By: Jason Green
Date: Monday June 18th
Time: 7:00 PM
Match Odds: England -240 / Tunisia +750 / Draw +355
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
England has underperformed at the last few World Cup Tournaments and have not advanced past the quarterfinals since finishing in 4th place in the 1990. They did even make it out of the group stage in the last World Cup and there is a lot of pressure on them in this one for a good finish. They had a little luck in their side drawing Tunisia in their opening match in Russia where they are big betting favorites.
If England did not make it out of Group G with the likes of Panama and Tunisia in the group it would be a MAJOR disappointment for the Three Lions.
Tunisia was not only behind the eight-ball coming into this match as a big underdog, but they will be without their star player in Youssef Msakni, who suffered a knee injury in the squad’s last friendly. Tunisia’s manager Nabil Maloul stated that playing without him Msakni is like Argentina playing without Messi, so a big blow to say the least.
Not only is Maloul out for the Tournament, but regulars Ali Maaloul, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor and Ghaylene Chaalali are also banged up and may play limited minutes.
These teams have faced each other twice with a friendly in 1990 ending in a 1-1 draw and England beating Tunisia 2-0 in the 1998 World Cup.
Wahbi Khazri is the main striker for Tunisia and he had a solid season scoring nine goals while on loan at Rennes in Ligue 1 in France.
While Tunisia is winless in their last three matches they only lost to Spain 1-0 and they played to a couple of 2-2 draws facing Turkey and a strong Portugal squad.
England is unbeaten in their last 10 matches and their last two came against teams featured in Russia in Nigeria and Costa Rica.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling are a solid striker duo up from for England, who has scored Four goals in their last two matches. They have a solid midfield and Tunisia has to play well in that area of the pitch. Their defense will be very key and they also have to look for the counter-attack since the English will likely dominate the time of possession.
In Tunisia’s last tune-up match in the 1-0 loss to Spain their defense was good, but they really never threatened to score. That may be the case in this match, which is why they will drop back to pack the defensive area of the pitch.
Last Three Matches
5/28/18 Portugal 2 Turkey 2 (Friendly)
6/1/18 Tunisia 2 Turkey 2 (Friendly)
6/9/18 Tunisia 0 Spain 1 (Friendly)
3/27/18 England 1 Italy 1 (Friendly)
6/2/18 England 2 Nigeria 1 (Friendly)
6/7/18 England 2 Costa Rica 0 (Friendly)
Prediction: The Three Lions are fortunate to face a Tunisian team that is banged up and really lacks world-class talent. They will get off to a great start in this World Cup with an easy win over an out-matched Tunisian side winning by a score of 3-0 and bagging the all-important three points.