World Cup: England Lose Man, Win Match

Group D: The Slovenian referee had a busy evening in Samara with nine yellows and one red issued as England beat Honduras to be the first side with three wins from three, while Russia scored the 100th goal of the tournament in their draw with Tunisia to see them safely into the second round. England will face Ghana on Sunday, and Russia will meet Italy.

Two enforced changes for England, as James Milner and Theo Walcott replaces Jack Wilshere and Wayne Rooney, both of whom were suspended from the win over Tunisia. Just the one change for Honduras with midfielder Mario Martínez in place of Luis Ramos who was sent-off against Russia.

England got off to a flyer in the first-ever meeting between the two sides as Chris Smalling headed home from Milner’s corner for his third goal for his country. A minute later Milner was the first player in the referee’s book with a crunching challenge on Johnny Palacios after he went in strong on Phil Jones.

The Three Lions pushed for a second but the Honduran defence held strong. The game was in danger of spilling over as the Central American side were flying into challenges as the win they needed to qualify started to look more an more unlikely. By half-time, referee Damir Skomir had given out five yellow cards, and two more quickly followed after the break.

With over half-hour to play Phil Jones, cautioned on the stroke of half-time, came through the back of Lozano and Skomir showed the sixth red card of the tournament.

England shut-up shop to preserve their 100% record, Honduras huffed and puffed but offered little going forwards. The win sets up a last sixteen match for England against Ghana which will be played in Moscow on Sunday.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP D (3)
                      ENGLAND 1-0 HONDURAS
                  Smalling 11
               Jones s/off 59

                       Milner     Palacios
                        Jones     Espinoza
                  Huddlestone     Chávez

The hosts made two changes from last time out: in came Evgeny Makeev and Alexandr Kokorin for Georgy Schennikov and Konstantin Rausch. Goal difference was on their side, but couldn’t afford a slip-up against Tunisia who made just one change: Wahbi Khazri replacing Rebaï Chellouf®.

An opening half hour passed-by without much to trouble the commentators or excite the crowd, but with England already one-up in their match, Welliton scored his third of the tournament, and the 100th here in Russia this month when he drilled the hosts in front from 15 yards.

Tunisia threatened to spoil the party when they levelled midway through the second-half through Hamza Younes. Bedoui stayed onside to cross from the right towards Younes, but Zelao headed away. Chehoudi was first to react and he hit the loose ball back across the six-yard box where Younes had stayed for a perfect poacher’s finish.

That’s how it finished in Volgograd and Russia will now meet Euro 2016 champions Italy in the second round. They met in August last year in a 1-1 friendly draw, while Italy knocked Russia out of Euro 2016 two years ago with a 3-0 win in the last sixteen.

                  FIFA WORLD CUP: GROUP D (3)
                       RUSSIA 1-1 TUNISIA
                  Welliton 27     Younes 68
                       Makeev     Chermiti