Today saw Europe take centre stage as Sweden, Belgium and England all got their campaigns underway. 

All three teams emerged victorious in different circumstances but it was a thrilling day of action. 

 

England nicks it at death

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England claimed a 2-1 win at the death as Captain, Harry Kane completed his brace in a nervy clash.

The Three Lions started on front foot and went close in fourth minute after Dele Alli played the ball to Jesse Lingard on left but Raheem Sterling tapped Lingard’s cross wide of goal. 

That miss was soon put to bed a Kane and Sterling played a 1-2 before the Tottenham star shot wide via a deflection for a corner.

John Stones met the corner delivery before Mouez Hassan blocked it but rebounded to Kane who tapped it home to hand England the lead. 

Tunisia soon grew into the match afterwards and got their reward when Kyle Walker pulled down Fakhreddine Ben Yousseff with his left arm.

Ferjani Sassi took the penalty and tucked it home in bottom left to level things back up, despite Jordan Pickford diving the correct way. 

Both teams then had plenty of chances with England going closest in 73rd minute, when Manchester United pair, Lingard and Marcus Rashford linked up but the latter’s shot on goal was caught by Farouk Ben Mustapha with a simple catch. 

Come injury time, England had a corner and Harry Maguire met the cross but headed out wide to where Kane was luckily stood before heading it into the net for his second and England’s win. 

Gareth Southgate’s side now face Panama on Sunday, where victory will ensure their place in knockout stage ahead of their final group game against Belgium.

 

Belgium impress

World Cup - Group G - Belgium vs Panama

Romelu Lukaku impressed for Belgium with a brace in their 3-0 win over Panama. (Reuters)

Belgium currently sit top after overcoming a challenging test against World Cup debutants, Panama to win 3-0.

After a dominant first half with poor finishing, Belgium quickly found their touch after the break with a Dries Mertens volley from Fidel Escobar headed clearance to edge of box.  

Panama soon nearly struck back through Michael Murillo from a Edgar Barcenas cross but Jan Vertonghen deflected it out for a corner. Roman Torres met the corner delivery but headed his effort wide. 

Belgium then kicked on and got their reward in a five minute spell midway through with a Romelu Lukaku brace. 

His first goal in 69th minute came from a Kevin de Bruyne cross into space and the Manchester United star bundled it home with a low header past Jaime Penedo. 

Six minutes later and he was at it again as Belgium broke from a Panama attack and Eden Hazard played a through ball as Lukaku ran down the left, with the striker meeting the pass and chipping it pass an out-coming Penedo to wrap up a 3-0 win. 

That result sees them sat top of Group G and victory over Tunisia on Saturday will see them secure qualification for the last 16 stage. 

 

VAR Saves Sweden’s Blushes

World Cup - Group F - Sweden vs South Korea

Sweden’s Andreas Granqvist won the match with a 65th minute penalty. (Reuters)

Sweden emerged as 1-0 winners from a tough battle against South Korea to move joint top of Group F with Mexico. 

A dull opening half saw few chances from either team but Sweden went close soon after restart when Sebastian Larsson passed to an on-coming Emil Forsberg who fired over bar just minutes after restart. 

They then started to dominate and got their reward just after hour mark when Kim Min-woo brought down Viktor Claesson with a sliding tackle. Referee, Joel Aguilar initially waved play on before consulting VAR and awarding the penalty. 

Captain, Andreas Granqvist stepped up to take the penalty and fired the ball down middle to give Sweden the lead in 65th minute.

Both teams then had chances to score with South Korea going close in injury time but Hwang Hee-chan headed wide from a Jae-sung flick to miss a golden chance. 

It soon proved to be the last major chance as the final whistle blew to send Sweden joint-top with Mexico in Group F. 

Up next for Sweden is Germany on Saturday evening, where victory will see them through at Germany’s expense if Mexico take a point earlier that day against South Korea. 

 

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