The Three Lions are expected to deliver a routine victory to start their campaign.
Another international tournament and another year of promise for England. Manager Gareth Southgate has picked quite an enticing and young squad for the FIFA World Cup, including players who show a lot of purpose and potential to go far into the tournament. Will they do better than their group stage exit four years ago? It sure does look like it.
Tunisia are playing in the World Cup after 12 years. They’re in a group which could be too hard for them to climb out of, but as we’ve seen in previous international tournaments and in this World Cup, the underdogs are not to be taken lightly, especially playing against England who struggle to break down teams that sit back, Tunisia could actually pull something off in this game.
About the teams
Tunisia’s captain, Wahbi Khazri has been out injured for a good two months leading up to the World Cup. However, the former Sunderland player feels that he is up for the task and will lead his team out on the day of the match.
Watch England train ahead of their World Cup opener against Tunisia
Their talismanic playmaker Youssef Msakni had suffered a knee injury which put him out of the World Cup. This is a huge blow for the Tunisians as the value that he adds to the team cannot be easily replaced by manager Nabil Maaloul.
If there’s one thing that they’re determined to break, it’s the tag that they have never made it out of the group stage in any of the World Cups that they have qualified for. As such, Tunisia have nothing to lose and will look to cause an upset against the English.
England are cutting it thin with the Marcus Rashford situation as the striker picked up a knock in training which forced him to sit out two days of practice. However, the 20-year-old is expected to be back on the bench for the game.
England will be fielding their usual 3-5-2 formation with Raheem Sterling and captain Harry Kane up top. Jordan Pickford seems to have sealed his spot as #1 and protecting him will be a three-man defence with John Stones at the heart of it. Jordan Henderson will look to anchor the midfield with Jesse Lingard and Sterling in front of him. Kieran Tripper and Ashley Young will be the right and left wing-backs respectively.
The match will take place at the Volgograd Arena which has a capacity of 43,713. Following this match, the stadium will also host three more games.
Tunisia: Mathlouthi, Bronn, Syam Ben Youssef, Meriah, Ali Maaloul, Skhiri, Sassi, Khaoui, Badri, Khazri, & Fakhreddine Ben Youssef.
England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Henderson, Young, Alli, Lingard, Sterling, & Kane.
What to Expect?
The game will be a lot of trial and error for England. They have faced a lot of teams that sit back and like to hit on the counter-attack in their World Cup Qualifiers and they will look to use that experience against this side. It looks like a routine win for the Three Lions.
Khel Now Predicts
Tunisia 0-2 England