Harry Kane believes justice was done with late winner

‘I think there could have been a couple of penalties, especially when you look at their one’

Harry Kane argued justice had been done after the England captain nodded his side's stoppage-time winner having seen two vociferous penalty appeals for fouls by Yassine Meriah waved away by the Colombian referee, Wilmar Roldan.

The Tottenham Hotspur forward was twice wrestled to the ground at corners as England heaved to re-establish the lead surrendered to a relatively soft penalty, awarded against Kyle Walker. As it was, Kane's first goals at a major finals, both from set pieces, ensured England won their opening group game for only the third time at a World Cup.

“I think there could have been a couple of penalties, especially when you look at their one,” Kane said. “We had so much joy from corners, they were trying to grab hold, trying to stop us running. So maybe there was a bit of justice at the end to get one at the back post. That’s football, that’s the referee. It shows good character to get on with it and that’s what we’ve done. It’s a massive win, and I’m so proud of the lads.

“It was tough. I thought we played well, especially first half, and deserved to be ahead, and could even have scored a few more. I’ve not seen the penalty [awarded against England] back but, from my point of view, it didn’t look like one. Credit to the lads, we kept going.


“It’s the World Cup and you keep going to the last second – we’re absolutely buzzing. We spoke a lot about togetherness. We have a great bond off the pitch and it’s nice to see it working on the pitch. Everyone, staff included, is delighted. We’ll get on that plane happy tonight.”

The team's refusal to be dispirited as the game crept into stoppage time at the end level despite England's dominance earned praise from Gareth Southgate.

"Even though the clock was running down, we stayed patient and waited for opportunities," said the coach, whose team join Belgium in claiming maximum points from their first game in the section.

“We made so many clear-cut chances in the first half and were strong on set-plays in the second. We’ll do well to make as many chances in a game in this tournament.

"Even if we had drawn the game I would have been proud of us but good teams score late goals. If you pass like that, the opposition tire. It's a night where it's difficult to highlight individuals because it was a collective: the squad has been brilliant. The subs came on and it was great to have the impact they did. We felt that Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli had caused huge problems for the opposition, but it was a good moment to put on a different threat.

"We've given ourselves a great platform to build from. There's so much to be pleased about but there's a lot to work on. Panama will be a tough test in a different way. We've got to keep performing. Harry's a top, top striker. I'm delighted for him because if he doesn't score tonight it'd be questions about him not scoring in tournaments." – Guardian service