The wait is finally over, as England begin their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on Monday. Gareth Southgate and the FA have carefully laid out their plans for the tournament, but they will count for nothing without a win in this Group G opener.
Where and when: Volgograd Arena – 18 June, kick-off 19:00
Where you can see Tunisia vs. England: BBC
Last time: These two countries last played each other at France 98, with England winning 2-0 on that occasion.
|Harry Kane to score first||13/5||Offer|
|England to win to nil||21/20||Offer|
|Tunisia to win 1-0||15/1||Offer|
Tunisia v England Predictions and Preview
England come into the World Cup with few expectations that they’ll go deep into the tournament, with an appearance in the quarter-finals thought to be the limit of the squad’s potential. However, Southgate will fully expect his players to overcome Tunisia on Monday.
This competition seems to be all about progress and clarifying the direction in which the Three Lions are moving, and Southgate will want to see quick, passing football and flying wing-backs against a well-drilled Tunisian outfit.
England start as clear favourites in the betting, priced at 4/9. Tunisia are available at 17/2, which would be a major dent in England’s ambitions of reaching the knockout stages. With Belgium up last for Southgate’s side, this opening game is crucial for setting the tone of the tournament.
A draw would hardly be a good way for the Three Lions to kick things off, but that’s priced at 37/10 if you think it could be on the cards. Tunisia drew their first two warm-up games against Portugal and Turkey, and only lost 1-0 against Spain courtesy of a late Iago Aspas goal.
The Eagles of Carthage look pretty light when it comes to goals, with their three main forwards all over the age of 26 and boasting just 15 international goals between them. Expect England to win to nil, with that priced at 21/20 in the betting.
Southgate look set to go with a back three, meaning both Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker – who admitted he doesn’t really want to play at centre-back – will start. It looks like a straight choice between Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson in central midfield, while the England boss will hope Marcus Rashford’s knock won’t keep him out.
One to watch for Tunisia: Wahbi Khazri has 12 goals for the African outfit in 35 international appearances. He’s available at 16/1 for the first goal on Monday.
One to watch for England: Big things are expected of Harry Kane at the World Cup. The England captain is 13/5 for the first goal, and evens in a score/win double.
Long shot: If Tunisia manage to do the unthinkable and beat England, it’s likely to be by a narrow margin and because the Three Lions toil in the final third. A 1-0 win for the Eagles of Carthage is priced at 15/1.