England Set for First World Cup Match against Tunisia
England finally take to the field in Russia later today when they take on Tunisia in their first of three games in Group G. With Tunisia up first, and Panama up second for them the focus for England is simple, pick up six points and get into the knockout round. While the pressure is off them to a certain extent compared to recent tournaments, England fans will still be expecting them to beat Tunisia and Panama. the big test of the group will come in the final game when they take on Belgium, a game that is likely to have added importance as one that determines who will top the group, assuming the first two games go to plan for both England and Belgium.
There is no doubt that the draw has been kind to England this summer, giving them a group they should comfortably get out of, as well as two nice games to get settled into the tournament. We have seen them struggle in the past and get off to a slow start, something that if they do in Russia they may be able to get away with it. Tunisia are the better of the two teams they face first, but their attacking options are lacking a little. What we will see from them is a strong defensive performance, something England will know about and they are going to have to be patient. They will get chances, but those chances may take a while to come to them. We saw prior to the World Cup that Tunisia managed to hold Spain for 80 minutes without a goal in a recent friendly. England will have a lot of the ball in this game, but chances may be few and far between.
The good news for England is that Harry Kane is a genuine World class talent, and should he only get one chance he is one of the best in the world at taking it. He may only need one chance, and in a game where England are likely to have limited chances, he is exactly the type of player they need in and around the penalty area. The creative players behind Kane can build play up and eventually get the ball to him, and when it does fall to him the ball needs to hit the back of the net.
The game against Tunisia is going to test England, although the test will come mentally for them. They have the ability to beat Tunisia, they are likely to not get tested too much in defence, but do they have the mental strength to keep battling and find a way past a resoloute, defensive minded team. That will determine the result in this game, hopefully a result that is a positive win for England, and something they can take into their next game against Panama as they look to grow and improve throughout the tournament.