Tunisia national team coach Nabil Maaloul said his charges were gradually worn down by a superior England team and their “optimal striker” Harry Kane after a late 2-1 defeat in their opening World Cup game on Monday.
Kane scored twice including a stoppage-time winner to condemn Tunisian to an opening defeat in Group G.
“I think he was behind the victory of the English team. It was him who was always there at the right time. He is the optimal striker,”:Maaloul told reporters.
He added: “The spaces that were created by Kane were very scary to us,” added Maaloul, a former Tunisia midfielder.
Tunisia hade a reputation for a solid defence,however they looked shaky early in the game and Kane pounced to put England ahead.
Ferjani Sassi then equalised thanks to a 35th-minute penalty after a bit of clumsy play from ex Spurs defender Kyle Walker , sending the Tunisian fans into raptures.
Maaloul was full of praise for his Tunisia side, who are playing in their fifth World Cup finals but have never progressed past the group stage. He said: “The Tunisian side has performed very well and we were able to defend ourselves for 90 minutes. It’s true that they controlled the match towards the end. They have excellent players in terms of speed,” said Maaloul
The Tunisian coach also played down the significance of several futile England penalty claims.
“Maybe if I go back and look at match I can see what fouls were committed,”:he said.
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