England should succeed after kind Tunisia group

"I think, as a group, we've got to be able to take a step forward".

England were drawn with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama in Group G of the 2018 finals and will open their campaign against Tunisia on June 18 before facing Panama six days later, then closing the group with top seeds Belgium on June 28.

England secured their spot in Russian Federation after topping their qualifying group in a relatively easy run of games and Gareth Southgate will be hoping for another simple route to the Luzhniki Stadium for the World Cup final.

"Dele Alli and Harry Kane are exceptional players".

"There is less [expectancy] because of the youthful look to the squad, a lot of our players are new to this", Murphy told The Debate.

It will be nearly exactly 20 years to the day when England played Tunisia in their opening fixture of the 1998 World Cup, with England winning 2-0 on June 15.

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"In many ways when you go into the World Cup the teams that are the favourites are the nations which have won the World Cup before, there is a psychological level that you have to achieve in order to have that". After two dismal World Cups in Brazil and South Africa, England simply need to be a quarterfinal team again and, in Russian Federation, they really should be. We know it's probably the best side Belgium has ever had, and we know the quality they have.

"It was a brilliant occasion so to be leading the country out into that same occasion, the first game of the World Cup, I am hugely proud".

However, Maaloul - who is in his second stint as Tunisia coach after a brief spell in charge in 2013 - believes his side can correct that unwanted statistic. "But if we do not beat Panama and Tunisia, we should start again!"

"We have talented players - players who are at the summit of their form and young players too".

"We have a great chance", said the former worldwide, who played for Tunisia between 1982-1994.

Tunisia have never reached the knock-out stage of a World Cup, having failed in 1978, 1998, 2002 and 2006.

  • Megan Austin