England vs Tunisia Preview
|Image from SportsEon|
After their disastrous World Cup 2014 and Euro 2016 campaigns, England have returned to the World Cup with a rejuvinated squad, a new formation and more importantly the new philosophy of Gareth Southgate in an aim to win their first senior trophy since 1966. Their group is substantially easier on paper than four years ago with Belgium their most dangerous opponents. Tunisia are the highest ranked African side at the World Cup at 21st on the FIFA World Rankings and only nine places behind England who are joint twelfth with Denmark who narrowly beat Peru yesterday with a Yussuf Poulsen strike in the second half. The North African side have some good players in Yohan Benalouane and Wahbi Khazri who both have Premier League experience (for Leicester City and Sunderland respectively) that should help when facing England.
ENGLAND’S PREDICTED LINEUP:
Gareth Southgate has made this easy by announcing that Lingard, Young and Maguire would all start for England and also stating that either Jordan Henderson or Eric Dier would operate as a deep playmaker. Nevertheless it seems England will maintain their 5-3-2 formation for their opening game.
GOALKEEPER: JORDAN PICKFORD
He has been given the no.1 shirt by Southgate which says it all really. He is more suited to the formation and is comfortable on the ball as well as accurate in his distribution. He has saved Everton this year and Sunderland last year from further embarassments and earned his position in this squad.
CENTRE BACKS: KYLE WALKER, JOHN STONES, HARRY MAGUIRE
A defensive three that are comfortable in playing out of the back but are able to clear the ball and do the dirty work if needed. Honestly I would have Gary Cahill over Harry Maguire as he is a warrior of a defender and proved it in the friendlies he played and although he did not play that much for Chelsea this season is still a very good defender.
WINGBACKS: KIERAN TRIPPIER AND ASHLEY YOUNG
Both of them have had fantastic seasons and have earned their position in the squad and in the starting XI. They both have terrific crossing ability and have a good work ethic to gallop forwards but also to track back and help out in defence.
|Manchester United players Lingard and Young are set to start tomorrow
(Image from Sky Sports)
MIDFIELD THREE: JORDAN HENDERSON, JESSE LINGARD, RUBEN LOFTUS-CHEEK
A cointoss between both Henderson and Dier and Alli and Loftus-Cheek. Henderson was outstanding against Costa Rica and has looked the business all season. He may havce scored for England yet but is a natural leader, has superb passing ability and always looks to play forward. Lingard offers the energy and creative spark from the midfield which he has shown for club and country this season. Loftus-Cheek has looked better than Alli in the friendlies and is less likely to get booked or cause a heated situation than Dele Alli who is just not looking right.
FORWARDS: RAHEEM STERLING AND HARRY KANE
With Marcus Rashford sitting out of training recently he will not be risked for the first game and Sterling is likely to start alongside the skipper.
|Image from buildlineup.com|
England should beat Tunisia in this game but will need to create openings and be clinical in the attacking third. No doubt Kane will want to open the scoring on his World Cup debut and silence his critics. They will also want to overcome Belgium’s potential goal difference as it could be crucial for qualifying as the top side and especially as Belgium face Panama first and could tear them apart.
Predicted score: 3-0