England will lock horns with Tunisia in their initial fixture of the World Cup in Russia. The clash is set to be played on Monday, June 18th and the venue is Volgograd Arena with the capacity of just over 45.000.
England enter the tournament low on expectations, just as it had been the case four years ago in Brazil. However, the same destiny (a group stage exit) would be a massive catastrophe for the Three Lions here given they simply need to make it to the knockout stage past the likes of Tunisia and Panama.
Tunisia enjoyed a remarkable campaign in qualifications topping the Group A of the final round in the African zone. They clinched four wins and two draws in six affairs with Congo DR, Libya and Guinea conceding just four times in the process.
For Tunisia, apart from the absence of star man Youssef Msakni, important first team regulars Ali Maaloul, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor and Ghaylene Chaalali were all dealt with injuries and could get limits in the number of minutes on the pitch here.
England striker Harry Kane had a slight ankle injury which left him sidelined in the 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in the last warm-up ahead of the World Cup.
Tunisia likely starting XI
Hassen – Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul, Bedoui – Sassi, Ben Amor – Skhiri, Silti, Badri – Khazri.
England likely starting XI
Pickford – Walker, Stones, Cahill,– Trippier, Dier, Alli, Lingard/Rashford – Sterling, Kane.