England Harry Kane
England players look in buoyant mood going into their Fifa World Cup 2018 opener against TunisiaOleg Nikishin/Getty Images

England are one of those teams that look good on paper, are highly-rated by the media before any major tournament, only to deeply disappoint. Well, the Fifa World Cup 2018 story is a slightly different one with nobody expecting too many big things from England this time around.

The main reason behind that is that this England squad is pretty young, with not too many having any sort of experience in the World Cup. Even Harry Kane, the captain of the England side, will be making his World Cup debut, with the striker only having that disastrous Euro 2016 to call upon as any sort of major tournament experience.

Gareth Southgate has done the right thing by putting his faith in youth and inexperience, because, no matter what team he would have picked, England would not have been expected to go too far. Might as well then give the youngsters some valuable experience before, maybe, eyeing the Jules Rimet trophy in four years' time.

The talk in the England squad, however, has been that they are already ready for a title tilt, and while the talent is there, the strength in depth in the other big teams in this World Cup and England's own major tournament history suggests a quarterfinal exit would be deemed a pretty good result.

To get to the last-eight, though, England first need to qualify for the round of 16 from Group G, and with Belgium also there for company, Southgate's side will know there really is no room for errors.

Tunisia are a team that England have faced before in the World Cup, with the latter coming up trumps 2-0 in the 1998 World Cup, a match that the current manager Southgate featured in.

England will, no doubt, be glad to come up with another 2-0 victory over Tunisia on Monday.

Team news:


Southgate has already informed his squad about the starting lineup that will play Tunisia.

"The players know the team for the first game already," said Southgate. "We have been working on a system of play we think suits the players we have available and the style of play we want to implement as well."

That style is expected to be an all-action, high-press style, although England will also need to have some creativity about them for this game, since they will be the ones with the majority of the possession.

The vast majority of the starting lineup will be making their World Cup debuts, with Kyle Walker again set to partner John Stones and Harry Maguire in a back three. The wing-backs are tipped to be Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young, while Jordan Henderson is set to get the midfield nod over Eric Dier.

Kane will look for the supply line to come from fellow Spurs man Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling.

Marcus Rashford suffered a slight injury last week, but has trained this weekend, so should be available to come on from the bench.


Key player Wahbi Khazri has been given the all-clear, but it will be a bit of a risk to start the midfielder for this game, considering he hasn't played any match since injuring his thigh in April.

Another injury worry for Tunisia is Ali Maaloul, but the full-back is expected to be fit in time.

Confirmed starting XI:

England: Jordan Pickford; Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Kieran Trippier, Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Dele Alli, Ashley Young; Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane.

Tunisia: Mouez Hassen; Yassine Meriah, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn, Ali Maaloul; Ellyes Skhiri, Anice Badri, Ferjani Sassi; Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Wahbi Khazri, Naim Sliti.