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15 June 1998 Group G Marseille - Stade Velodrome
England Tunisia
England began their France 98 World Cup campaign with a solidly impressive 2-0 victory against Group G outsiders Tunisia in the Stade Velodrome, Marseille thanks to goals by Shearer and Scholes. All the pre-tournament trials and tribulations were dispelled as Glenn Hoddle's side produced the desired result in a thoroughly professional manner to send out a warning to the rest of the world. There was only one real surprise in the starting line-up as the England coach plumped for Darren Anderton in place of David Beckham in the right wing-back role as both sides opted for a 3-5-2 formation. The match began in tentative fashion typical of most of the matches seen so far in the tournament as England adopted a cautious approach whilst the Tunisians were content to sit back and encourage Glenn Hoddle's men to push forward. Having settled comfortably England gradually began to up the tempo and Scholes should have opened the scoring on 30 minutes from Graeme Le Saux's excellent left-wing cross only to see his header directed straight at the 'keeper el-Ouaer. This sparked the men in white into all-out attack and Teddy Sheringham rattled the crossbar with a magnificent 25-yard volley before Scholes again saw a close-range effort saved. It was no surprise when skipper Alan Shearer headed his side in front with the goal after 42 minutes coming at the perfect time just before the break. However, Khaled Badra's header in first-half stoppage time ensured that England could not afford to be too complacent. After the interval, with Tunisia chasing the game, England took advantage of the extra space in attack as the SAS of Shearer and Sheringham enjoyed greater possession in the final third to create chances. Adams was denied following Sheringham's delightful cross and Shearer shot straight at el-Ouaer following good play by Scholes, whilst the North Africans flattered to deceive without causing too many problems to a defence superbly marshalled by Tony Adams and David Seaman. Michael Owen became the third youngest player in history, after Norman Whiteside and Pele, to appear in the World Cup finals when replacing Sheringham after 85 minutes. The Liverpool youngster had a shot blocked as he savoured the unique atmosphere before Scholes sealed victory with a stunning curling shot in stoppage time for his fourth international goal in eight games. England will be delighted with the three points achieved and now top Group G following Romania's 1-0 victory over Colombia in Lyon this evening.

(1-0) Shearer (42). Le Saux curled in a pacy left-footed free-kick from the right and the England skipper leapt above his marker Sami Trabelsi to steer a glancing header in off the far post from eight yards with 'keeper el-Ouaer in no-man's-land.

(2-0) Scholes (89). Ince surged through the Tunisia defence and his attempted one-two fell at the feet of the flame-haired striker who curled a terrific right-footer beyond the despairing dive of el-Ouaer and into the top right-hand corner from 22 yards.

 
 
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