England were thankful for Harry Kane’s late goal in their 2-1 win over Tunisia on Monday night as the Spurs striker popped up with an injury-time winner in a game plagued by refereeing inconsistency and millions of midges.
Few would disagree that the Three Lions deserved the win against a poor Tunisian side, who only found the net after being handed a debatable penalty when Kyle Walker was adjudged to have fouled Ferjani Sassi.
But if Walker’s foul was a penalty, then why weren’t England awarded one when Harry Kane was repeatedly manhandled by Tunisian defenders at corners and free-kicks?
One incident in the first half left England fans particularly perplexed.
ENGLAND ROBBED! Tunisian defender lands a wrestling takedown on Harry Kane and VAR has missed it! 😱pic.twitter.com/80xqV28wi2
— World Cup (@FlFAWC2018) June 18, 2018
The WWE-style takedown was strangely missed by the VAR officials in Moscow as England fans and pundits began to question what was happening.
Are we not using VAR on this @England game 🤔🤔 surely now that’s 2 pens on Harry Kane they’ve missed ?
— Fara Williams MBE (@fara_williams47) June 18, 2018
VAR is temporarily out of use. We apologize for the inconvenience this might cause for you all supporting England
— John Arne Riise (@JARiiseOfficial) June 18, 2018
Erm, I don’t want to be a whinging England fan, but surely the point of VAR is to stop some of the things that the referee misses? That bloke wrestling Kane to the ground? What happened there then? Damn I am a whinging England fan 😧
— Ian Norris (@IanNorris99) June 18, 2018
Glad we’ve won tonight but VAR clearly not working, not a pen against us, should of had 2 pens for wrestling @HKane to the ground, @UEFAcom sort it out, meant to clear up the debates, however come on England 🏴 👍
— Brett Silburn (@BSilburn) June 18, 2018
Meanwhile, England and Tunisia players also had to battle swarms of Volgograd midges.
The match just happened to coincide with breeding season that saw millions of flies swarm the city and stadium as larva began to turn into adults.
Players and fans could be seen swatting away the insects during the game, but fans had to suffer as insect repellant was banned inside the stadium.
Second-half started but looking at Stirling being attacked by bees midget flies. Better watch out Sterling.😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/1dU6WhyUjd
— GamingNetwork (@GameNetwork101) June 18, 2018
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) June 18, 2018
The flies are really bugging the England players in the warm-up. No pun intended but it is one anyway.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) June 18, 2018
Luckily for England Harry Kane wasn’t affected by them!