England will be looking to fly out of the blocks when they launch their bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup against Tunisia on Monday night at the Volgograd Arena, in the Southern part of Russia.
The Three Lions will be kick starting their campaign against the North Africans, with the hope of securing maximum points ahead of their remaining Group G matches against Panama and Belgium, penciled to be played out in the coming weeks.
There has been little, if any, razzmatazz and fanfare surrounding England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, given the level profligacy shown in recent major tournaments. Despite 1966 being the last time England lifted a major trophy- that being the eighth edition of the FIFA World Cup- the Three Lions haven’t shown any contemplative signs of attaining such heights.
The much hyped star-studded team at the last edition of the competition in Brazil not only failed to win the grand prize, but was also unceremoniously knocked out of the group stages – the worst possible run in recent World Cup outings.
England made it out of the group stages in Euro 2016 but still left fans writhing in agony after getting eliminated in the round of 16 by minions Iceland. Although their run up to the 2018 FIFA World Cup hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy, much of it to do it Sam Allardyce’s resignation by mutual consent after allegations of malpractice, the English national team seems to be finding their stride.
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Gareth Southgate’s appointment after a brief spell as caretaker manager wasn’t the most pompous or headline grabbing, but the 47-year old has managed to give the Three Lions a fresh look, galvanizing the squad into a group of lads with frightening potential.
Whereas Roy Hodgson believed in experience and Big Sam’s methods stifled creativity, Southgate has called on all those reserves, choosing instead to go with a youthful, more adventurous style of play.
They were largely criticized on a number of levels, but Gareth Southgate’s charges have produced plenty of goalmouth action having scored fourteen times in the last eight games; conceding a meager three goals in the process.
The Three Lions comfortably secured their qualification to the World Cup after finishing top of Group F with an 8-point cushion over second placed Slovakia, in stark contrast to Tunisia who needed a lucky break to book their ticket to Russia.
DR Congo’s iron will saw them seal an emphatic 3-1 win over Guinea on the final day, but the Tunisians held their nerves to register a barren draw with Libya; one that had them topping A of the African qualifiers with 14 points – a single point above DR Congo.
The Eagles of Carthage will as such be making their fifth appearance at the FIFA World Cup finals, having staged their debut in the competition forty years ago.
Harry Kane sustained a slight knock that kept him on the sidelined during the 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in the last build up friendly ahead of the tournament, but the England captain is expected to lead the lines against Tunisia.
Marcus Rashford has been on a fine run having scored the opener during the win over the South American side, but a major doubt has been cast over the availability of the Manchester United forward, who sustained a knock in training.
Tunisia on the other hand have a number of injury woes, as head coach Nabil Maloul will be without the services of winger Youssef Maskni, who missed the trip to Russia with a knee ligament injury.
Maloul compared Maskni’s enforced absence to Argentina playing without Lionel Messi, which speaks volumes of how big an integral team player the 27-year old is.
Defender Ali Maaoul and the midfield duo of Ghaylene Chaalali and Mohamed Amine Ben Amor could be used sparingly, seeing as they haven’t fully recovered from various injuries.
Tunisia vs. England betting predictions
England could ill afford to register a poor start to the competition given the frightening accuracy and clinical edge exhibited by group rivals, Belgium.
The Three Lions have proven hard to breach at the back, which seemingly has them as strong favorites against Tunisia, if their creative attacking might is anything to go by.
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|England to keep clean sheet||-142.86 at WilliamHill||Place Bet|
England & Tunisia recent results
England 2-0 Costa Rica (June 7, 2018)
England 2-1 Nigeria (June 2, 2018)
England 1-1 Italy (March 27, 2018)
Tunisia 0-1 Spain (June 9, 2018)
Tunisia 2-2 Turkey (June 1, 2018)
Portugal 2-2 Tunisia (May 28, 2018)
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