FIFA World Cup 2018
Tunisia vs England
Volgograd Arena, Russia
Monday, 18-06-2018 @09:00pm
Tunisia will be hoping to get a result against England on Monday and put Africa’s World Cup hopes back on track after seeing all the three African sides that have so far played loss their games.
Morocco, Egypt and Nigeria have all succumbed to defeats without scoring a goal in their opening games leaving Africa with zero points and no goals thus far.
With Africans already starting to lose hope, it is now down to the Carthage Lions and Senegal, who play on Tuesday to try and put back a smile on the millions of worried fans’ faces.
“We are in form, said Tunisian caoch Nabil Maaloul ahead of the game.
“We know very well we are in an extremely tough group but we have raised our game, especially in terms of our athleticism.
“Everyone has seen how well we have played in the warm-ups.
“We are determined to go down in history.
Tunisia have been boosted by the fact that Wahbi Khazri is set to be available after recovering from an injury that has side-lined him since April.
Full-back Ali Maaloul should also be fit despite a hamstring problem, but key forward Youssef Msakni was left out of the squad because of a knee injury.
For England, they have been reportedly told about their starting line-up for the match already.
With no injury worries, midfielder Jordan Henderson, centre-back Harry Maguire and forward Raheem Sterling are all tipped to play.
“We have been working on a system of play we think suits the players we have available and the style of play we want to implement, said Gereth Southgate.
“Everyone at home wants England to win but they want to see them play well and enjoy their football and that’s what I want as a coach.
Tunisia and England last met in their opening group stage game of the 1998 World Cup. England won 2-0 in Marseille.
Their only other meeting was a friendly in 1990 which ended 1-1.
Tunisia have failed to win their last 11 games at a World Cup since triumphing in their first ever match against Mexico in 1978.
It was the first match won by an African side at the World Cup.
They are in a first World Cup since 2006, but have yet to reach the knockout stage in four previous attempts.
Tunisia have only kept one clean sheet in 12 games at this tournament, a 0-0 draw with West Germany in 1978.
The Carthage Eagles ended the qualifying stage unbeaten and conceded just four goals in six matches in the final group.
Tunisia are 21st in the Fifa rankings, the highest of any African team.
England have never lost against an African team at the World Cup (W3, D3).
They have topped their group just once in their last five World Cups, in 2006.
England’s 11 goalless draws at the World Cup is a tournament record.
They conceded just three goals in qualifying – the joint best record in Europe along with Spain.
England are the only side in Russia with every squad member playing in the domestic league.
This is England’s sixth finals appearance in a row, equalling their longest streak in the competition.
Since winning the World Cup in 1966, England have progressed past the quarter-finals just once, finished fourth in 1990.
They have not scored more than one goal in their last nine World Cup games.
The other games to be played today:
-Sweden vs South Korea @Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, 03:00pm
-Belgium vs Panama @Fisht Olympic Stadium, 06:00pm