England v Tunisia 2018 Match Preview
England’s World Cup Journey is finally about to begin! The Three Lions face off against Tunisia at the Volgograd Arena in a repeat of the 1998 World Cup fixture. That was also the opening fixture with England recording a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Shearer and Scholes. The set up then is strangely familiar to how Gareth Southgate is expected to send his team out in Russia. 3 centre halfs, 2 marauding wing backs and 2 strikers up top, hopefully it's a sign that the result will repeat itself as well!
England World Cup Preparation
England played 2 friendlies in the weeks leading up to the World Cup. A 2-1 victory over Nigeria at Wembley, and a comfortable 2-0 win over Costa Rica at Leeds’ Elland Road. No surprise for a team who has won 7 of their last 10 games, as well as being undefeated since June 2017. Gareth Southgate experimented with 2 different lineups in each friendly, giving every player a chance to earn themselves a place for the match against Tunisia.
Against Nigeria, England were impressive in the first half before a dire second half performance. 2 goals in the first half from Gary Cahill and Harry Kane put England ahead going into halftime, but the Super Eagles fought back. Alex Iwobi put away a rebound after a Jordan Pickford save and there could have been no complaints if Nigeria got an equaliser. England’s 3 man defence stayed strong though, holding out to secure the victory.
It was a different story against Costa Rica, with England easily putting Costa Rica aside at Elland Road. A rocket from Marcus Rashford in the first half helped calm any early nerves, as well as helping his cause for a start at the World Cup. Danny Welbeck scored a second to keep his place as the highest England scorer in the current squad. It was the perfect revenge for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where Costa Rica advanced through the group at England’s expense.
Tunisia World Cup Preparation
2018 will be Tunisia’s first World Cup since 2006, and only their 5th appearance altogether. Of their 12 matches, they have only recorded one win, in their first match against Mexico in 1978. Don’t expect Tunisia to simply turn up and make up the numbers though. Now ranked 21st in FIFA’s latest World rankings, the African side have more than earned their place amongst the World’s elite. To help you get ready for the match, Bet UK have taken a look at Tunisia's 3 players who could make a difference.
Their world ranking was backed up by 2 impressive results against European opposition as they prepared for the tournament, a 2-2 draw with Portugal and another 2-2 draw with Turkey. Against Portugal, Tunisia fought back from 2-0 down after Andre Silva and Joao Mario put their team ahead. Tunisian striker Anice Badri pulled one back before half time before Ben Youssef completed the comeback in the second half. Ronaldo was the only player missing from an almost full strength Portuguese team, proving that Tunisia are not to be underestimated.
It was a different story against Turkey in Tunisia. After going behind to a Cenk Tosun penalty, Badri scored for the second match in a row to make it 1-1. Tosun then started arguing with his own fans, even aiming a throat slitting gesture towards them as he was pulled away by his coaches. It didn’t take long for Tunisia to make the most of their one man advantage, making it 2-1 with 11 minutes left. Unlike the Portugal game, Tunisia should have taken a win, but a 90th minute equaliser meant it was another 2-2 draw. However, this was another example of how strong Tunisia could be going into Russia 2018. At a first glance, they might have been an ideal first opponent for England, but maybe it won’t be as easy as we all first thought.
When and where to watch?
England v Tunisia will be shown live on BBC One at 7pm, with build up starting from 6:15. Check when all of England's fixtures are with Bet UK's World Cup Fixture List.
If you can’t get yourself around a TV, then Talk Sport and BBC 5 Live will both have full live commentary for the match.
If you are an England fan in Russia at the moment, then you’ll need to get to the Volgograd Arena for 5pm on the 18th June. There’s plenty of ways to make your way over to the arena, with buses, trams and trains all travelling direct to the stadium. The closest station for buses and trams is just 200m away. Get on either the No.95 Bus or the No. 9 and 12 Trams and get off at ‘Central Stadium’ to get there. If you are travelling by train, then the Mamayev Kurgan railway station is a 10-15 minute walk. There are stations all around Volgograd, with all trains heading to the correct stop. If you're lucky enough to be in Russia this summer, then Bet UK's World Cup Stadium Guide will help you find your way around.