The Three Lions endured an “awful” second half, but three points from their opening match against Tunisia will allow the team to relax and experiment over the next two group games at the World Cup, says RT’s Peter Schmeichel.
“I feel happy for the England team, because they would have been crucified by the media. Even so, I am not sure they are going be let off completely,” the former Denmark goalkeeper said during the post-match analysis in Moscow.
Schmeichel accused England, and specifically Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard, of wastefulness in the first half, saying that the team should have been “4 or 5-nil up at half-time” in Volgograd. Instead, following a penalty that went against the run of play, the two sides went into the dressing room at one apiece, and the African side came up more “revved up” in the second half, “stopping England from doing anything.”
The RT expert said that with his winning header captain Harry Kane put himself in line with other world-class strikers at the tournament, putting him alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugal striker.
“He is the definition of a big player. When it’s needed for the team, they turn up with the goods,” said the pundit.
Schmeichel said that the cushion of the first victory now ensures that novice tournament manager Gareth Southgate is free to make clear-headed decisions.
“If you win the first game, and you have three points already, in the other two games you can change a couple of players, see what’s not working. If they hadn’t got the three points, Southgate might not have been brave enough to make the necessary changes,” said the former Manchester United keeper.