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17 Jun 2018 by Rob Esteva

2018 FIFA World Cup – Tunisia vs England Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Monday 18th June, 19:00

Where? Volgograd Arena

What channel is it on? BBC1

Where can I stream the match? BBC license holders can stream the match online via BBC iPlayer

Are tickets still available? https://www.ticketbisevents.com/en/group-g-belgium-panama-tunisia-england-tickets/ca5917

THE TEAM NEWS

TUNISIA

  • This will be Tunisia's first World Cup appearance since Germany in 2006 when current coach Nabil Maaloul was assistant to Roger Lemerre and expectations are relatively low coming into the tournament.
  • The highlight in qualifying was a 4-1 win in Guinea last October but hat-trick hero Youssef Msakni misses out in Russia through injury after he suffered a knee injury and that will reduce their expectations even more so.
  • They will look to Rennes forward Wahbi Khazri for attacking inspiration in the hope he can produce some individual magic against the English but this is a limited team overall that lacks quality throughout the squad for this level even if they will be fired up to upset England.

Predicted line-up (4-4-1-1):

Mathlouthi

Bronn, Bedoui, Meriah, Maaloul

F. Ben Youssef, Ben Amor, Sassi, Chalali

Khazri

Sliti

Unavailable: None

Doubtful: None

ENGLAND

  • England come into the tournament with the expectation of getting through the group stage but little more than that in reality and this will be a key game as they need to start well to give some confidence to what is a relatively inexperienced squad at this level.
  • Southgate switched to three central defenders several months ago and seems likely to stick with that formation in Russia, although there are signs that defensively they do not look completely comfortable with it just yet but that should not be a factor in this game.
  • The lack of creativity is the biggest concern so it is imperative that the likes of Alli, Lingard and Sterling are in form to provide for Kane, while Rashford should overcome a slight knock to be available to play the opener.

Predicted line-up (3-4-2-1):

Pickford

Walker, Stones, Cahill

Trippier, Dier, Alli, Young

Lingard, Sterling

Kane

Unavailable: None

Doubtful: Rashford

THE PREDICTION

Tunisia should simply be outclassed here but it would be no surprise to see England sweat a little. England have picked up some positive results in the friendlies leading up to the tournament though the level of opposition has been similar to what they face here in this opening match. They should however ultimately break the Tunisians down and keep a clean sheet given the lack of attacking potency they will face so expect a win and clean sheet to open the tournament for Southgate's men.

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