England Beats Tunisia, 2-0
By Morley Myers
Monday, June 15, 1998; 3:21 p.m. EDT
MARSEILLE, France Alan Shearer scored late in the first half and Paul Scholes late in the second to give England a 2-0 victory over Tunisia on Monday, a game which took place in peaceful sunshine even as fans from the two countries fought with police and each other outside the stadium.
England dominated the game, but almost all of its quality shots on goal came in the final 15 minutes of the first half. Goalkeeper Chokri El Ouaer stopped the first three, but Shearer connected on the fourth.
On a free kick to the right of the penalty box, Graeme Le Saux chipped the ball to the Newcastle striker, who headed his shot behind El Ouaer and off the left post in the 42nd minute.
Then, in the 89th minute, following a second half in which play was largely bogged down in midfield, Paul Ince fed Scholes for a 25-meter strike just inside the right post.
England would have won by several goals had El Ouaer not made two superb one-handed saves shortly before Shearer's strike. The first came on Teddy Sheringham's 30-yard volley in the 36th minute, and another came on Scholes' bouncing close-range header two minutes later.
Tunisia used a very conservative attack from the opening kickoff, passing the ball around midfield as if trying to run out the clock. Occasionally, there would be a long pass upfield to either Adel Sellimi or Ben Slimane, but England's defense prevented any real scoring threat.
Tunisia, in its first World Cup game since 1978, brought on three substitutions to try to pick up the pace in the second half, but none of its players showed the ability to finish off a goal, and England keeper David Seaman was never seriously tested.
The game followed three days of the skirmishes involving hundreds of England and Tunisian fans, local youth and riot police in the streets of Marseille. During the game, riot police lobbed tear gas to break up more clashes in the city.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press