A couple of minutes from the end of England's opener against Tunisia and the tired old rallying cry of England Expects came to mind – as in England Expects to stuff up a World Cup match against a lightweight.

There is previous for that of course.

And then Harry Kane settled the nerves of the faithful.

A text from a colleague in the 92nd minute, parked up at a Auckland hostelry with a crowd of England supporters, went like this:



''Weary resignation….joy!''

About 20 years ago there was a widely expounded belief that it wouldn't be long before an African nation would lift the trophy. Come back in another 20 years I'd say.

Kane is a class act, England's youngest captain at 24, and he gets goals and there's no greater commodity in the game than that.

Even so there was no excuse for the commentator to celebrate the winner with this tosh: ''Where would St George be without him!''

On the basis of today's performance, if I'm fancying a strong run to the sharp end of the tournament, I wouldn't be fretting over facing England. Chances were squandered, the defence had an occasional tendency, even against an attack as weak as the Tunisians, to get in a muddle.

Previously, on Goalmouth Scramble:
Damien Venuto: Messi - The Argentinean Andrew Mehrtens?
Cam McMillan: Why Brazil will (and won't) win the World Cup
Niall Anderson: The best (and worst) games to watch
Chris Rattue: Funny footballs and goalkeepers
Chris Rattue: The big World Cup questions
Steven Holloway: Fancy a punt? The World Cup's best bets

This has been a grim start to the tournament for Africa. Consider this so far: Uruguay 1 (injury time) Egypt 0; Iran 1 (late own goal) Morocco 0; Croatia 2 Nigeria 0; England 2 (winner in injury time) Tunisia 0.

Senegal remain, opening against Poland early tomorrow when last four teams yet to be sighted, group H since you asked, lace up their boots.

So far there have been 32 goals scored in 14 matches. That's an acceptable rate and remember there's yet to be a goalless game. But there have been some close shaves on that score.

Good to see another penalty converted too, by Tunisia's Ferjani Sassi. So far the count is eight penalties awarded; six scored, two missed, by Lionel Messi and that Peruvian bloke who flogged his shot way over the Danish bar. How costly will that come to be.

Speaking of which, got a favourite goal yet or keeping the powder dry?

On which topic, here's a question: which type of goal do you fancy above the rest -- a long range belter, a clinical set piece, a crisp header, a runaway one-on-keeper?

The answer, as any self respecting player will attest, is that it doesn't matter, as long as it ends up in the net.

However time to stick the neck out.

Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer can't stop a shot from Brazil's Philippe Coutinho during the group E match between Brazil and Switzerland. Photo / AP.
Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer can't stop a shot from Brazil's Philippe Coutinho during the group E match between Brazil and Switzerland. Photo / AP.

There have been some fabulous strikes already – Coutinho for Brazil against the Swiss, Dries Mertens to get Belgium on the board against Panama today for a start – but you'll go far to see a cleaner, more blistering shot than that of Nacho for Spain in that bonzer 3-3 joust with Portugal.

No keeper would have stopped that, power, timing, accuracy, in off a post. Brilliant.

A couple of thoughts: who has been the most disappointing team on show so far?
You need a scale of sorts here. Clearly Panama and Saudi Arabia aren't going to shake any trees at the cup.

Of the serious contenders, I would plump for Argentina and Brazil.

You get a hunch, for all Sergio Aguero's serious threat in front of goal, if Messi isn't going to pull out a big tournament, they won't figure.

Brazil may be fragile too, if they haven't shaken off their semifinal bouncing by the Germans four years ago. They looked twitchy against a Swiss side who figured they had a chance in the second half and played smart, disciplined football.

Forget the criticism of the Swiss approach as too negative and cynical. They are far from the poorest team in Russia and showed what a bit of organisation and heart can do.

You'd think Spain will be there or thereabouts later on and Germany will come right – although suddenly their clash with the Swedes on June 23 shapes as seriously significant.
Remember, as Goalmouth Scramble aficionados will know, if Germany come second in their group they'll most likely face…..Brazil in the last 16. Tasty.

On Brazil, has there been a sillier hairstyle on show than Neymar's weird yellow mop?

Speaking of hair, when David Beckham, with another nifty tonsorial trim, was sent off for his dopey flick at the admittedly unpleasant Argentine Diego Simeone in the 1998 cup, his wife texted him, so the story goes, as follows:

''Hope you're ok babes…but your hair looks great.''