, most of them have very few international caps, so the future is all ahead of them,” Southgate told reporters.

England captain Harry Kane, who is yet to score a goal in a tournament, has vowed an aggressive approach against opponents expected to defend in numbers.

“First and foremost we are going to want to attack the game, we feel like we are going to have a lot of possession of the ball,” the Tottenham forward said.

Belgium start their World Cup campaign on more familiar ground: a squad stuffed with stars but with questions over their manager.

Spaniard Roberto Martinez was a left-field choice to replace Marc Wilmots after Euro 2016 and the former Everton boss seems no nearer to solving the puzzle of getting Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne playing to their sky-high potentials in the same side.

The boys from Brussels face Panama, Central America’s World Cup debutants, in Sochi.

Martinez late Sunday said Hazard was ready to light up a tournament in the same way as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo did with his stunning hat-trick against Spain.

“I think Eden is in a great moment of his career. Look at his age, he is the captain, in terms of leadership - he never finds it difficult to show for the ball,” he said.

Results under Martinez have been excellent - Belgium have not lost since he took over - but there is a sense that this tournament represents their best chance at World Cup glory.

Germany are licking their wounds after slumping 1-0 to a Hirving Lozano strike in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium - their first defeat in their opening game of a World Cup since 1982.

The German press labelled the performance “embarrassing” and coach Joachim Loew did not mince his words, saying his side’s next match against Sweden was a must-win.

If Germany finish as Group F runners-up, they could face Brazil in a clash of World Cup titans in the next round.

But Brazil themselves started their Russian campaign with a whimper Sunday when gutsy Switzerland battled back to cancel out a superb Philippe Coutinho strike, scoring through Steven Zuber’s powerful header.

Sunday’s early game sees Sweden take on South Korea in Nizhny Novgorod in Germany’s group.

The Swedes come to Russia at the dawning of the “post-Zlatan” era, after their talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ended his international career after the last Euros.

In Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung-Min, the Koreans have a world-class player and potential match-winner.

But overall they are a shadow of the team who famously reached the semi-finals as 2002 World Cup co-hosts.

LONDON, June 12, 2018 (News Wires) - Captain Harry Kane says England’s bid to end their World Cup drought stretching back over half a century will not be undone by a divided squad.

The 24-year-old striker said there were no cliques within the squad that flies out to Russia later today seeking to emulate their 1966 predecessors in lifting the trophy.

Both Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard claimed the reason they and the others who made up the so-called ‘golden generation’ fell short at successive finals was they could not shake off their different club rivalries when they joined up with their England team-mates.

Kane, though, told the English daily newspapers this is not the case with the present group under Gareth Southgate — as many of them have played with each other at Under-21 level.

“It’s not something we’ve had to deal with really — we all get on very well and have come through the ranks together,” said Kane.

“We definitely don’t have that divide in the team any more.

‘Lot of attacking flair’

Kane also took issue with Ferdinand who told The Times last month his priority had been winning trophies with Manchester United.

“It’s the one competition that everybody dreams of winning. That’s No 1.

“I’d be surprised if the majority of players did not say the World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world.

“I’d love to win everything with Tottenham, but for me personally the World Cup outweighs them all.”

Kane, who says his mum cried when he was handed the captaincy by Southgate, does not expect a repeat of the woeful Euro 2016 campaign which saw them beaten by minnows Iceland in the last 16 and cost then manager Roy Hodgson his job.

“I’m confident it won’t happen (again) — I won’t say 100 per cent because you never know in football — but in this team we wear our heart on our sleeve.

“We’re proud to be here, we will work hard, be energetic. First and foremost, we will run around and do that aspect of the game. We have a lot of attacking flair that can do some damage.”

Southgate, who experienced the pitfalls of international football when he missed a penalty in the shootout loss to old foes Germany in the Euro ‘96 semi-finals hosted in England, did not wish to heighten expectations which has so often been a crushing burden for the national side.

“We hope we can send people to work the following day having enjoyed our matches, I know what those tournament experiences can be like and we desperately want to bring that,” said Southgate, whose side have warmed up with wins over fellow finalists Nigeria and Costa Rica.

“We know we are not the finished article, in fact we’re a long way from, but I think people see signs of progress and enjoy watching us and the manner in which we try to play.”

Kane and England open their World Cup campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd next Monday, followed by dates with Panama and Belgium.


LONDON, June 9, 2018 (News Wires) -The English FA, Premier League and English Football League announced on Friday that they would implement a two-week, mid-season break in February from the 2019-20 season onwards.

Premier League matches will still be played every weekend over the period, the FA said in a statement http://www.thefa.com/news/2018/jun/08/mid-season-break-confirmed-080618, with five games being held on the first weekend and five on the second.

As a result, FA Cup fifth-round matches will be moved to mid-week and fifth-round replays will be replaced by games which end in a draw going to extra-time and penalties.

"This is a significant moment for English football and one that we believe will greatly benefit both club and country," said FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn.

"It's no secret that we have a very congested fixture calendar and over recent years we have been working with the whole game to find a solution."

The introduction of a winter break brings the English fixture calendar more in line with the top leagues in Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

The lack of a break in England has long been a bone of contention among top-flight managers, with many drawing a parallel between the demands of playing without a break and the country's struggles at international tournaments.

"Today's announcement proves that football can come together for the good of the game," Glenn added. "We have also found a way to give the players a much needed mid-season break, whilst keeping the much-loved Christmas schedule in place.

"As we head into summer international tournaments in the future we are sure that this mid-season break will prove to be a valuable addition for our players."


LONDON, June 5, 2018 (News Wires) - The experienced members of England’s World Cup squad must step up and take some of the pressure off captain Harry Kane to let the striker focus on scoring goals in Russia, defender Gary Cahill has said on Tuesday.

Kane captained England in three of their eight World Cup qualifiers and has been handed the role for Russia where the 24-year-old will also be expected to help fire the side into the knockout stages.

“It’s important the experienced members of the squad help him so he can concentrate on finding the net,” Cahill told Standard Sport.

“The message has been clear from the manager that he wants a number of leaders... He wanted that group of leaders to help and share the workload.

“I’m there to help. I’m not there to preach to anyone, but I have experience of playing in big games. If people want to speak to me and likewise me with other people, the group is very tight in that way and everyone is approachable... “

Uncapped goalkeeper Nick Pope said the closeness of Gareth Southgate’s squad was helping him develop.

“We get on really well and we’re pushing each other every day which is what is best for the team,” Pope was quoted as saying by the Burnley Express.

“Training each day is hard but we’re pushing each other and that’s the way it should be.

“It’s been on another level and it doesn’t get any harder than England. To be in and around this level, it’s great for me.”

England have been drawn in Group G along with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia at the finals. The open their campaign against the North Africans on June 18.


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