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The Premier League midfielder is fully focused on France for now, with speculation linking him with a big-money transfer being ignored for now
Kante responds to PSG links as Chelsea exit talk mounts during World Cup duty
The Premier League midfielder is fully focused on France for now, with speculation linking him with a big-money transfer being ignored for now
Diffuseur de la Premier League et des coupes européennes de football à la rentrée, RMC Sport sera proposé dès le 3 juillet aux tarifs de 9 euros par mois pour les clients SFR et 19 euros par mois pour les non-abonnés.
Foot - Médias - RMC Sport dévoile ses tarifs
Diffuseur de la Premier League et des coupes européennes de football à la rentrée, RMC Sport sera proposé dès le 3 juillet aux tarifs de 9 euros par mois pour les clients SFR et 19 euros par mois pour les non-abonnés.
Nabil Fekir could join another Premier League side for £66m
Nabil Fekir could join another Premier League side for £66m
Nabil Fekir could join another Premier League side for £66m
Leicester City have made a £20 million bid for Norwich attacker James Maddison. The former Premier League champions tabled their offer for Maddison on Sunday, it is understood, and are hopeful of winning the chase for the highy-rated star. Everton and Southampton are also keen on the former England U21 international but Leicester have made a serious move with an offer to test Norwich’s resolve. Norwich want £25m after add-ons for Maddison, one of the most coveted players in the Championship. Last season the 21 year-old scored 14 goals and delivered eight assists. James Maddison (right) in action for Norwich Credit: getty images Leicester have been weighing up an official bid for weeks but have now made their move after learning of proposed offers from rival Premier League clubs. Claude Puel, the Leicester manager, has already signed Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans this summer and the club’s owners are prepared to spend big to revamp the squad. Now the east Midlanders are targeting Maddison and want a deal sorted with the Championship club over the next few days.
Exclusive: Leicester City make £20m bid for Norwich forward James Maddison
Leicester City have made a £20 million bid for Norwich attacker James Maddison. The former Premier League champions tabled their offer for Maddison on Sunday, it is understood, and are hopeful of winning the chase for the highy-rated star. Everton and Southampton are also keen on the former England U21 international but Leicester have made a serious move with an offer to test Norwich’s resolve. Norwich want £25m after add-ons for Maddison, one of the most coveted players in the Championship. Last season the 21 year-old scored 14 goals and delivered eight assists. James Maddison (right) in action for Norwich Credit: getty images Leicester have been weighing up an official bid for weeks but have now made their move after learning of proposed offers from rival Premier League clubs. Claude Puel, the Leicester manager, has already signed Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans this summer and the club’s owners are prepared to spend big to revamp the squad. Now the east Midlanders are targeting Maddison and want a deal sorted with the Championship club over the next few days.
Leicester City have made a £20 million bid for Norwich attacker James Maddison. The former Premier League champions tabled their offer for Maddison on Sunday, it is understood, and are hopeful of winning the chase for the highy-rated star. Everton and Southampton are also keen on the former England U21 international but Leicester have made a serious move with an offer to test Norwich’s resolve. Norwich want £25m after add-ons for Maddison, one of the most coveted players in the Championship. Last season the 21 year-old scored 14 goals and delivered eight assists. James Maddison (right) in action for Norwich Credit: getty images Leicester have been weighing up an official bid for weeks but have now made their move after learning of proposed offers from rival Premier League clubs. Claude Puel, the Leicester manager, has already signed Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans this summer and the club’s owners are prepared to spend big to revamp the squad. Now the east Midlanders are targeting Maddison and want a deal sorted with the Championship club over the next few days.
Exclusive: Leicester City make £20m bid for Norwich forward James Maddison
Leicester City have made a £20 million bid for Norwich attacker James Maddison. The former Premier League champions tabled their offer for Maddison on Sunday, it is understood, and are hopeful of winning the chase for the highy-rated star. Everton and Southampton are also keen on the former England U21 international but Leicester have made a serious move with an offer to test Norwich’s resolve. Norwich want £25m after add-ons for Maddison, one of the most coveted players in the Championship. Last season the 21 year-old scored 14 goals and delivered eight assists. James Maddison (right) in action for Norwich Credit: getty images Leicester have been weighing up an official bid for weeks but have now made their move after learning of proposed offers from rival Premier League clubs. Claude Puel, the Leicester manager, has already signed Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans this summer and the club’s owners are prepared to spend big to revamp the squad. Now the east Midlanders are targeting Maddison and want a deal sorted with the Championship club over the next few days.
Liverpool have agreed a ­professional contract with their teenage sensation Rhian Brewster, ending fears the England youth ­international could quit Anfield. Manager Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards have been in constant negotiations with Brewster and his representative to secure the 18-year-old on what is understood to be a five-year contract, retaining him until 2023. The striker’s burning ambition had opened up the possibility of him moving elsewhere where he may have been guaranteed a more rapid promotion to first-team football. But Klopp and Edwards sought to reassure him the pathway to the Liverpool starting line-up was there should potential be fulfilled. Brewster will be part of the ­senior squad when they return to pre-season training and, after a breakthrough in talks, he will put pen to paper on the long-term ­contract in the coming days. For all the business Liverpool have done and may yet do this ­summer, tying down Brewster may prove one of the most significant should he take his exceptional form at youth level onto the senior stage. Liverpool feared losing Rhian Brewster (left) to Germany Credit: getty images He was the star of last season’s Under-17 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot, as England were crowned champions. He is ­regarded as one of the most exciting players of his age in world football. Liverpool were genuinely concerned about losing Brewster at one point at the end of last season – he has been on a scholarship deal, despite being eligible for a ­professional contract since turning18 in April. Clubs in Germany ­circled offering a direct route to top-level football in the Bundesliga. The club went so far as to threaten Borussia Monchengladbach with a report to Fifa for an ­illegal approach, and relations were soured to the extent of a pre-season friendly between the clubs being cancelled. Now Brewster can expect to make his senior debut in a ­Liverpool jersey in the very near future. Brewster may have featured in the Premier League already, but for an ankle injury towards the end of last season. That may curtail how soon he can start pre-season with the rest of the squad, but he is ­expected to be fit to tour the United States next month. The determination and influence of Klopp and Edwards in convincing Brewster to remain cannot be underestimated, especially as there has been a growing trend of ­exciting England youth players moving to Germany. Rhian Brewster won the U17 World Cup with England Credit: reuters Liverpool were in a strong position to argue there is no elite manager in the Premier League more determined to give his academy players a chance. Klopp has demonstrated throughout his career his preference is to coach and develop those players he values at his club, before looking elsewhere. The opportunity will be there for Brewster to prove he can challenge the lauded Liverpool front three prior to establishing a starting place as his career develops. At the end of last season, Klopp asked Brewster to attend the Football Writers’ Association player of the year dinner alongside Mohamed Salah, so a tribute could be paid to the youngster for publicly expressing his despair with Uefa and Fifa’s lame efforts to combat on-field racist abuse. Brewster said he was targeted for both club and country, but insufficient evidence meant no action was taken against those he accused. “Rhain spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing,” said Klopp. This was another sign of how much the Liverpool manager valued the character of the starlet as much as the talent and will surely have helped convince him he is at the right club at this stage of his career.
Liverpool agree professional contract with Rhian Brewster to end fears he could be lured to Germany
Liverpool have agreed a ­professional contract with their teenage sensation Rhian Brewster, ending fears the England youth ­international could quit Anfield. Manager Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards have been in constant negotiations with Brewster and his representative to secure the 18-year-old on what is understood to be a five-year contract, retaining him until 2023. The striker’s burning ambition had opened up the possibility of him moving elsewhere where he may have been guaranteed a more rapid promotion to first-team football. But Klopp and Edwards sought to reassure him the pathway to the Liverpool starting line-up was there should potential be fulfilled. Brewster will be part of the ­senior squad when they return to pre-season training and, after a breakthrough in talks, he will put pen to paper on the long-term ­contract in the coming days. For all the business Liverpool have done and may yet do this ­summer, tying down Brewster may prove one of the most significant should he take his exceptional form at youth level onto the senior stage. Liverpool feared losing Rhian Brewster (left) to Germany Credit: getty images He was the star of last season’s Under-17 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot, as England were crowned champions. He is ­regarded as one of the most exciting players of his age in world football. Liverpool were genuinely concerned about losing Brewster at one point at the end of last season – he has been on a scholarship deal, despite being eligible for a ­professional contract since turning18 in April. Clubs in Germany ­circled offering a direct route to top-level football in the Bundesliga. The club went so far as to threaten Borussia Monchengladbach with a report to Fifa for an ­illegal approach, and relations were soured to the extent of a pre-season friendly between the clubs being cancelled. Now Brewster can expect to make his senior debut in a ­Liverpool jersey in the very near future. Brewster may have featured in the Premier League already, but for an ankle injury towards the end of last season. That may curtail how soon he can start pre-season with the rest of the squad, but he is ­expected to be fit to tour the United States next month. The determination and influence of Klopp and Edwards in convincing Brewster to remain cannot be underestimated, especially as there has been a growing trend of ­exciting England youth players moving to Germany. Rhian Brewster won the U17 World Cup with England Credit: reuters Liverpool were in a strong position to argue there is no elite manager in the Premier League more determined to give his academy players a chance. Klopp has demonstrated throughout his career his preference is to coach and develop those players he values at his club, before looking elsewhere. The opportunity will be there for Brewster to prove he can challenge the lauded Liverpool front three prior to establishing a starting place as his career develops. At the end of last season, Klopp asked Brewster to attend the Football Writers’ Association player of the year dinner alongside Mohamed Salah, so a tribute could be paid to the youngster for publicly expressing his despair with Uefa and Fifa’s lame efforts to combat on-field racist abuse. Brewster said he was targeted for both club and country, but insufficient evidence meant no action was taken against those he accused. “Rhain spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing,” said Klopp. This was another sign of how much the Liverpool manager valued the character of the starlet as much as the talent and will surely have helped convince him he is at the right club at this stage of his career.
Liverpool have agreed a ­professional contract with their teenage sensation Rhian Brewster, ending fears the England youth ­international could quit Anfield. Manager Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards have been in constant negotiations with Brewster and his representative to secure the 18-year-old on what is understood to be a five-year contract, retaining him until 2023. The striker’s burning ambition had opened up the possibility of him moving elsewhere where he may have been guaranteed a more rapid promotion to first-team football. But Klopp and Edwards sought to reassure him the pathway to the Liverpool starting line-up was there should potential be fulfilled. Brewster will be part of the ­senior squad when they return to pre-season training and, after a breakthrough in talks, he will put pen to paper on the long-term ­contract in the coming days. For all the business Liverpool have done and may yet do this ­summer, tying down Brewster may prove one of the most significant should he take his exceptional form at youth level onto the senior stage. Liverpool feared losing Rhian Brewster (left) to Germany Credit: getty images He was the star of last season’s Under-17 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot, as England were crowned champions. He is ­regarded as one of the most exciting players of his age in world football. Liverpool were genuinely concerned about losing Brewster at one point at the end of last season – he has been on a scholarship deal, despite being eligible for a ­professional contract since turning18 in April. Clubs in Germany ­circled offering a direct route to top-level football in the Bundesliga. The club went so far as to threaten Borussia Monchengladbach with a report to Fifa for an ­illegal approach, and relations were soured to the extent of a pre-season friendly between the clubs being cancelled. Now Brewster can expect to make his senior debut in a ­Liverpool jersey in the very near future. Brewster may have featured in the Premier League already, but for an ankle injury towards the end of last season. That may curtail how soon he can start pre-season with the rest of the squad, but he is ­expected to be fit to tour the United States next month. The determination and influence of Klopp and Edwards in convincing Brewster to remain cannot be underestimated, especially as there has been a growing trend of ­exciting England youth players moving to Germany. Rhian Brewster won the U17 World Cup with England Credit: reuters Liverpool were in a strong position to argue there is no elite manager in the Premier League more determined to give his academy players a chance. Klopp has demonstrated throughout his career his preference is to coach and develop those players he values at his club, before looking elsewhere. The opportunity will be there for Brewster to prove he can challenge the lauded Liverpool front three prior to establishing a starting place as his career develops. At the end of last season, Klopp asked Brewster to attend the Football Writers’ Association player of the year dinner alongside Mohamed Salah, so a tribute could be paid to the youngster for publicly expressing his despair with Uefa and Fifa’s lame efforts to combat on-field racist abuse. Brewster said he was targeted for both club and country, but insufficient evidence meant no action was taken against those he accused. “Rhain spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing,” said Klopp. This was another sign of how much the Liverpool manager valued the character of the starlet as much as the talent and will surely have helped convince him he is at the right club at this stage of his career.
Liverpool agree professional contract with Rhian Brewster to end fears he could be lured to Germany
Liverpool have agreed a ­professional contract with their teenage sensation Rhian Brewster, ending fears the England youth ­international could quit Anfield. Manager Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards have been in constant negotiations with Brewster and his representative to secure the 18-year-old on what is understood to be a five-year contract, retaining him until 2023. The striker’s burning ambition had opened up the possibility of him moving elsewhere where he may have been guaranteed a more rapid promotion to first-team football. But Klopp and Edwards sought to reassure him the pathway to the Liverpool starting line-up was there should potential be fulfilled. Brewster will be part of the ­senior squad when they return to pre-season training and, after a breakthrough in talks, he will put pen to paper on the long-term ­contract in the coming days. For all the business Liverpool have done and may yet do this ­summer, tying down Brewster may prove one of the most significant should he take his exceptional form at youth level onto the senior stage. Liverpool feared losing Rhian Brewster (left) to Germany Credit: getty images He was the star of last season’s Under-17 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot, as England were crowned champions. He is ­regarded as one of the most exciting players of his age in world football. Liverpool were genuinely concerned about losing Brewster at one point at the end of last season – he has been on a scholarship deal, despite being eligible for a ­professional contract since turning18 in April. Clubs in Germany ­circled offering a direct route to top-level football in the Bundesliga. The club went so far as to threaten Borussia Monchengladbach with a report to Fifa for an ­illegal approach, and relations were soured to the extent of a pre-season friendly between the clubs being cancelled. Now Brewster can expect to make his senior debut in a ­Liverpool jersey in the very near future. Brewster may have featured in the Premier League already, but for an ankle injury towards the end of last season. That may curtail how soon he can start pre-season with the rest of the squad, but he is ­expected to be fit to tour the United States next month. The determination and influence of Klopp and Edwards in convincing Brewster to remain cannot be underestimated, especially as there has been a growing trend of ­exciting England youth players moving to Germany. Rhian Brewster won the U17 World Cup with England Credit: reuters Liverpool were in a strong position to argue there is no elite manager in the Premier League more determined to give his academy players a chance. Klopp has demonstrated throughout his career his preference is to coach and develop those players he values at his club, before looking elsewhere. The opportunity will be there for Brewster to prove he can challenge the lauded Liverpool front three prior to establishing a starting place as his career develops. At the end of last season, Klopp asked Brewster to attend the Football Writers’ Association player of the year dinner alongside Mohamed Salah, so a tribute could be paid to the youngster for publicly expressing his despair with Uefa and Fifa’s lame efforts to combat on-field racist abuse. Brewster said he was targeted for both club and country, but insufficient evidence meant no action was taken against those he accused. “Rhain spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing,” said Klopp. This was another sign of how much the Liverpool manager valued the character of the starlet as much as the talent and will surely have helped convince him he is at the right club at this stage of his career.
Liverpool have agreed a ­professional contract with their teenage sensation Rhian Brewster, ending fears the England youth ­international could quit Anfield. Manager Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards have been in constant negotiations with Brewster and his representative to secure the 18-year-old on what is understood to be a five-year contract, retaining him until 2023. The striker’s burning ambition had opened up the possibility of him moving elsewhere where he may have been guaranteed a more rapid promotion to first-team football. But Klopp and Edwards sought to reassure him the pathway to the Liverpool starting line-up was there should potential be fulfilled. Brewster will be part of the ­senior squad when they return to pre-season training and, after a breakthrough in talks, he will put pen to paper on the long-term ­contract in the coming days. For all the business Liverpool have done and may yet do this ­summer, tying down Brewster may prove one of the most significant should he take his exceptional form at youth level onto the senior stage. Liverpool feared losing Rhian Brewster (left) to Germany Credit: getty images He was the star of last season’s Under-17 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot, as England were crowned champions. He is ­regarded as one of the most exciting players of his age in world football. Liverpool were genuinely concerned about losing Brewster at one point at the end of last season – he has been on a scholarship deal, despite being eligible for a ­professional contract since turning18 in April. Clubs in Germany ­circled offering a direct route to top-level football in the Bundesliga. The club went so far as to threaten Borussia Monchengladbach with a report to Fifa for an ­illegal approach, and relations were soured to the extent of a pre-season friendly between the clubs being cancelled. Now Brewster can expect to make his senior debut in a ­Liverpool jersey in the very near future. Brewster may have featured in the Premier League already, but for an ankle injury towards the end of last season. That may curtail how soon he can start pre-season with the rest of the squad, but he is ­expected to be fit to tour the United States next month. The determination and influence of Klopp and Edwards in convincing Brewster to remain cannot be underestimated, especially as there has been a growing trend of ­exciting England youth players moving to Germany. Rhian Brewster won the U17 World Cup with England Credit: reuters Liverpool were in a strong position to argue there is no elite manager in the Premier League more determined to give his academy players a chance. Klopp has demonstrated throughout his career his preference is to coach and develop those players he values at his club, before looking elsewhere. The opportunity will be there for Brewster to prove he can challenge the lauded Liverpool front three prior to establishing a starting place as his career develops. At the end of last season, Klopp asked Brewster to attend the Football Writers’ Association player of the year dinner alongside Mohamed Salah, so a tribute could be paid to the youngster for publicly expressing his despair with Uefa and Fifa’s lame efforts to combat on-field racist abuse. Brewster said he was targeted for both club and country, but insufficient evidence meant no action was taken against those he accused. “Rhain spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing,” said Klopp. This was another sign of how much the Liverpool manager valued the character of the starlet as much as the talent and will surely have helped convince him he is at the right club at this stage of his career.
Liverpool agree professional contract with Rhian Brewster to end fears he could be lured to Germany
Liverpool have agreed a ­professional contract with their teenage sensation Rhian Brewster, ending fears the England youth ­international could quit Anfield. Manager Jurgen Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards have been in constant negotiations with Brewster and his representative to secure the 18-year-old on what is understood to be a five-year contract, retaining him until 2023. The striker’s burning ambition had opened up the possibility of him moving elsewhere where he may have been guaranteed a more rapid promotion to first-team football. But Klopp and Edwards sought to reassure him the pathway to the Liverpool starting line-up was there should potential be fulfilled. Brewster will be part of the ­senior squad when they return to pre-season training and, after a breakthrough in talks, he will put pen to paper on the long-term ­contract in the coming days. For all the business Liverpool have done and may yet do this ­summer, tying down Brewster may prove one of the most significant should he take his exceptional form at youth level onto the senior stage. Liverpool feared losing Rhian Brewster (left) to Germany Credit: getty images He was the star of last season’s Under-17 World Cup, winning the Golden Boot, as England were crowned champions. He is ­regarded as one of the most exciting players of his age in world football. Liverpool were genuinely concerned about losing Brewster at one point at the end of last season – he has been on a scholarship deal, despite being eligible for a ­professional contract since turning18 in April. Clubs in Germany ­circled offering a direct route to top-level football in the Bundesliga. The club went so far as to threaten Borussia Monchengladbach with a report to Fifa for an ­illegal approach, and relations were soured to the extent of a pre-season friendly between the clubs being cancelled. Now Brewster can expect to make his senior debut in a ­Liverpool jersey in the very near future. Brewster may have featured in the Premier League already, but for an ankle injury towards the end of last season. That may curtail how soon he can start pre-season with the rest of the squad, but he is ­expected to be fit to tour the United States next month. The determination and influence of Klopp and Edwards in convincing Brewster to remain cannot be underestimated, especially as there has been a growing trend of ­exciting England youth players moving to Germany. Rhian Brewster won the U17 World Cup with England Credit: reuters Liverpool were in a strong position to argue there is no elite manager in the Premier League more determined to give his academy players a chance. Klopp has demonstrated throughout his career his preference is to coach and develop those players he values at his club, before looking elsewhere. The opportunity will be there for Brewster to prove he can challenge the lauded Liverpool front three prior to establishing a starting place as his career develops. At the end of last season, Klopp asked Brewster to attend the Football Writers’ Association player of the year dinner alongside Mohamed Salah, so a tribute could be paid to the youngster for publicly expressing his despair with Uefa and Fifa’s lame efforts to combat on-field racist abuse. Brewster said he was targeted for both club and country, but insufficient evidence meant no action was taken against those he accused. “Rhain spoke about racism in modern football with the same power, command and composure that he shows when playing,” said Klopp. This was another sign of how much the Liverpool manager valued the character of the starlet as much as the talent and will surely have helped convince him he is at the right club at this stage of his career.
Fabian Delph believes the competitve nature of the Premier League gives England the opportunity to go into fifth gear if needed like Germany and Brazil.
England have a fifth gear like Germany and Brazil - Delph
Fabian Delph believes the competitve nature of the Premier League gives England the opportunity to go into fifth gear if needed like Germany and Brazil.
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia take risks...similiar to Manchester City - Delph
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia take risks...similiar to Manchester City - Delph
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia take risks...similiar to Manchester City - Delph
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia take risks...similiar to Manchester City - Delph
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Fabian Delph believes the competitve nature of the Premier League gives England the opportunity to go into fifth gear if needed like Germany and Brazil.
England have a fifth gear like Germany and Brazil - Delph
Fabian Delph believes the competitve nature of the Premier League gives England the opportunity to go into fifth gear if needed like Germany and Brazil.
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia take risks...similiar to Manchester City - Delph
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Fabian Delph believes the competitve nature of the Premier League gives England the opportunity to go into fifth gear if needed like Germany and Brazil.
England have a fifth gear like Germany and Brazil - Delph
Fabian Delph believes the competitve nature of the Premier League gives England the opportunity to go into fifth gear if needed like Germany and Brazil.
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Tunisia take risks...similiar to Manchester City - Delph
Tunisia's style of football is similiar to Premier League champions Manchester City according to England's Fabian Delph.
Here we take a look at Mexico's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know about the Group F challengers. Mexico's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul) Defenders: Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Edson Alvarez (Club America), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Miguel Layun (Sevilla) Midfielders: Rafa Marquez (Atlas), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy) Forwards: Javier Hernandez (West Ham United), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Jesus Corona (Porto), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (PSV) Mexico's World Cup 2018 fixtures Germany: Sunday, June 17 at 4pm South Korea: Saturday, June 23 at 4pm Sweden: Wednesday, June 27 at 3pm What odds are Mexico to win the World Cup? 100/1 The kits See where Mexico's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Unconventional Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio, nickname El Recreacionista (The Recreationist). Studied at uni in Liverpool where he rented a flat near Melwood so he could spy on training sessions. Who's the star? Andrés Guardado, the skipper, is vastly experienced with 138 caps and El Tri are hoping that he can shake off injury to take up his command post in the centre of the park. Andres Guardado, who has racked up 138 caps Credit: Getty Images Best thing about them Experience, and consistency. Regulars in the knockout stages, having reached the last 16 in the last six World Cups. Worst thing about them Javier Hernandez is a fine marksman but the team can struggle to break teams down and create chances for him, as seen in recent 0-0 with Wales. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Forward Carlos Vela, a fringe performer at Arsenal and then later with West Brom, currently playing in Los Angeles. Cameramen will be picking out… Hirving Lozano, a young winger with tons of talent and the nickname of Chucky. Currently at PSV, and surely a Premier League candidate. Fans' favourite chant “Puto!” A vile homophobic slur at opposing players. An enterprising beer company back home has encouraged fans to instead switch the chant to “Putin!” On-field prediction Second in the group, out to Brazil in last 16. Off-field prediction Fun fans. Not afraid to keep it simple with a comedy sombrero. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Mexico World Cup 2018 squad list and team guide
Here we take a look at Mexico's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know about the Group F challengers. Mexico's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul) Defenders: Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Edson Alvarez (Club America), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Miguel Layun (Sevilla) Midfielders: Rafa Marquez (Atlas), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy) Forwards: Javier Hernandez (West Ham United), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Jesus Corona (Porto), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (PSV) Mexico's World Cup 2018 fixtures Germany: Sunday, June 17 at 4pm South Korea: Saturday, June 23 at 4pm Sweden: Wednesday, June 27 at 3pm What odds are Mexico to win the World Cup? 100/1 The kits See where Mexico's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Unconventional Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio, nickname El Recreacionista (The Recreationist). Studied at uni in Liverpool where he rented a flat near Melwood so he could spy on training sessions. Who's the star? Andrés Guardado, the skipper, is vastly experienced with 138 caps and El Tri are hoping that he can shake off injury to take up his command post in the centre of the park. Andres Guardado, who has racked up 138 caps Credit: Getty Images Best thing about them Experience, and consistency. Regulars in the knockout stages, having reached the last 16 in the last six World Cups. Worst thing about them Javier Hernandez is a fine marksman but the team can struggle to break teams down and create chances for him, as seen in recent 0-0 with Wales. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Forward Carlos Vela, a fringe performer at Arsenal and then later with West Brom, currently playing in Los Angeles. Cameramen will be picking out… Hirving Lozano, a young winger with tons of talent and the nickname of Chucky. Currently at PSV, and surely a Premier League candidate. Fans' favourite chant “Puto!” A vile homophobic slur at opposing players. An enterprising beer company back home has encouraged fans to instead switch the chant to “Putin!” On-field prediction Second in the group, out to Brazil in last 16. Off-field prediction Fun fans. Not afraid to keep it simple with a comedy sombrero. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Here we take a look at Mexico's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know about the Group F challengers. Mexico's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul) Defenders: Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Edson Alvarez (Club America), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Miguel Layun (Sevilla) Midfielders: Rafa Marquez (Atlas), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy) Forwards: Javier Hernandez (West Ham United), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Jesus Corona (Porto), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (PSV) Mexico's World Cup 2018 fixtures Germany: Sunday, June 17 at 4pm South Korea: Saturday, June 23 at 4pm Sweden: Wednesday, June 27 at 3pm What odds are Mexico to win the World Cup? 100/1 The kits See where Mexico's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Unconventional Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio, nickname El Recreacionista (The Recreationist). Studied at uni in Liverpool where he rented a flat near Melwood so he could spy on training sessions. Who's the star? Andrés Guardado, the skipper, is vastly experienced with 138 caps and El Tri are hoping that he can shake off injury to take up his command post in the centre of the park. Andres Guardado, who has racked up 138 caps Credit: Getty Images Best thing about them Experience, and consistency. Regulars in the knockout stages, having reached the last 16 in the last six World Cups. Worst thing about them Javier Hernandez is a fine marksman but the team can struggle to break teams down and create chances for him, as seen in recent 0-0 with Wales. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Forward Carlos Vela, a fringe performer at Arsenal and then later with West Brom, currently playing in Los Angeles. Cameramen will be picking out… Hirving Lozano, a young winger with tons of talent and the nickname of Chucky. Currently at PSV, and surely a Premier League candidate. Fans' favourite chant “Puto!” A vile homophobic slur at opposing players. An enterprising beer company back home has encouraged fans to instead switch the chant to “Putin!” On-field prediction Second in the group, out to Brazil in last 16. Off-field prediction Fun fans. Not afraid to keep it simple with a comedy sombrero. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Mexico World Cup 2018 squad list and team guide
Here we take a look at Mexico's World Cup squad and the other things it will be handy to know about the Group F challengers. Mexico's World Cup squad - the 23 names Goalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul) Defenders: Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Edson Alvarez (Club America), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Miguel Layun (Sevilla) Midfielders: Rafa Marquez (Atlas), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy) Forwards: Javier Hernandez (West Ham United), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (Club America), Jesus Corona (Porto), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (PSV) Mexico's World Cup 2018 fixtures Germany: Sunday, June 17 at 4pm South Korea: Saturday, June 23 at 4pm Sweden: Wednesday, June 27 at 3pm What odds are Mexico to win the World Cup? 100/1 The kits See where Mexico's shirts ends up in our ranking of all 64 World Cup shirts below: World Cup kits ranked Who's the coach? Unconventional Colombian Juan Carlos Osorio, nickname El Recreacionista (The Recreationist). Studied at uni in Liverpool where he rented a flat near Melwood so he could spy on training sessions. Who's the star? Andrés Guardado, the skipper, is vastly experienced with 138 caps and El Tri are hoping that he can shake off injury to take up his command post in the centre of the park. Andres Guardado, who has racked up 138 caps Credit: Getty Images Best thing about them Experience, and consistency. Regulars in the knockout stages, having reached the last 16 in the last six World Cups. Worst thing about them Javier Hernandez is a fine marksman but the team can struggle to break teams down and create chances for him, as seen in recent 0-0 with Wales. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more You may recognise… Forward Carlos Vela, a fringe performer at Arsenal and then later with West Brom, currently playing in Los Angeles. Cameramen will be picking out… Hirving Lozano, a young winger with tons of talent and the nickname of Chucky. Currently at PSV, and surely a Premier League candidate. Fans' favourite chant “Puto!” A vile homophobic slur at opposing players. An enterprising beer company back home has encouraged fans to instead switch the chant to “Putin!” On-field prediction Second in the group, out to Brazil in last 16. Off-field prediction Fun fans. Not afraid to keep it simple with a comedy sombrero. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Some big moves are set to take place this summer in the Premier League.
Some big moves are set to take place this summer in the Premier League.
Some big moves are set to take place this summer in the Premier League.
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Costa Rica vs Serbia: What time is kick-off today, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Costa Rica vs Serbia: What time is kick-off today, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Costa Rica vs Serbia: What time is kick-off today, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Costa Rica vs Serbia: What time is kick-off today, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? Costa Rica and Serbia both begin their World Cup 2018 campaign in the opening game in Group E. When is it? Sunday, June 17. What time is kick-off? 1pm in the afternoon. What TV channel is it on? The match is being shown live on ITV 1, meaning you will get to enjoy the insight and analysis from the likes of Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? The Samara Arena, home to Krylia Sovetov, will be the venue for this Group E clash. World Cup 2018 stadium: Samara Arena What is the team news? Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic during Serbia training earlier this week Credit: AFP Serbia's starting XI should feature a number of recognisable faces, with a host of Premier League players in line to start. Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Southampton playmaker Dusan Tadic are both set to feature in midfield. Aleksandar Mitrovic, who won promotion with Fulham while on loan last season, will lead the line for the Serbians. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more Ex-Premier League full-backs Branislav Ivanovic and Aleksandar Kolarov could play at right-back and left-back respectively. £70m-rated Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic will partner Matic in the middle of the park. Costa Rica will have Real Madrid's three-time Champions League-winning goalkeeper Keylor Navas between the sticks. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz will lead Costa Rica's attack. What's the latest news on the two teams? Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been heavily linked with a summer move to Manchester United Credit: Reuters Serbia will be relying heavily on youth this summer as their Under 20 World Cup-winning players come to the fore for the senior team. Seven of the 2015 World Cup winners have been included in the 27-man preliminary squad for this summer, a good return three years on, including Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who has been heavily linked to Manchester United. Serbia took the unusual step of sacking head coach Slavoljub Muslin because of poor performances. His assistant Mladen Krstajic will now lead the team in Russia. Keylor Navas missed Costa Rica training on Thursday but should be fit for Sunday's match Credit: getty Images Costa Rica were given a World Cup send-off to forget last week in a 4-1 warm-up defeat to Belgium. Former Fulham striker Bryan Ruiz opened the scoring in the game but his volley proved to be the one plus for Costa Rica who conceded four goals without reply, with Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace. Costa Rican fans were given a scare on Thursday afternoon as star goalkeeper Keylor Navas missed training. However Costa Rica head coach Óscar Ramírez assured journalists his absence was purely precautionary. What are the odds? Costa Rica win 7/2 Serbia win 10/11 Draw 9/4 What's our prediction? Costa Rice, fresh off the back of a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Belgium, could be in for another pasting against a talented Serbia side. Prediction: Costa Rica 0-2 Serbia WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Match dates, squad, fixtures and group analysis
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Match dates, squad, fixtures and group analysis
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Match dates, squad, fixtures and group analysis
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Match dates, squad, fixtures and group analysis
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Match dates, squad, fixtures and group analysis
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
England World Cup 2018 guide: Match dates, squad, fixtures and group analysis
World Cup 2018 is with us at last and the England squad - picked, according to Gareth Southgate, to excite the nation - are preparing for a group that includes a favourite, an undefeated qualifier and a team that provided one of the stories of the tournament just by qualifying. When Southgate revealed his 23-man squad much of the focus landed on Adam Lallana, the big-name omission, who had to make do with the standby list. But Southgate believes, with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Dele Alli and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, his young England squad offers plenty of encouragement. “I believe this is a squad which we can be excited about,” said Southgate. “We have a lot of energy and athleticism in the team, but players that are equally comfortable in possession of the ball and I think people can see the style of play we’ve been looking to develop. “It is a young group, but with some really important senior players so I feel the balance of the squad is good, both in terms of its experience, its character and also the positional balance.” Dreamt of going to a World Cup since I was a kid. Today that dream come true, an honour to represent the 3 Lions this summer! �� @Englandpic.twitter.com/e6c8agtVar— Trent Arnold (@trentaa98) May 16, 2018 Who made England's 23-man squad? Here's who will feature in England's World Cup squad: Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley). Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Maguire (Leicester), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Manchester United). Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea). Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal). Standby: Lewis Cook (Bournemouth), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jake Livermore (West Brom), James Tarkowski (Burnley). Gareth Southgate decided to leave Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere at home and has picked a squad heavily-loaded with defenders, reflective of his desire to play with three centre-backs and wing-backs. Trent-Alexander-Arnold could win his first England in Russia while the inclusion of Ruben Loftus-Cheek also speaks to Southgate's bold approach. Harry Kane will captain the side. Who is in your starting team? England Formation Builder Who is in England's group? England are in Group G alongside Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. Belgium: One of the favourites for the competition with a dazzling array of talent. England will be familiar with most of their key players: Thibuat Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among others, all play in the Premier League. England's toughest opponent by a distance. Tunisia: Potentially tricky opposition who will look to frustrate England. Were unbeaten in qualifying and Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri could be a danger man. Nevertheless, a team England should beat if they have aspirations to reach the latter stages. Panama: One of the stories of the tournament, having qualified for the finals for the first time in dramatic fashion. England will be heavy favorites to swat them aside. When do England play? Monday June 18 Tunisia vs England (Volgograd), 7pm BST. Sunday June 24 England vs Panama (Nizhny Novgorod), 1pm BST. Thursday June 28 England vs Belgium (Kaliningrad), 7pm BST. Should England progress from their group, their last-16 match will be on Monday July 2 (if they win the group) or Tuesday July 2 (if they finish runners-up in the group). Should England progress beyond that stage, their quarter-final will either be: Friday 6 July Winner match 53 vs Winner match 54 - Kazan, 7pm BST. OR Saturday 7 July Winner match 55 vs Winner match 56 - Samara, 3pm BST. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the rest... Semi-finals Tuesday 10 July Winner match 57 vs Winner match 58 - St Petersburg, 7pm BST. Wednesday 11 July Winner match 59 vs Winner match 60 - Moscow (Luzhniki), 7pm BST. Third place play-off Saturday 14 July Loser match 61 vs Loser match 62 - St Petersburg, 3pm BST. Final Sunday 15 July Moscow (Luzhniki), 4pm BST. How will England line-up - and what are their tactics? JJ Bull explains how crucial the wing-backs will be to Gareth Southgate's campaign in Russia. What happened in 2014? England were eliminated in the group stages with just one point and two goals to show from their two games. They were beaten 2-1 by Italy in their opening game despite an encouraging performance, before Luis Suarez's goal confirmed their exit in the second match against Uruguay. A dead rubber against Costa Rica finished goalless. What is Gareth Southgate saying? “The selection process has been over months really, it’s not just been the last few weeks,” said Southgate. “We feel the team are improving and we want to continue that momentum. “The first call up for Trent Alexander-Arnold is well deserved. When we pick young players, it’s not just because they are young, it’s because their performances deserve it. “We’ve also had a couple of injuries with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez, which is a huge blow for them personally and disappointing for us.” Adam Lallana was omitted after missing most of the season through injury Credit: Getty images Goalkeeper Joe Hart, midfielder Jack Wilshere and left-back Ryan Bertrand have all been omitted and not placed on Southgate’s five-man standby list that includes Lallana, Tom Heaton, Jake Livermore James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. “Ryan and Joe have played a lot over the last two years so they’re not decisions we took lightly. I could’ve had easier conversations by keeping them involved,” said Southgate, whose goalkeepers are Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope. “With Joe, we’ve got three other goalkeepers who have had very good seasons and the decision I was faced with was do I keep Joe in and have experience around the group? Or give the three guys who have basically had a better season a chance? We felt the players all needed to be in on merit after their performances this season. “Ryan is also very unfortunate in that it’s probably one of the strongest positions we have. Ryan has had a decent season, but I just felt the others were ahead of him. Southgate says the three goalkeepers he chose have had 'better seasons' than Hart Credit: Getty images “Both calls were really tough. They’re both good guys and have contributed a lot throughout qualification, so it wasn’t an enjoyable part of the job and I feel it’s important to acknowledge their contribution in getting us to Russia.” Lallana has not started a Liverpool game since the beginning of March and Southgate has decided the 30-year-old cannot be risked. He is on Southgate’s list of standbys in case of injuries, but Lallana will be devastated not to be among the 23 players guaranteed a place on the plane. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article Southgate tried to offer some consolation by saying: “History tells us that one of those standby players may end up in the squad, as it’s very unusual for us to get through the end of the season and our two preparation games without any issues. “All of the guys on standby have been really professional in their approach to this. They recognise there’s still an opportunity and we’ve had a lot of conversations over a period of time with them about their situation.” And here is how the squad was announced on May 16: 3:47PM Wonder what the voicemail said... The one call you don’t want to miss!!...���� #WC2018pic.twitter.com/thH8CvavWA— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) May 16, 2018 3:33PM You picked largely the same players as Southgate Telegraph readers agree with all but three of Southgate’s choices Using our unique squad selector tool over the last few months, our readers chose their preferred 23 England players to go to Russia. As it turns out, more than 50 per cent of you wanted 20 of Southgate's 23 on the plane. The majority of you, however, did not pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Welbeck or Fabian Delph. 3:24PM An inexperienced squad The 23 players have just 449 caps between them - an average of 19.5, which isn't very many at all. They also have just three tournament goals between the lot of them: Danny Welbeck at Euro 2012, and Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier at Euro 2016. Maybe Southgate is taking Gary Linker's advice and building for future competitions. 3:11PM Dele's excited It's an honour to be named in the England squad for the World Cup. It's a dream come true! Get me to Russia!! ��⚽️ #WorldCuppic.twitter.com/D8EjN8z5EI— Dele (@dele_official) May 16, 2018 3:05PM Ashley Young achieves a dream Maybe this picture said I was gonna live my dream and go to a World Cup... dreams do come true ���������� pic.twitter.com/kSM8VORdp0— Ashley Young (@youngy18) May 16, 2018 2:58PM Nawwww Congratulations to @Popey1992 on his call up to the @England World Cup 2018 squad, from Ram Meadow to Russia. pic.twitter.com/mpGWMyXB2v— Bury Town F.C. (@BuryTownFC) May 16, 2018 2:52PM Lovely stuff, Marcus Rashford After years of you standing on the touch line in the cold and rain, Mum we're off to the World Cup! ������ pic.twitter.com/JOCj5oBCtN— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) May 16, 2018 2:18PM Sweeping changes Only five players in Southgate's 23-man squad from the 23 picked by Hodgson for 2014: Cahill, Jones, Henderson, Welbeck, Sterling. As comparison, 12 from 2006 WC squad were picked in 2010— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) May 16, 2018 2:16PM By the way This is how the England squad was announced before the list was published in full: For the nation, by the nation. The #ThreeLions’ official @FIFAWorldCup squad announcement. pic.twitter.com/YecUWPUZfJ— England (@England) May 16, 2018 2:10PM Back-up list These five players are on the reserve list: Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore and Adam Lallana 2:09PM The headlines No Adam Lallana in the squad Danny Welbeck and Ruben Loftus-Cheek make the cut Jake Livermore misses out Plenty of options at centre-back, with Cahill, Jones, Maguire, Stones, Dier and Walker selected. 2:06PM Squad in full Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope Defenders Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young Midfielders Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek Forwards Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy 2:04PM The England squad is here 1:59PM Not long now If that 2pm estimate was correct for the squad announcement, then we will know England's World Cup squad very, very soon indeed. 1:57PM Rumours galore There is a sudden surge of excitement on Twitter after Bayer Leverkusen winger Leon Bailey posted this picture. Take note of the 'Humble Lion' caption. ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 Jamaica-born Bailey is one of the Bundesliga's most exciting players, and there had been rumours he may qualify through his grandparents, two of whom have British passports. Fifa rules state that a player can only qualify to play for a country if their grandparents were born in that country which, as far as my research tells me, is not the case for Bailey, meaning he would not qualify to play for England. NB: There is a chance I am wrong about this. 1:43PM Jack makes other plans ���� let me know the dates and I'm in https://t.co/6PgPvhg77X— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) May 16, 2018 1:33PM So, what's still up in the air? There is a core group of players who will definitely be in the squad, and after this morning's revelations, there are only a few spots still up for grabs. There is probably a centre-back spot that will be contested by Harry Maguire and Phil Jones. Cahill's inclusion could suggest Southgate will go with experience in defence (favouring Jones), but having already picked Cahill he may want a younger player (favouring Maguire). Adam Lallana will probably make the cut, but he has only played 235 minutes of Premier League football all season, so you could understand why Southgate might have reservations. His recent run of injuries will also mean that, if he is named, the back-up midfielders will be on high alert. Will Adam Lallana be given another chance to prove his fitness? Credit: Getty images Support for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's inclusion has gathered pace. Will he make the cut or will Southgate go left-field with his final midfielder? Danny Welbeck will likely be included, but that isn't certain by any stretch. 12:51PM Make football come home Why not have some fun mapping out England's path to glory with our predictor tool? World Cup predictor 12:37PM It's all go today While Premier League clubs are parting ways with managers all over the shop (well, here and here), buzz is building around the squad that England will take to Russia. There has been a fair bit of bemusement about Wilshere's omission (not least from this journalist), but the decisions to take Cahill and Alexander-Arnold will be widely supported, I reckon. Some experience and some youth: Southgate is pleasing everyone. Alexander-Arnold has been a roaring success at Liverpool Credit: Getty images 12:20PM Exclusive: Cahill and Alexander-Arnold are on the plane Matt Lawreports: Gary Cahill has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man England World Cup squad that will be officially revealed later today. And Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold has also been called up, despite being uncapped at senior level. You can read the full story here. 11:59AM Not long now Today is the day: England's squad for the 2018 World Cup will be announced this afternoon. Everyone has their own opinion over how the final 23 should look, but the only one that matters is that of Gareth Southgate. Here's me trying to second guess the England manager: England's World Cup 2018 squad - ranked We think the squad will be named around 2pm, so there's a little time to wait yet - and plenty of time to discuss Southgate's options. He has already let Wilshere, Hart and Bertrand know that they won't be going to Russia, which leaves two outfield spots free (presuming Nick Pope goes as third-choice goalkeeper). Will Ruben Loftus-Cheek sneak in? Will Danny Welbeck go to another major tournament? Is there any chance of a complete curveball in the shape of someone like Ryan Sessegnon or Ademola Lookman? Let's see what Southgate decides.
The 2018 Fifa World Cup features eight groups of four teams in its first stage. Let's have a look at who will be facing who. Last December's draw in Moscow saw England placed in Group E with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. The top two in the group will qualify for the knockout stages. You can find details about each team, the World Cup group they will be in and our prediction on who makes it through right here. World Cup Draw Live Widget 2018 Group A - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 0 Uruguay 1 Our group prediction: Uruguay and Egypt to go through Group B - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Morocco 0 Iran 1 Portugal 3 Spain 3 Our group prediction: Portugal and Spain to go through Group C - France, Australia, Peru, Denmark France 2 Australia 1 Peru 0 Denmark 1 Our prediction: France and Denmark to go through Group D - Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Argentina 1 Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Our prediction: Argentina and Croatia to go through Group E - Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia BRAZIL The gloom that engulfed Brazil after the 7-1 debacle against Germany in the 2014 World Cup has lifted. Brazil were the first team to clinch qualification for Russia and had memorable wins on the way, including a 3-0 success over Argentina in the same Mineirao stadium of the 2014 semi-final humiliation. It took the appointment of Tite in September 2016 to revive Brazil. Under his helm, there have been 13 wins, three draws and only one loss - in a friendly against Argentina. Key player: Neymar (Paris St-Germain) - Should be at the peak of his game aged 26 in Russia, the forward will have his best chance to overthrow Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if Brazil win. Coach: Adenor Bacchi - Universally known as Tite, he turned Brazil from flops to favourites. Forget Dunga's muscular 2014 World Cup team that depended heavily on Neymar, Brazil are now about organisation and flair. SWITZERLAND Now is the time for Switzerland to be more than the sum of its talented parts. The quarter-finals are a realistic goal. Don't call it a golden generation, but the Swiss have a core of players from the 2009 Under-17 world champion team and a depth of tournament experience. However, those World Cup and European Championship adventures ended, at best, in the round of 16. Switzerland last won a World Cup knockout game in 1954, and that was just in a group play-off as host nation. Critics can pick holes in how the Swiss qualified: Nine straight wins in a weak group, and a play-off against Northern Ireland decided by a dubious penalty call. A well-balanced team has seemed to need a high-class central defender and reliable scorer. In Basel's Manuel Akanji, it might have found that defender. Key player: Valon Behrami (Udinese) - Going to his fourth straight World Cup in the elder statesman role for a young squad, speaking all of Switzerland's three main languages. His absence weighed heavily in the group-deciding loss at Portugal. Coach: Vladimir Petkovic - The unheralded Bosnian coach now seems to have grown into the role three years after succeeding two-time Champions League winner Ottmar Hitzfeld. COSTA RICA The tiny Central American country reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup four years ago, losing to the Netherlands on a penalty shootout. This will be Costa Rica's fifth World Cup appearance, impressive for a country with a population just under 5 million. Bryan Ruiz is the main attacking threat, while Celso Borges of is a midfield linchpin. Still, November friendlies were hardly encouraging, with a 5-0 thrashing by Spain and a 1-0 loss to Hungary. Key player: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) - Probably the best-known player in the squad, the goalkeeper's strong showing in Brazil secured a move to Madrid in 2014. Coach: Oscar Ramirez - Former midfielder took over after Paulo Wanchope resigned after a post-match fight. SERBIA Serbia cruised through their qualifying group to return to the World Cup finals after eight years, the second time since becoming an independent nation in 2006. The skillful squad scored the most goals - 20 - in the group, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the leading scorer with six goals, leaving behind Ireland, Wales and Austria. Slavoljub Muslin was removed as coach despite the successful qualifying campaign. Mladen Krstajic took over in a caretaker capacity before being given the job until the end of the World Cup. Key player: Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St Petersburg) - Defensive experience from a stellar career for Chelsea used to anchor the defence. Played all ten World Cup qualifiers Coach: Mladen Krstajić - Unlike his predecessor has so far shown himself willing to follow orders and give youth a chance. Our prediction: Brazil and Switzerland to go through Group F - Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea GERMANY The World Cup holders are in good shape to defend their title after going unbeaten in all games in 2017. They have already collected a trophy in Russia in the build-up to the World Cup, winning the Confederations Cup in July and using the warm-up tournament to test new options like late developer Lars Stindl. World Cup qualifying was completed with 10 wins from 10 and a European-record 43 goals. Key player: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - Germany's new leader, Kroos keeps the side ticking from midfield, where his intelligence, precision and composition on the ball inspires team-mates going forward. Coach: Joachim Low - Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant during the 2006 World Cup, Low took over after that tournament and has overseen steady progress culminating in the 2014 title. MEXICO Mexico have been regulars at the World Cup, but always come up just short. They have played in the last six World Cups, and were knocked out each time in the round of 16. Reaching the quarter-finals this time would be seen as a success. The Mexicans have only done that twice - 1970 and 1986 when they were hosts. Mexico impressed four years ago in Brazil, and they were impressive in qualifying this time, doing so with three games to spare ahead of Costa Rica and Panama. Arch rivals United States missed out this time. Few tears were shed in Mexico over this. Key player: Javier Hernandez (West Ham) - Likely to line up in the front with Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano. Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio - Known for his detailed planning and quick attacking style, but struggles with self-control and was suspended for this summer's Gold Cup after being sent off at the Confederations Cup. SWEDEN Sweden had just stunned Italy in the play-offs to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 2006 when a tweet was posted by the country's best player: "We are Zweden." The shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangs over the national team. The Manchester United striker retired from international soccer after the 2016 European Championship and much of the build-up this time around was whether he might be lured back for one last World Cup. Sweden seem more united and well-structured, but now they will find out just good they are without the force that made them tick for so long. Key player: Emil Forsberg (Leipzig) - Has replaced Ibrahimovic as Sweden's inspiration in attack. Coach: Janne Andersson - Took charge following Euro 2016 and has successfully rebuilt the team to be greater than the sum of its parts without Ibrahimovic. SOUTH KOREA Every World Cup since 1986 has featured South Korea. This time looks likelier to be a repeat of 2014's meek group-stage exit than 2002's swashbuckling run to the semi-finals. Qualifying was tricky, with a place only secured thanks to a tense 0-0 draw against fellow qualifying contenders Uzbekistan on the final day of the Asian group stages, combined with Syria's failure to beat Iran. Much will depend on a due of English Premier League players - Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Swansea's Ki Sung-yeung who bring valuable experience of top-level football. Key player: Son Heung-min (Tottenham) - The top-scoring Asian player in Premier League history. Coach: Shin Tae-yong - When defeats to Qatar and China threw South Korea's qualifying campaign into turmoil, the former Under-23 coach was promoted to steady the ship. Has only ever coached in South Korea and Australia. Our prediction: Germany and Mexico to go through Group G - Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England BELGIUM It's time to deliver for a team featuring such exceptional talent. But Belgium is a country that is yet to break into the semi-finals of a tournament. It is widely acknowledged they have been held back by mediocre management. Now it is up to Roberto Martinez, a Spanish coach, to get the best out of this plethora of stars. If you have Romelu Lukaku up front, Eden Hazard as a creative genius and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a final lock on goal, the ingredients for success are there. There are issues in defence. Central defender Vincent Kompany is as brittle as he can be brilliant and there are very few credible back-ups available for the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Key player: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - Overshadowed Eden Hazard at the 2014 World Cup, he has only grown in stature, especially since his move to City and his more withdrawn position on the pitch. Coach: Roberto Martinez was a surprise pick for Belgium when they ditched Marc Wilmots after a disappointing Euro 2016. The Spaniard easily adapted to life in international management. PANAMA A first qualification for the World Cup earned Panama a national holiday. The Central Americans made it to Russia in style, defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in the final qualifier. Panama has only four million people, but finished ahead of the United States, which has about 320 million. Key player: Luis Tejada (Universitario) - The striker has scored 43 goals for Panama. Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez - The Colombian has worked his magic again. He got Colombia into the 1998 World Cup, and then did the same for Ecuador in 2002. Now it is Panama's turn. TUNISIA Unbeaten during their qualifying campaign, Tunisia are making a return to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years. The Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Guinea and will take part in their fifth World Cup. They have never got beyond the group stage. With a new generation of players including Wahbi Khazri and former Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour, their main goal will be to win a game in Russia. Key player: Youssef Msakni (Al Duhail) - The 27-year-old forward played a crucial role in qualifying, scoring a hat-trick in an away win to Guinea. Coach: Nabil Maaloul - A former assistant under Roger Lemerre when Tunisia won the African Cup of Nations in 2002, Maaloul took over from Henri Kasperczak two matches into Tunisia's World Cup qualifying campaign. ENGLAND Expectations in England have plummeted because of the team's embarrassing performances in recent major tournaments - exiting the 2014 World Cup at the group stage and losing to Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. Having the world's richest and most popular domestic league has had an adverse effect on the England team, whose managers have an increasingly shallow pool of top players to choose from. A young squad will be taken to Russia, so getting out of the group is as much as can realistically be hoped for. Key player: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - Emerged as one of the tops strikers in the world this year, scoring freely for his club in the Premier League and Champions League. Has 13 goals in 24 games for England. Coach: Gareth Southgate - Sceptics are starting to come round to Southgate, who took charge in September 2016 despite having little top-level coaching experience but has shown he isn't afraid to make bold decisions. Our prediction - Belgium and England to go through Harry Kane is the man tasked with spearheading England's attack Credit: Getty Images Group H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan POLAND It's the first World Cup since 2006 for Poland, whose fans are likely to travel to Russia in large numbers. It could be the last chance to play on the biggest stage for strikers Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski, who will be 29 and 32 respectively by the finals. Poland are largely unchanged from the team that reached Euro 2016 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Portugal. One concern in qualifying was a 4-0 thrashing by Denmark in September that raised concerns about the defence. Key player: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Already Poland's record goalscorer, he scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Coach: Adam Nawalka - Turned Poland from a counter-attacking team into one which seeks to dominate possession. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more SENEGAL Senegal are back at the World Cup for the first time since their stunning debut in 2002, when they beat defending champions France on the way to the quarter-finals, then only the second African team to make the last eight. This qualification has been contentious, with Senegal benefiting from an unprecedented decision by Fifa to order a replay of their 2-1 loss in South Africa because of match-fixing by the referee. Senegal took advantage to win the replay, changing the dynamic of the group. Key player: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - With his blistering pace, Mane has been every bit as effective for Senegal as he has for Liverpool. Coach: Aliou Cisse - Senegal will take a reminder of their dream World Cup debut in 2002 to Russia next year. Cisse was captain of the 2002 team and returns to the World Cup as coach of his country. Sadio Mane is Senegal's talisman Credit: REUTERS COLOMBIA Reached the quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil and they have the talent to do it again. This will be Colombia's second straight appearance after sitting out for 16 years. Qualifying was a struggle this time. Colombia waited until the last match to make it to Russia. Key player: James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich) - A breakthrough talent at the 2014 World Cup, exemplified by a stunning volley against Uruguay, Rodriguez quickly secured a move from Monaco to Real Madrid. After struggling to make an impact in Spain, Rodriguez is at Bayern Munich on loan trying to revive his form ahead of the World Cup. Coach: Jose Pekerman - Gets much of the credit for getting Colombia back into the World Cup. Also led his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. JAPAN While the squad lacks the star power of many other World Cup teams, Japan can count on a group of reliable players with plenty of European experience. Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. Japan finished first in Group B in Asian qualifying, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. Key player: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) - With 92 caps, the midfield star is part of an experienced core of players also including Okazaki, defender Yuto Nagamoto and midfielder Keisuke Honda. Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic - Japan hope the 66-year-old Bosnian can replicate his success with Algeria at the 2014 World Cup, when he took the North African nation into the last-16 for the first time. Our prediction: Poland and Colombia to go through World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018 groups: games, tables, current standings and analysis
The 2018 Fifa World Cup features eight groups of four teams in its first stage. Let's have a look at who will be facing who. Last December's draw in Moscow saw England placed in Group E with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. The top two in the group will qualify for the knockout stages. You can find details about each team, the World Cup group they will be in and our prediction on who makes it through right here. World Cup Draw Live Widget 2018 Group A - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 0 Uruguay 1 Our group prediction: Uruguay and Egypt to go through Group B - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Morocco 0 Iran 1 Portugal 3 Spain 3 Our group prediction: Portugal and Spain to go through Group C - France, Australia, Peru, Denmark France 2 Australia 1 Peru 0 Denmark 1 Our prediction: France and Denmark to go through Group D - Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Argentina 1 Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Our prediction: Argentina and Croatia to go through Group E - Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia BRAZIL The gloom that engulfed Brazil after the 7-1 debacle against Germany in the 2014 World Cup has lifted. Brazil were the first team to clinch qualification for Russia and had memorable wins on the way, including a 3-0 success over Argentina in the same Mineirao stadium of the 2014 semi-final humiliation. It took the appointment of Tite in September 2016 to revive Brazil. Under his helm, there have been 13 wins, three draws and only one loss - in a friendly against Argentina. Key player: Neymar (Paris St-Germain) - Should be at the peak of his game aged 26 in Russia, the forward will have his best chance to overthrow Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if Brazil win. Coach: Adenor Bacchi - Universally known as Tite, he turned Brazil from flops to favourites. Forget Dunga's muscular 2014 World Cup team that depended heavily on Neymar, Brazil are now about organisation and flair. SWITZERLAND Now is the time for Switzerland to be more than the sum of its talented parts. The quarter-finals are a realistic goal. Don't call it a golden generation, but the Swiss have a core of players from the 2009 Under-17 world champion team and a depth of tournament experience. However, those World Cup and European Championship adventures ended, at best, in the round of 16. Switzerland last won a World Cup knockout game in 1954, and that was just in a group play-off as host nation. Critics can pick holes in how the Swiss qualified: Nine straight wins in a weak group, and a play-off against Northern Ireland decided by a dubious penalty call. A well-balanced team has seemed to need a high-class central defender and reliable scorer. In Basel's Manuel Akanji, it might have found that defender. Key player: Valon Behrami (Udinese) - Going to his fourth straight World Cup in the elder statesman role for a young squad, speaking all of Switzerland's three main languages. His absence weighed heavily in the group-deciding loss at Portugal. Coach: Vladimir Petkovic - The unheralded Bosnian coach now seems to have grown into the role three years after succeeding two-time Champions League winner Ottmar Hitzfeld. COSTA RICA The tiny Central American country reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup four years ago, losing to the Netherlands on a penalty shootout. This will be Costa Rica's fifth World Cup appearance, impressive for a country with a population just under 5 million. Bryan Ruiz is the main attacking threat, while Celso Borges of is a midfield linchpin. Still, November friendlies were hardly encouraging, with a 5-0 thrashing by Spain and a 1-0 loss to Hungary. Key player: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) - Probably the best-known player in the squad, the goalkeeper's strong showing in Brazil secured a move to Madrid in 2014. Coach: Oscar Ramirez - Former midfielder took over after Paulo Wanchope resigned after a post-match fight. SERBIA Serbia cruised through their qualifying group to return to the World Cup finals after eight years, the second time since becoming an independent nation in 2006. The skillful squad scored the most goals - 20 - in the group, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the leading scorer with six goals, leaving behind Ireland, Wales and Austria. Slavoljub Muslin was removed as coach despite the successful qualifying campaign. Mladen Krstajic took over in a caretaker capacity before being given the job until the end of the World Cup. Key player: Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St Petersburg) - Defensive experience from a stellar career for Chelsea used to anchor the defence. Played all ten World Cup qualifiers Coach: Mladen Krstajić - Unlike his predecessor has so far shown himself willing to follow orders and give youth a chance. Our prediction: Brazil and Switzerland to go through Group F - Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea GERMANY The World Cup holders are in good shape to defend their title after going unbeaten in all games in 2017. They have already collected a trophy in Russia in the build-up to the World Cup, winning the Confederations Cup in July and using the warm-up tournament to test new options like late developer Lars Stindl. World Cup qualifying was completed with 10 wins from 10 and a European-record 43 goals. Key player: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - Germany's new leader, Kroos keeps the side ticking from midfield, where his intelligence, precision and composition on the ball inspires team-mates going forward. Coach: Joachim Low - Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant during the 2006 World Cup, Low took over after that tournament and has overseen steady progress culminating in the 2014 title. MEXICO Mexico have been regulars at the World Cup, but always come up just short. They have played in the last six World Cups, and were knocked out each time in the round of 16. Reaching the quarter-finals this time would be seen as a success. The Mexicans have only done that twice - 1970 and 1986 when they were hosts. Mexico impressed four years ago in Brazil, and they were impressive in qualifying this time, doing so with three games to spare ahead of Costa Rica and Panama. Arch rivals United States missed out this time. Few tears were shed in Mexico over this. Key player: Javier Hernandez (West Ham) - Likely to line up in the front with Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano. Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio - Known for his detailed planning and quick attacking style, but struggles with self-control and was suspended for this summer's Gold Cup after being sent off at the Confederations Cup. SWEDEN Sweden had just stunned Italy in the play-offs to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 2006 when a tweet was posted by the country's best player: "We are Zweden." The shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangs over the national team. The Manchester United striker retired from international soccer after the 2016 European Championship and much of the build-up this time around was whether he might be lured back for one last World Cup. Sweden seem more united and well-structured, but now they will find out just good they are without the force that made them tick for so long. Key player: Emil Forsberg (Leipzig) - Has replaced Ibrahimovic as Sweden's inspiration in attack. Coach: Janne Andersson - Took charge following Euro 2016 and has successfully rebuilt the team to be greater than the sum of its parts without Ibrahimovic. SOUTH KOREA Every World Cup since 1986 has featured South Korea. This time looks likelier to be a repeat of 2014's meek group-stage exit than 2002's swashbuckling run to the semi-finals. Qualifying was tricky, with a place only secured thanks to a tense 0-0 draw against fellow qualifying contenders Uzbekistan on the final day of the Asian group stages, combined with Syria's failure to beat Iran. Much will depend on a due of English Premier League players - Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Swansea's Ki Sung-yeung who bring valuable experience of top-level football. Key player: Son Heung-min (Tottenham) - The top-scoring Asian player in Premier League history. Coach: Shin Tae-yong - When defeats to Qatar and China threw South Korea's qualifying campaign into turmoil, the former Under-23 coach was promoted to steady the ship. Has only ever coached in South Korea and Australia. Our prediction: Germany and Mexico to go through Group G - Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England BELGIUM It's time to deliver for a team featuring such exceptional talent. But Belgium is a country that is yet to break into the semi-finals of a tournament. It is widely acknowledged they have been held back by mediocre management. Now it is up to Roberto Martinez, a Spanish coach, to get the best out of this plethora of stars. If you have Romelu Lukaku up front, Eden Hazard as a creative genius and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a final lock on goal, the ingredients for success are there. There are issues in defence. Central defender Vincent Kompany is as brittle as he can be brilliant and there are very few credible back-ups available for the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Key player: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - Overshadowed Eden Hazard at the 2014 World Cup, he has only grown in stature, especially since his move to City and his more withdrawn position on the pitch. Coach: Roberto Martinez was a surprise pick for Belgium when they ditched Marc Wilmots after a disappointing Euro 2016. The Spaniard easily adapted to life in international management. PANAMA A first qualification for the World Cup earned Panama a national holiday. The Central Americans made it to Russia in style, defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in the final qualifier. Panama has only four million people, but finished ahead of the United States, which has about 320 million. Key player: Luis Tejada (Universitario) - The striker has scored 43 goals for Panama. Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez - The Colombian has worked his magic again. He got Colombia into the 1998 World Cup, and then did the same for Ecuador in 2002. Now it is Panama's turn. TUNISIA Unbeaten during their qualifying campaign, Tunisia are making a return to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years. The Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Guinea and will take part in their fifth World Cup. They have never got beyond the group stage. With a new generation of players including Wahbi Khazri and former Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour, their main goal will be to win a game in Russia. Key player: Youssef Msakni (Al Duhail) - The 27-year-old forward played a crucial role in qualifying, scoring a hat-trick in an away win to Guinea. Coach: Nabil Maaloul - A former assistant under Roger Lemerre when Tunisia won the African Cup of Nations in 2002, Maaloul took over from Henri Kasperczak two matches into Tunisia's World Cup qualifying campaign. ENGLAND Expectations in England have plummeted because of the team's embarrassing performances in recent major tournaments - exiting the 2014 World Cup at the group stage and losing to Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. Having the world's richest and most popular domestic league has had an adverse effect on the England team, whose managers have an increasingly shallow pool of top players to choose from. A young squad will be taken to Russia, so getting out of the group is as much as can realistically be hoped for. Key player: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - Emerged as one of the tops strikers in the world this year, scoring freely for his club in the Premier League and Champions League. Has 13 goals in 24 games for England. Coach: Gareth Southgate - Sceptics are starting to come round to Southgate, who took charge in September 2016 despite having little top-level coaching experience but has shown he isn't afraid to make bold decisions. Our prediction - Belgium and England to go through Harry Kane is the man tasked with spearheading England's attack Credit: Getty Images Group H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan POLAND It's the first World Cup since 2006 for Poland, whose fans are likely to travel to Russia in large numbers. It could be the last chance to play on the biggest stage for strikers Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski, who will be 29 and 32 respectively by the finals. Poland are largely unchanged from the team that reached Euro 2016 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Portugal. One concern in qualifying was a 4-0 thrashing by Denmark in September that raised concerns about the defence. Key player: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Already Poland's record goalscorer, he scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Coach: Adam Nawalka - Turned Poland from a counter-attacking team into one which seeks to dominate possession. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more SENEGAL Senegal are back at the World Cup for the first time since their stunning debut in 2002, when they beat defending champions France on the way to the quarter-finals, then only the second African team to make the last eight. This qualification has been contentious, with Senegal benefiting from an unprecedented decision by Fifa to order a replay of their 2-1 loss in South Africa because of match-fixing by the referee. Senegal took advantage to win the replay, changing the dynamic of the group. Key player: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - With his blistering pace, Mane has been every bit as effective for Senegal as he has for Liverpool. Coach: Aliou Cisse - Senegal will take a reminder of their dream World Cup debut in 2002 to Russia next year. Cisse was captain of the 2002 team and returns to the World Cup as coach of his country. Sadio Mane is Senegal's talisman Credit: REUTERS COLOMBIA Reached the quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil and they have the talent to do it again. This will be Colombia's second straight appearance after sitting out for 16 years. Qualifying was a struggle this time. Colombia waited until the last match to make it to Russia. Key player: James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich) - A breakthrough talent at the 2014 World Cup, exemplified by a stunning volley against Uruguay, Rodriguez quickly secured a move from Monaco to Real Madrid. After struggling to make an impact in Spain, Rodriguez is at Bayern Munich on loan trying to revive his form ahead of the World Cup. Coach: Jose Pekerman - Gets much of the credit for getting Colombia back into the World Cup. Also led his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. JAPAN While the squad lacks the star power of many other World Cup teams, Japan can count on a group of reliable players with plenty of European experience. Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. Japan finished first in Group B in Asian qualifying, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. Key player: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) - With 92 caps, the midfield star is part of an experienced core of players also including Okazaki, defender Yuto Nagamoto and midfielder Keisuke Honda. Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic - Japan hope the 66-year-old Bosnian can replicate his success with Algeria at the 2014 World Cup, when he took the North African nation into the last-16 for the first time. Our prediction: Poland and Colombia to go through World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 2018 Fifa World Cup features eight groups of four teams in its first stage. Let's have a look at who will be facing who. Last December's draw in Moscow saw England placed in Group E with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. The top two in the group will qualify for the knockout stages. You can find details about each team, the World Cup group they will be in and our prediction on who makes it through right here. World Cup Draw Live Widget 2018 Group A - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 0 Uruguay 1 Our group prediction: Uruguay and Egypt to go through Group B - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Morocco 0 Iran 1 Portugal 3 Spain 3 Our group prediction: Portugal and Spain to go through Group C - France, Australia, Peru, Denmark France 2 Australia 1 Peru 0 Denmark 1 Our prediction: France and Denmark to go through Group D - Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Argentina 1 Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Our prediction: Argentina and Croatia to go through Group E - Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia BRAZIL The gloom that engulfed Brazil after the 7-1 debacle against Germany in the 2014 World Cup has lifted. Brazil were the first team to clinch qualification for Russia and had memorable wins on the way, including a 3-0 success over Argentina in the same Mineirao stadium of the 2014 semi-final humiliation. It took the appointment of Tite in September 2016 to revive Brazil. Under his helm, there have been 13 wins, three draws and only one loss - in a friendly against Argentina. Key player: Neymar (Paris St-Germain) - Should be at the peak of his game aged 26 in Russia, the forward will have his best chance to overthrow Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if Brazil win. Coach: Adenor Bacchi - Universally known as Tite, he turned Brazil from flops to favourites. Forget Dunga's muscular 2014 World Cup team that depended heavily on Neymar, Brazil are now about organisation and flair. SWITZERLAND Now is the time for Switzerland to be more than the sum of its talented parts. The quarter-finals are a realistic goal. Don't call it a golden generation, but the Swiss have a core of players from the 2009 Under-17 world champion team and a depth of tournament experience. However, those World Cup and European Championship adventures ended, at best, in the round of 16. Switzerland last won a World Cup knockout game in 1954, and that was just in a group play-off as host nation. Critics can pick holes in how the Swiss qualified: Nine straight wins in a weak group, and a play-off against Northern Ireland decided by a dubious penalty call. A well-balanced team has seemed to need a high-class central defender and reliable scorer. In Basel's Manuel Akanji, it might have found that defender. Key player: Valon Behrami (Udinese) - Going to his fourth straight World Cup in the elder statesman role for a young squad, speaking all of Switzerland's three main languages. His absence weighed heavily in the group-deciding loss at Portugal. Coach: Vladimir Petkovic - The unheralded Bosnian coach now seems to have grown into the role three years after succeeding two-time Champions League winner Ottmar Hitzfeld. COSTA RICA The tiny Central American country reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup four years ago, losing to the Netherlands on a penalty shootout. This will be Costa Rica's fifth World Cup appearance, impressive for a country with a population just under 5 million. Bryan Ruiz is the main attacking threat, while Celso Borges of is a midfield linchpin. Still, November friendlies were hardly encouraging, with a 5-0 thrashing by Spain and a 1-0 loss to Hungary. Key player: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) - Probably the best-known player in the squad, the goalkeeper's strong showing in Brazil secured a move to Madrid in 2014. Coach: Oscar Ramirez - Former midfielder took over after Paulo Wanchope resigned after a post-match fight. SERBIA Serbia cruised through their qualifying group to return to the World Cup finals after eight years, the second time since becoming an independent nation in 2006. The skillful squad scored the most goals - 20 - in the group, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the leading scorer with six goals, leaving behind Ireland, Wales and Austria. Slavoljub Muslin was removed as coach despite the successful qualifying campaign. Mladen Krstajic took over in a caretaker capacity before being given the job until the end of the World Cup. Key player: Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St Petersburg) - Defensive experience from a stellar career for Chelsea used to anchor the defence. Played all ten World Cup qualifiers Coach: Mladen Krstajić - Unlike his predecessor has so far shown himself willing to follow orders and give youth a chance. Our prediction: Brazil and Switzerland to go through Group F - Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea GERMANY The World Cup holders are in good shape to defend their title after going unbeaten in all games in 2017. They have already collected a trophy in Russia in the build-up to the World Cup, winning the Confederations Cup in July and using the warm-up tournament to test new options like late developer Lars Stindl. World Cup qualifying was completed with 10 wins from 10 and a European-record 43 goals. Key player: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - Germany's new leader, Kroos keeps the side ticking from midfield, where his intelligence, precision and composition on the ball inspires team-mates going forward. Coach: Joachim Low - Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant during the 2006 World Cup, Low took over after that tournament and has overseen steady progress culminating in the 2014 title. MEXICO Mexico have been regulars at the World Cup, but always come up just short. They have played in the last six World Cups, and were knocked out each time in the round of 16. Reaching the quarter-finals this time would be seen as a success. The Mexicans have only done that twice - 1970 and 1986 when they were hosts. Mexico impressed four years ago in Brazil, and they were impressive in qualifying this time, doing so with three games to spare ahead of Costa Rica and Panama. Arch rivals United States missed out this time. Few tears were shed in Mexico over this. Key player: Javier Hernandez (West Ham) - Likely to line up in the front with Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano. Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio - Known for his detailed planning and quick attacking style, but struggles with self-control and was suspended for this summer's Gold Cup after being sent off at the Confederations Cup. SWEDEN Sweden had just stunned Italy in the play-offs to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 2006 when a tweet was posted by the country's best player: "We are Zweden." The shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangs over the national team. The Manchester United striker retired from international soccer after the 2016 European Championship and much of the build-up this time around was whether he might be lured back for one last World Cup. Sweden seem more united and well-structured, but now they will find out just good they are without the force that made them tick for so long. Key player: Emil Forsberg (Leipzig) - Has replaced Ibrahimovic as Sweden's inspiration in attack. Coach: Janne Andersson - Took charge following Euro 2016 and has successfully rebuilt the team to be greater than the sum of its parts without Ibrahimovic. SOUTH KOREA Every World Cup since 1986 has featured South Korea. This time looks likelier to be a repeat of 2014's meek group-stage exit than 2002's swashbuckling run to the semi-finals. Qualifying was tricky, with a place only secured thanks to a tense 0-0 draw against fellow qualifying contenders Uzbekistan on the final day of the Asian group stages, combined with Syria's failure to beat Iran. Much will depend on a due of English Premier League players - Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Swansea's Ki Sung-yeung who bring valuable experience of top-level football. Key player: Son Heung-min (Tottenham) - The top-scoring Asian player in Premier League history. Coach: Shin Tae-yong - When defeats to Qatar and China threw South Korea's qualifying campaign into turmoil, the former Under-23 coach was promoted to steady the ship. Has only ever coached in South Korea and Australia. Our prediction: Germany and Mexico to go through Group G - Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England BELGIUM It's time to deliver for a team featuring such exceptional talent. But Belgium is a country that is yet to break into the semi-finals of a tournament. It is widely acknowledged they have been held back by mediocre management. Now it is up to Roberto Martinez, a Spanish coach, to get the best out of this plethora of stars. If you have Romelu Lukaku up front, Eden Hazard as a creative genius and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a final lock on goal, the ingredients for success are there. There are issues in defence. Central defender Vincent Kompany is as brittle as he can be brilliant and there are very few credible back-ups available for the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Key player: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - Overshadowed Eden Hazard at the 2014 World Cup, he has only grown in stature, especially since his move to City and his more withdrawn position on the pitch. Coach: Roberto Martinez was a surprise pick for Belgium when they ditched Marc Wilmots after a disappointing Euro 2016. The Spaniard easily adapted to life in international management. PANAMA A first qualification for the World Cup earned Panama a national holiday. The Central Americans made it to Russia in style, defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in the final qualifier. Panama has only four million people, but finished ahead of the United States, which has about 320 million. Key player: Luis Tejada (Universitario) - The striker has scored 43 goals for Panama. Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez - The Colombian has worked his magic again. He got Colombia into the 1998 World Cup, and then did the same for Ecuador in 2002. Now it is Panama's turn. TUNISIA Unbeaten during their qualifying campaign, Tunisia are making a return to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years. The Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Guinea and will take part in their fifth World Cup. They have never got beyond the group stage. With a new generation of players including Wahbi Khazri and former Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour, their main goal will be to win a game in Russia. Key player: Youssef Msakni (Al Duhail) - The 27-year-old forward played a crucial role in qualifying, scoring a hat-trick in an away win to Guinea. Coach: Nabil Maaloul - A former assistant under Roger Lemerre when Tunisia won the African Cup of Nations in 2002, Maaloul took over from Henri Kasperczak two matches into Tunisia's World Cup qualifying campaign. ENGLAND Expectations in England have plummeted because of the team's embarrassing performances in recent major tournaments - exiting the 2014 World Cup at the group stage and losing to Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. Having the world's richest and most popular domestic league has had an adverse effect on the England team, whose managers have an increasingly shallow pool of top players to choose from. A young squad will be taken to Russia, so getting out of the group is as much as can realistically be hoped for. Key player: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - Emerged as one of the tops strikers in the world this year, scoring freely for his club in the Premier League and Champions League. Has 13 goals in 24 games for England. Coach: Gareth Southgate - Sceptics are starting to come round to Southgate, who took charge in September 2016 despite having little top-level coaching experience but has shown he isn't afraid to make bold decisions. Our prediction - Belgium and England to go through Harry Kane is the man tasked with spearheading England's attack Credit: Getty Images Group H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan POLAND It's the first World Cup since 2006 for Poland, whose fans are likely to travel to Russia in large numbers. It could be the last chance to play on the biggest stage for strikers Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski, who will be 29 and 32 respectively by the finals. Poland are largely unchanged from the team that reached Euro 2016 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Portugal. One concern in qualifying was a 4-0 thrashing by Denmark in September that raised concerns about the defence. Key player: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Already Poland's record goalscorer, he scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Coach: Adam Nawalka - Turned Poland from a counter-attacking team into one which seeks to dominate possession. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more SENEGAL Senegal are back at the World Cup for the first time since their stunning debut in 2002, when they beat defending champions France on the way to the quarter-finals, then only the second African team to make the last eight. This qualification has been contentious, with Senegal benefiting from an unprecedented decision by Fifa to order a replay of their 2-1 loss in South Africa because of match-fixing by the referee. Senegal took advantage to win the replay, changing the dynamic of the group. Key player: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - With his blistering pace, Mane has been every bit as effective for Senegal as he has for Liverpool. Coach: Aliou Cisse - Senegal will take a reminder of their dream World Cup debut in 2002 to Russia next year. Cisse was captain of the 2002 team and returns to the World Cup as coach of his country. Sadio Mane is Senegal's talisman Credit: REUTERS COLOMBIA Reached the quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil and they have the talent to do it again. This will be Colombia's second straight appearance after sitting out for 16 years. Qualifying was a struggle this time. Colombia waited until the last match to make it to Russia. Key player: James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich) - A breakthrough talent at the 2014 World Cup, exemplified by a stunning volley against Uruguay, Rodriguez quickly secured a move from Monaco to Real Madrid. After struggling to make an impact in Spain, Rodriguez is at Bayern Munich on loan trying to revive his form ahead of the World Cup. Coach: Jose Pekerman - Gets much of the credit for getting Colombia back into the World Cup. Also led his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. JAPAN While the squad lacks the star power of many other World Cup teams, Japan can count on a group of reliable players with plenty of European experience. Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. Japan finished first in Group B in Asian qualifying, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. Key player: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) - With 92 caps, the midfield star is part of an experienced core of players also including Okazaki, defender Yuto Nagamoto and midfielder Keisuke Honda. Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic - Japan hope the 66-year-old Bosnian can replicate his success with Algeria at the 2014 World Cup, when he took the North African nation into the last-16 for the first time. Our prediction: Poland and Colombia to go through World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018 groups: games, tables, current standings and analysis
The 2018 Fifa World Cup features eight groups of four teams in its first stage. Let's have a look at who will be facing who. Last December's draw in Moscow saw England placed in Group E with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. The top two in the group will qualify for the knockout stages. You can find details about each team, the World Cup group they will be in and our prediction on who makes it through right here. World Cup Draw Live Widget 2018 Group A - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 0 Uruguay 1 Our group prediction: Uruguay and Egypt to go through Group B - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Morocco 0 Iran 1 Portugal 3 Spain 3 Our group prediction: Portugal and Spain to go through Group C - France, Australia, Peru, Denmark France 2 Australia 1 Peru 0 Denmark 1 Our prediction: France and Denmark to go through Group D - Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Argentina 1 Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Our prediction: Argentina and Croatia to go through Group E - Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia BRAZIL The gloom that engulfed Brazil after the 7-1 debacle against Germany in the 2014 World Cup has lifted. Brazil were the first team to clinch qualification for Russia and had memorable wins on the way, including a 3-0 success over Argentina in the same Mineirao stadium of the 2014 semi-final humiliation. It took the appointment of Tite in September 2016 to revive Brazil. Under his helm, there have been 13 wins, three draws and only one loss - in a friendly against Argentina. Key player: Neymar (Paris St-Germain) - Should be at the peak of his game aged 26 in Russia, the forward will have his best chance to overthrow Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if Brazil win. Coach: Adenor Bacchi - Universally known as Tite, he turned Brazil from flops to favourites. Forget Dunga's muscular 2014 World Cup team that depended heavily on Neymar, Brazil are now about organisation and flair. SWITZERLAND Now is the time for Switzerland to be more than the sum of its talented parts. The quarter-finals are a realistic goal. Don't call it a golden generation, but the Swiss have a core of players from the 2009 Under-17 world champion team and a depth of tournament experience. However, those World Cup and European Championship adventures ended, at best, in the round of 16. Switzerland last won a World Cup knockout game in 1954, and that was just in a group play-off as host nation. Critics can pick holes in how the Swiss qualified: Nine straight wins in a weak group, and a play-off against Northern Ireland decided by a dubious penalty call. A well-balanced team has seemed to need a high-class central defender and reliable scorer. In Basel's Manuel Akanji, it might have found that defender. Key player: Valon Behrami (Udinese) - Going to his fourth straight World Cup in the elder statesman role for a young squad, speaking all of Switzerland's three main languages. His absence weighed heavily in the group-deciding loss at Portugal. Coach: Vladimir Petkovic - The unheralded Bosnian coach now seems to have grown into the role three years after succeeding two-time Champions League winner Ottmar Hitzfeld. COSTA RICA The tiny Central American country reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup four years ago, losing to the Netherlands on a penalty shootout. This will be Costa Rica's fifth World Cup appearance, impressive for a country with a population just under 5 million. Bryan Ruiz is the main attacking threat, while Celso Borges of is a midfield linchpin. Still, November friendlies were hardly encouraging, with a 5-0 thrashing by Spain and a 1-0 loss to Hungary. Key player: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) - Probably the best-known player in the squad, the goalkeeper's strong showing in Brazil secured a move to Madrid in 2014. Coach: Oscar Ramirez - Former midfielder took over after Paulo Wanchope resigned after a post-match fight. SERBIA Serbia cruised through their qualifying group to return to the World Cup finals after eight years, the second time since becoming an independent nation in 2006. The skillful squad scored the most goals - 20 - in the group, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the leading scorer with six goals, leaving behind Ireland, Wales and Austria. Slavoljub Muslin was removed as coach despite the successful qualifying campaign. Mladen Krstajic took over in a caretaker capacity before being given the job until the end of the World Cup. Key player: Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St Petersburg) - Defensive experience from a stellar career for Chelsea used to anchor the defence. Played all ten World Cup qualifiers Coach: Mladen Krstajić - Unlike his predecessor has so far shown himself willing to follow orders and give youth a chance. Our prediction: Brazil and Switzerland to go through Group F - Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea GERMANY The World Cup holders are in good shape to defend their title after going unbeaten in all games in 2017. They have already collected a trophy in Russia in the build-up to the World Cup, winning the Confederations Cup in July and using the warm-up tournament to test new options like late developer Lars Stindl. World Cup qualifying was completed with 10 wins from 10 and a European-record 43 goals. Key player: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - Germany's new leader, Kroos keeps the side ticking from midfield, where his intelligence, precision and composition on the ball inspires team-mates going forward. Coach: Joachim Low - Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant during the 2006 World Cup, Low took over after that tournament and has overseen steady progress culminating in the 2014 title. MEXICO Mexico have been regulars at the World Cup, but always come up just short. They have played in the last six World Cups, and were knocked out each time in the round of 16. Reaching the quarter-finals this time would be seen as a success. The Mexicans have only done that twice - 1970 and 1986 when they were hosts. Mexico impressed four years ago in Brazil, and they were impressive in qualifying this time, doing so with three games to spare ahead of Costa Rica and Panama. Arch rivals United States missed out this time. Few tears were shed in Mexico over this. Key player: Javier Hernandez (West Ham) - Likely to line up in the front with Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano. Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio - Known for his detailed planning and quick attacking style, but struggles with self-control and was suspended for this summer's Gold Cup after being sent off at the Confederations Cup. SWEDEN Sweden had just stunned Italy in the play-offs to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 2006 when a tweet was posted by the country's best player: "We are Zweden." The shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangs over the national team. The Manchester United striker retired from international soccer after the 2016 European Championship and much of the build-up this time around was whether he might be lured back for one last World Cup. Sweden seem more united and well-structured, but now they will find out just good they are without the force that made them tick for so long. Key player: Emil Forsberg (Leipzig) - Has replaced Ibrahimovic as Sweden's inspiration in attack. Coach: Janne Andersson - Took charge following Euro 2016 and has successfully rebuilt the team to be greater than the sum of its parts without Ibrahimovic. SOUTH KOREA Every World Cup since 1986 has featured South Korea. This time looks likelier to be a repeat of 2014's meek group-stage exit than 2002's swashbuckling run to the semi-finals. Qualifying was tricky, with a place only secured thanks to a tense 0-0 draw against fellow qualifying contenders Uzbekistan on the final day of the Asian group stages, combined with Syria's failure to beat Iran. Much will depend on a due of English Premier League players - Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Swansea's Ki Sung-yeung who bring valuable experience of top-level football. Key player: Son Heung-min (Tottenham) - The top-scoring Asian player in Premier League history. Coach: Shin Tae-yong - When defeats to Qatar and China threw South Korea's qualifying campaign into turmoil, the former Under-23 coach was promoted to steady the ship. Has only ever coached in South Korea and Australia. Our prediction: Germany and Mexico to go through Group G - Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England BELGIUM It's time to deliver for a team featuring such exceptional talent. But Belgium is a country that is yet to break into the semi-finals of a tournament. It is widely acknowledged they have been held back by mediocre management. Now it is up to Roberto Martinez, a Spanish coach, to get the best out of this plethora of stars. If you have Romelu Lukaku up front, Eden Hazard as a creative genius and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a final lock on goal, the ingredients for success are there. There are issues in defence. Central defender Vincent Kompany is as brittle as he can be brilliant and there are very few credible back-ups available for the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Key player: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - Overshadowed Eden Hazard at the 2014 World Cup, he has only grown in stature, especially since his move to City and his more withdrawn position on the pitch. Coach: Roberto Martinez was a surprise pick for Belgium when they ditched Marc Wilmots after a disappointing Euro 2016. The Spaniard easily adapted to life in international management. PANAMA A first qualification for the World Cup earned Panama a national holiday. The Central Americans made it to Russia in style, defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in the final qualifier. Panama has only four million people, but finished ahead of the United States, which has about 320 million. Key player: Luis Tejada (Universitario) - The striker has scored 43 goals for Panama. Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez - The Colombian has worked his magic again. He got Colombia into the 1998 World Cup, and then did the same for Ecuador in 2002. Now it is Panama's turn. TUNISIA Unbeaten during their qualifying campaign, Tunisia are making a return to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years. The Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Guinea and will take part in their fifth World Cup. They have never got beyond the group stage. With a new generation of players including Wahbi Khazri and former Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour, their main goal will be to win a game in Russia. Key player: Youssef Msakni (Al Duhail) - The 27-year-old forward played a crucial role in qualifying, scoring a hat-trick in an away win to Guinea. Coach: Nabil Maaloul - A former assistant under Roger Lemerre when Tunisia won the African Cup of Nations in 2002, Maaloul took over from Henri Kasperczak two matches into Tunisia's World Cup qualifying campaign. ENGLAND Expectations in England have plummeted because of the team's embarrassing performances in recent major tournaments - exiting the 2014 World Cup at the group stage and losing to Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. Having the world's richest and most popular domestic league has had an adverse effect on the England team, whose managers have an increasingly shallow pool of top players to choose from. A young squad will be taken to Russia, so getting out of the group is as much as can realistically be hoped for. Key player: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - Emerged as one of the tops strikers in the world this year, scoring freely for his club in the Premier League and Champions League. Has 13 goals in 24 games for England. Coach: Gareth Southgate - Sceptics are starting to come round to Southgate, who took charge in September 2016 despite having little top-level coaching experience but has shown he isn't afraid to make bold decisions. Our prediction - Belgium and England to go through Harry Kane is the man tasked with spearheading England's attack Credit: Getty Images Group H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan POLAND It's the first World Cup since 2006 for Poland, whose fans are likely to travel to Russia in large numbers. It could be the last chance to play on the biggest stage for strikers Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski, who will be 29 and 32 respectively by the finals. Poland are largely unchanged from the team that reached Euro 2016 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Portugal. One concern in qualifying was a 4-0 thrashing by Denmark in September that raised concerns about the defence. Key player: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Already Poland's record goalscorer, he scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Coach: Adam Nawalka - Turned Poland from a counter-attacking team into one which seeks to dominate possession. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more SENEGAL Senegal are back at the World Cup for the first time since their stunning debut in 2002, when they beat defending champions France on the way to the quarter-finals, then only the second African team to make the last eight. This qualification has been contentious, with Senegal benefiting from an unprecedented decision by Fifa to order a replay of their 2-1 loss in South Africa because of match-fixing by the referee. Senegal took advantage to win the replay, changing the dynamic of the group. Key player: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - With his blistering pace, Mane has been every bit as effective for Senegal as he has for Liverpool. Coach: Aliou Cisse - Senegal will take a reminder of their dream World Cup debut in 2002 to Russia next year. Cisse was captain of the 2002 team and returns to the World Cup as coach of his country. Sadio Mane is Senegal's talisman Credit: REUTERS COLOMBIA Reached the quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil and they have the talent to do it again. This will be Colombia's second straight appearance after sitting out for 16 years. Qualifying was a struggle this time. Colombia waited until the last match to make it to Russia. Key player: James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich) - A breakthrough talent at the 2014 World Cup, exemplified by a stunning volley against Uruguay, Rodriguez quickly secured a move from Monaco to Real Madrid. After struggling to make an impact in Spain, Rodriguez is at Bayern Munich on loan trying to revive his form ahead of the World Cup. Coach: Jose Pekerman - Gets much of the credit for getting Colombia back into the World Cup. Also led his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. JAPAN While the squad lacks the star power of many other World Cup teams, Japan can count on a group of reliable players with plenty of European experience. Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. Japan finished first in Group B in Asian qualifying, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. Key player: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) - With 92 caps, the midfield star is part of an experienced core of players also including Okazaki, defender Yuto Nagamoto and midfielder Keisuke Honda. Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic - Japan hope the 66-year-old Bosnian can replicate his success with Algeria at the 2014 World Cup, when he took the North African nation into the last-16 for the first time. Our prediction: Poland and Colombia to go through World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
The 2018 Fifa World Cup features eight groups of four teams in its first stage. Let's have a look at who will be facing who. Last December's draw in Moscow saw England placed in Group E with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. The top two in the group will qualify for the knockout stages. You can find details about each team, the World Cup group they will be in and our prediction on who makes it through right here. World Cup Draw Live Widget 2018 Group A - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 0 Uruguay 1 Our group prediction: Uruguay and Egypt to go through Group B - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Morocco 0 Iran 1 Portugal 3 Spain 3 Our group prediction: Portugal and Spain to go through Group C - France, Australia, Peru, Denmark France 2 Australia 1 Peru 0 Denmark 1 Our prediction: France and Denmark to go through Group D - Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Argentina 1 Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Our prediction: Argentina and Croatia to go through Group E - Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia BRAZIL The gloom that engulfed Brazil after the 7-1 debacle against Germany in the 2014 World Cup has lifted. Brazil were the first team to clinch qualification for Russia and had memorable wins on the way, including a 3-0 success over Argentina in the same Mineirao stadium of the 2014 semi-final humiliation. It took the appointment of Tite in September 2016 to revive Brazil. Under his helm, there have been 13 wins, three draws and only one loss - in a friendly against Argentina. Key player: Neymar (Paris St-Germain) - Should be at the peak of his game aged 26 in Russia, the forward will have his best chance to overthrow Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if Brazil win. Coach: Adenor Bacchi - Universally known as Tite, he turned Brazil from flops to favourites. Forget Dunga's muscular 2014 World Cup team that depended heavily on Neymar, Brazil are now about organisation and flair. SWITZERLAND Now is the time for Switzerland to be more than the sum of its talented parts. The quarter-finals are a realistic goal. Don't call it a golden generation, but the Swiss have a core of players from the 2009 Under-17 world champion team and a depth of tournament experience. However, those World Cup and European Championship adventures ended, at best, in the round of 16. Switzerland last won a World Cup knockout game in 1954, and that was just in a group play-off as host nation. Critics can pick holes in how the Swiss qualified: Nine straight wins in a weak group, and a play-off against Northern Ireland decided by a dubious penalty call. A well-balanced team has seemed to need a high-class central defender and reliable scorer. In Basel's Manuel Akanji, it might have found that defender. Key player: Valon Behrami (Udinese) - Going to his fourth straight World Cup in the elder statesman role for a young squad, speaking all of Switzerland's three main languages. His absence weighed heavily in the group-deciding loss at Portugal. Coach: Vladimir Petkovic - The unheralded Bosnian coach now seems to have grown into the role three years after succeeding two-time Champions League winner Ottmar Hitzfeld. COSTA RICA The tiny Central American country reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup four years ago, losing to the Netherlands on a penalty shootout. This will be Costa Rica's fifth World Cup appearance, impressive for a country with a population just under 5 million. Bryan Ruiz is the main attacking threat, while Celso Borges of is a midfield linchpin. Still, November friendlies were hardly encouraging, with a 5-0 thrashing by Spain and a 1-0 loss to Hungary. Key player: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) - Probably the best-known player in the squad, the goalkeeper's strong showing in Brazil secured a move to Madrid in 2014. Coach: Oscar Ramirez - Former midfielder took over after Paulo Wanchope resigned after a post-match fight. SERBIA Serbia cruised through their qualifying group to return to the World Cup finals after eight years, the second time since becoming an independent nation in 2006. The skillful squad scored the most goals - 20 - in the group, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the leading scorer with six goals, leaving behind Ireland, Wales and Austria. Slavoljub Muslin was removed as coach despite the successful qualifying campaign. Mladen Krstajic took over in a caretaker capacity before being given the job until the end of the World Cup. Key player: Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St Petersburg) - Defensive experience from a stellar career for Chelsea used to anchor the defence. Played all ten World Cup qualifiers Coach: Mladen Krstajić - Unlike his predecessor has so far shown himself willing to follow orders and give youth a chance. Our prediction: Brazil and Switzerland to go through Group F - Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea GERMANY The World Cup holders are in good shape to defend their title after going unbeaten in all games in 2017. They have already collected a trophy in Russia in the build-up to the World Cup, winning the Confederations Cup in July and using the warm-up tournament to test new options like late developer Lars Stindl. World Cup qualifying was completed with 10 wins from 10 and a European-record 43 goals. Key player: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - Germany's new leader, Kroos keeps the side ticking from midfield, where his intelligence, precision and composition on the ball inspires team-mates going forward. Coach: Joachim Low - Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant during the 2006 World Cup, Low took over after that tournament and has overseen steady progress culminating in the 2014 title. MEXICO Mexico have been regulars at the World Cup, but always come up just short. They have played in the last six World Cups, and were knocked out each time in the round of 16. Reaching the quarter-finals this time would be seen as a success. The Mexicans have only done that twice - 1970 and 1986 when they were hosts. Mexico impressed four years ago in Brazil, and they were impressive in qualifying this time, doing so with three games to spare ahead of Costa Rica and Panama. Arch rivals United States missed out this time. Few tears were shed in Mexico over this. Key player: Javier Hernandez (West Ham) - Likely to line up in the front with Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano. Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio - Known for his detailed planning and quick attacking style, but struggles with self-control and was suspended for this summer's Gold Cup after being sent off at the Confederations Cup. SWEDEN Sweden had just stunned Italy in the play-offs to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 2006 when a tweet was posted by the country's best player: "We are Zweden." The shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangs over the national team. The Manchester United striker retired from international soccer after the 2016 European Championship and much of the build-up this time around was whether he might be lured back for one last World Cup. Sweden seem more united and well-structured, but now they will find out just good they are without the force that made them tick for so long. Key player: Emil Forsberg (Leipzig) - Has replaced Ibrahimovic as Sweden's inspiration in attack. Coach: Janne Andersson - Took charge following Euro 2016 and has successfully rebuilt the team to be greater than the sum of its parts without Ibrahimovic. SOUTH KOREA Every World Cup since 1986 has featured South Korea. This time looks likelier to be a repeat of 2014's meek group-stage exit than 2002's swashbuckling run to the semi-finals. Qualifying was tricky, with a place only secured thanks to a tense 0-0 draw against fellow qualifying contenders Uzbekistan on the final day of the Asian group stages, combined with Syria's failure to beat Iran. Much will depend on a due of English Premier League players - Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Swansea's Ki Sung-yeung who bring valuable experience of top-level football. Key player: Son Heung-min (Tottenham) - The top-scoring Asian player in Premier League history. Coach: Shin Tae-yong - When defeats to Qatar and China threw South Korea's qualifying campaign into turmoil, the former Under-23 coach was promoted to steady the ship. Has only ever coached in South Korea and Australia. Our prediction: Germany and Mexico to go through Group G - Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England BELGIUM It's time to deliver for a team featuring such exceptional talent. But Belgium is a country that is yet to break into the semi-finals of a tournament. It is widely acknowledged they have been held back by mediocre management. Now it is up to Roberto Martinez, a Spanish coach, to get the best out of this plethora of stars. If you have Romelu Lukaku up front, Eden Hazard as a creative genius and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a final lock on goal, the ingredients for success are there. There are issues in defence. Central defender Vincent Kompany is as brittle as he can be brilliant and there are very few credible back-ups available for the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Key player: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - Overshadowed Eden Hazard at the 2014 World Cup, he has only grown in stature, especially since his move to City and his more withdrawn position on the pitch. Coach: Roberto Martinez was a surprise pick for Belgium when they ditched Marc Wilmots after a disappointing Euro 2016. The Spaniard easily adapted to life in international management. PANAMA A first qualification for the World Cup earned Panama a national holiday. The Central Americans made it to Russia in style, defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in the final qualifier. Panama has only four million people, but finished ahead of the United States, which has about 320 million. Key player: Luis Tejada (Universitario) - The striker has scored 43 goals for Panama. Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez - The Colombian has worked his magic again. He got Colombia into the 1998 World Cup, and then did the same for Ecuador in 2002. Now it is Panama's turn. TUNISIA Unbeaten during their qualifying campaign, Tunisia are making a return to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years. The Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Guinea and will take part in their fifth World Cup. They have never got beyond the group stage. With a new generation of players including Wahbi Khazri and former Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour, their main goal will be to win a game in Russia. Key player: Youssef Msakni (Al Duhail) - The 27-year-old forward played a crucial role in qualifying, scoring a hat-trick in an away win to Guinea. Coach: Nabil Maaloul - A former assistant under Roger Lemerre when Tunisia won the African Cup of Nations in 2002, Maaloul took over from Henri Kasperczak two matches into Tunisia's World Cup qualifying campaign. ENGLAND Expectations in England have plummeted because of the team's embarrassing performances in recent major tournaments - exiting the 2014 World Cup at the group stage and losing to Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. Having the world's richest and most popular domestic league has had an adverse effect on the England team, whose managers have an increasingly shallow pool of top players to choose from. A young squad will be taken to Russia, so getting out of the group is as much as can realistically be hoped for. Key player: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - Emerged as one of the tops strikers in the world this year, scoring freely for his club in the Premier League and Champions League. Has 13 goals in 24 games for England. Coach: Gareth Southgate - Sceptics are starting to come round to Southgate, who took charge in September 2016 despite having little top-level coaching experience but has shown he isn't afraid to make bold decisions. Our prediction - Belgium and England to go through Harry Kane is the man tasked with spearheading England's attack Credit: Getty Images Group H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan POLAND It's the first World Cup since 2006 for Poland, whose fans are likely to travel to Russia in large numbers. It could be the last chance to play on the biggest stage for strikers Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski, who will be 29 and 32 respectively by the finals. Poland are largely unchanged from the team that reached Euro 2016 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Portugal. One concern in qualifying was a 4-0 thrashing by Denmark in September that raised concerns about the defence. Key player: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Already Poland's record goalscorer, he scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Coach: Adam Nawalka - Turned Poland from a counter-attacking team into one which seeks to dominate possession. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more SENEGAL Senegal are back at the World Cup for the first time since their stunning debut in 2002, when they beat defending champions France on the way to the quarter-finals, then only the second African team to make the last eight. This qualification has been contentious, with Senegal benefiting from an unprecedented decision by Fifa to order a replay of their 2-1 loss in South Africa because of match-fixing by the referee. Senegal took advantage to win the replay, changing the dynamic of the group. Key player: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - With his blistering pace, Mane has been every bit as effective for Senegal as he has for Liverpool. Coach: Aliou Cisse - Senegal will take a reminder of their dream World Cup debut in 2002 to Russia next year. Cisse was captain of the 2002 team and returns to the World Cup as coach of his country. Sadio Mane is Senegal's talisman Credit: REUTERS COLOMBIA Reached the quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil and they have the talent to do it again. This will be Colombia's second straight appearance after sitting out for 16 years. Qualifying was a struggle this time. Colombia waited until the last match to make it to Russia. Key player: James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich) - A breakthrough talent at the 2014 World Cup, exemplified by a stunning volley against Uruguay, Rodriguez quickly secured a move from Monaco to Real Madrid. After struggling to make an impact in Spain, Rodriguez is at Bayern Munich on loan trying to revive his form ahead of the World Cup. Coach: Jose Pekerman - Gets much of the credit for getting Colombia back into the World Cup. Also led his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. JAPAN While the squad lacks the star power of many other World Cup teams, Japan can count on a group of reliable players with plenty of European experience. Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. Japan finished first in Group B in Asian qualifying, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. Key player: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) - With 92 caps, the midfield star is part of an experienced core of players also including Okazaki, defender Yuto Nagamoto and midfielder Keisuke Honda. Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic - Japan hope the 66-year-old Bosnian can replicate his success with Algeria at the 2014 World Cup, when he took the North African nation into the last-16 for the first time. Our prediction: Poland and Colombia to go through World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018 groups: games, tables, current standings and analysis
The 2018 Fifa World Cup features eight groups of four teams in its first stage. Let's have a look at who will be facing who. Last December's draw in Moscow saw England placed in Group E with Belgium, Tunisia and Panama. The top two in the group will qualify for the knockout stages. You can find details about each team, the World Cup group they will be in and our prediction on who makes it through right here. World Cup Draw Live Widget 2018 Group A - Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay Russia 5 Saudi Arabia 0 Egypt 0 Uruguay 1 Our group prediction: Uruguay and Egypt to go through Group B - Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran Morocco 0 Iran 1 Portugal 3 Spain 3 Our group prediction: Portugal and Spain to go through Group C - France, Australia, Peru, Denmark France 2 Australia 1 Peru 0 Denmark 1 Our prediction: France and Denmark to go through Group D - Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria Argentina 1 Iceland 1 Croatia 2 Nigeria 0 Our prediction: Argentina and Croatia to go through Group E - Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia BRAZIL The gloom that engulfed Brazil after the 7-1 debacle against Germany in the 2014 World Cup has lifted. Brazil were the first team to clinch qualification for Russia and had memorable wins on the way, including a 3-0 success over Argentina in the same Mineirao stadium of the 2014 semi-final humiliation. It took the appointment of Tite in September 2016 to revive Brazil. Under his helm, there have been 13 wins, three draws and only one loss - in a friendly against Argentina. Key player: Neymar (Paris St-Germain) - Should be at the peak of his game aged 26 in Russia, the forward will have his best chance to overthrow Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if Brazil win. Coach: Adenor Bacchi - Universally known as Tite, he turned Brazil from flops to favourites. Forget Dunga's muscular 2014 World Cup team that depended heavily on Neymar, Brazil are now about organisation and flair. SWITZERLAND Now is the time for Switzerland to be more than the sum of its talented parts. The quarter-finals are a realistic goal. Don't call it a golden generation, but the Swiss have a core of players from the 2009 Under-17 world champion team and a depth of tournament experience. However, those World Cup and European Championship adventures ended, at best, in the round of 16. Switzerland last won a World Cup knockout game in 1954, and that was just in a group play-off as host nation. Critics can pick holes in how the Swiss qualified: Nine straight wins in a weak group, and a play-off against Northern Ireland decided by a dubious penalty call. A well-balanced team has seemed to need a high-class central defender and reliable scorer. In Basel's Manuel Akanji, it might have found that defender. Key player: Valon Behrami (Udinese) - Going to his fourth straight World Cup in the elder statesman role for a young squad, speaking all of Switzerland's three main languages. His absence weighed heavily in the group-deciding loss at Portugal. Coach: Vladimir Petkovic - The unheralded Bosnian coach now seems to have grown into the role three years after succeeding two-time Champions League winner Ottmar Hitzfeld. COSTA RICA The tiny Central American country reached the quarter-finals of the World Cup four years ago, losing to the Netherlands on a penalty shootout. This will be Costa Rica's fifth World Cup appearance, impressive for a country with a population just under 5 million. Bryan Ruiz is the main attacking threat, while Celso Borges of is a midfield linchpin. Still, November friendlies were hardly encouraging, with a 5-0 thrashing by Spain and a 1-0 loss to Hungary. Key player: Keylor Navas (Real Madrid) - Probably the best-known player in the squad, the goalkeeper's strong showing in Brazil secured a move to Madrid in 2014. Coach: Oscar Ramirez - Former midfielder took over after Paulo Wanchope resigned after a post-match fight. SERBIA Serbia cruised through their qualifying group to return to the World Cup finals after eight years, the second time since becoming an independent nation in 2006. The skillful squad scored the most goals - 20 - in the group, with Aleksandar Mitrovic the leading scorer with six goals, leaving behind Ireland, Wales and Austria. Slavoljub Muslin was removed as coach despite the successful qualifying campaign. Mladen Krstajic took over in a caretaker capacity before being given the job until the end of the World Cup. Key player: Branislav Ivanovic (Zenit St Petersburg) - Defensive experience from a stellar career for Chelsea used to anchor the defence. Played all ten World Cup qualifiers Coach: Mladen Krstajić - Unlike his predecessor has so far shown himself willing to follow orders and give youth a chance. Our prediction: Brazil and Switzerland to go through Group F - Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea GERMANY The World Cup holders are in good shape to defend their title after going unbeaten in all games in 2017. They have already collected a trophy in Russia in the build-up to the World Cup, winning the Confederations Cup in July and using the warm-up tournament to test new options like late developer Lars Stindl. World Cup qualifying was completed with 10 wins from 10 and a European-record 43 goals. Key player: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - Germany's new leader, Kroos keeps the side ticking from midfield, where his intelligence, precision and composition on the ball inspires team-mates going forward. Coach: Joachim Low - Jurgen Klinsmann's assistant during the 2006 World Cup, Low took over after that tournament and has overseen steady progress culminating in the 2014 title. MEXICO Mexico have been regulars at the World Cup, but always come up just short. They have played in the last six World Cups, and were knocked out each time in the round of 16. Reaching the quarter-finals this time would be seen as a success. The Mexicans have only done that twice - 1970 and 1986 when they were hosts. Mexico impressed four years ago in Brazil, and they were impressive in qualifying this time, doing so with three games to spare ahead of Costa Rica and Panama. Arch rivals United States missed out this time. Few tears were shed in Mexico over this. Key player: Javier Hernandez (West Ham) - Likely to line up in the front with Jesus Corona and Hirving Lozano. Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio - Known for his detailed planning and quick attacking style, but struggles with self-control and was suspended for this summer's Gold Cup after being sent off at the Confederations Cup. SWEDEN Sweden had just stunned Italy in the play-offs to qualify for their first World Cup finals since 2006 when a tweet was posted by the country's best player: "We are Zweden." The shadow of Zlatan Ibrahimovic hangs over the national team. The Manchester United striker retired from international soccer after the 2016 European Championship and much of the build-up this time around was whether he might be lured back for one last World Cup. Sweden seem more united and well-structured, but now they will find out just good they are without the force that made them tick for so long. Key player: Emil Forsberg (Leipzig) - Has replaced Ibrahimovic as Sweden's inspiration in attack. Coach: Janne Andersson - Took charge following Euro 2016 and has successfully rebuilt the team to be greater than the sum of its parts without Ibrahimovic. SOUTH KOREA Every World Cup since 1986 has featured South Korea. This time looks likelier to be a repeat of 2014's meek group-stage exit than 2002's swashbuckling run to the semi-finals. Qualifying was tricky, with a place only secured thanks to a tense 0-0 draw against fellow qualifying contenders Uzbekistan on the final day of the Asian group stages, combined with Syria's failure to beat Iran. Much will depend on a due of English Premier League players - Tottenham's Son Heung-min and Swansea's Ki Sung-yeung who bring valuable experience of top-level football. Key player: Son Heung-min (Tottenham) - The top-scoring Asian player in Premier League history. Coach: Shin Tae-yong - When defeats to Qatar and China threw South Korea's qualifying campaign into turmoil, the former Under-23 coach was promoted to steady the ship. Has only ever coached in South Korea and Australia. Our prediction: Germany and Mexico to go through Group G - Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England BELGIUM It's time to deliver for a team featuring such exceptional talent. But Belgium is a country that is yet to break into the semi-finals of a tournament. It is widely acknowledged they have been held back by mediocre management. Now it is up to Roberto Martinez, a Spanish coach, to get the best out of this plethora of stars. If you have Romelu Lukaku up front, Eden Hazard as a creative genius and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a final lock on goal, the ingredients for success are there. There are issues in defence. Central defender Vincent Kompany is as brittle as he can be brilliant and there are very few credible back-ups available for the likes of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen. Key player: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) - Overshadowed Eden Hazard at the 2014 World Cup, he has only grown in stature, especially since his move to City and his more withdrawn position on the pitch. Coach: Roberto Martinez was a surprise pick for Belgium when they ditched Marc Wilmots after a disappointing Euro 2016. The Spaniard easily adapted to life in international management. PANAMA A first qualification for the World Cup earned Panama a national holiday. The Central Americans made it to Russia in style, defeating Costa Rica 2-1 in the final qualifier. Panama has only four million people, but finished ahead of the United States, which has about 320 million. Key player: Luis Tejada (Universitario) - The striker has scored 43 goals for Panama. Coach: Hernan Dario Gomez - The Colombian has worked his magic again. He got Colombia into the 1998 World Cup, and then did the same for Ecuador in 2002. Now it is Panama's turn. TUNISIA Unbeaten during their qualifying campaign, Tunisia are making a return to the World Cup for the first time in 12 years. The Eagles of Carthage qualified for Russia ahead of Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya and Guinea and will take part in their fifth World Cup. They have never got beyond the group stage. With a new generation of players including Wahbi Khazri and former Monaco defender Aymen Abdennour, their main goal will be to win a game in Russia. Key player: Youssef Msakni (Al Duhail) - The 27-year-old forward played a crucial role in qualifying, scoring a hat-trick in an away win to Guinea. Coach: Nabil Maaloul - A former assistant under Roger Lemerre when Tunisia won the African Cup of Nations in 2002, Maaloul took over from Henri Kasperczak two matches into Tunisia's World Cup qualifying campaign. ENGLAND Expectations in England have plummeted because of the team's embarrassing performances in recent major tournaments - exiting the 2014 World Cup at the group stage and losing to Iceland in the round of 16 at Euro 2016. Having the world's richest and most popular domestic league has had an adverse effect on the England team, whose managers have an increasingly shallow pool of top players to choose from. A young squad will be taken to Russia, so getting out of the group is as much as can realistically be hoped for. Key player: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - Emerged as one of the tops strikers in the world this year, scoring freely for his club in the Premier League and Champions League. Has 13 goals in 24 games for England. Coach: Gareth Southgate - Sceptics are starting to come round to Southgate, who took charge in September 2016 despite having little top-level coaching experience but has shown he isn't afraid to make bold decisions. Our prediction - Belgium and England to go through Harry Kane is the man tasked with spearheading England's attack Credit: Getty Images Group H - Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan POLAND It's the first World Cup since 2006 for Poland, whose fans are likely to travel to Russia in large numbers. It could be the last chance to play on the biggest stage for strikers Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Blaszczykowski, who will be 29 and 32 respectively by the finals. Poland are largely unchanged from the team that reached Euro 2016 quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to eventual champions Portugal. One concern in qualifying was a 4-0 thrashing by Denmark in September that raised concerns about the defence. Key player: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - Already Poland's record goalscorer, he scored a European-high 16 goals in qualifying. Coach: Adam Nawalka - Turned Poland from a counter-attacking team into one which seeks to dominate possession. Full 2018 World Cup squad lists and guides | Star to watch, odds, fans' chants and more SENEGAL Senegal are back at the World Cup for the first time since their stunning debut in 2002, when they beat defending champions France on the way to the quarter-finals, then only the second African team to make the last eight. This qualification has been contentious, with Senegal benefiting from an unprecedented decision by Fifa to order a replay of their 2-1 loss in South Africa because of match-fixing by the referee. Senegal took advantage to win the replay, changing the dynamic of the group. Key player: Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - With his blistering pace, Mane has been every bit as effective for Senegal as he has for Liverpool. Coach: Aliou Cisse - Senegal will take a reminder of their dream World Cup debut in 2002 to Russia next year. Cisse was captain of the 2002 team and returns to the World Cup as coach of his country. Sadio Mane is Senegal's talisman Credit: REUTERS COLOMBIA Reached the quarter-finals four years ago in Brazil and they have the talent to do it again. This will be Colombia's second straight appearance after sitting out for 16 years. Qualifying was a struggle this time. Colombia waited until the last match to make it to Russia. Key player: James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich) - A breakthrough talent at the 2014 World Cup, exemplified by a stunning volley against Uruguay, Rodriguez quickly secured a move from Monaco to Real Madrid. After struggling to make an impact in Spain, Rodriguez is at Bayern Munich on loan trying to revive his form ahead of the World Cup. Coach: Jose Pekerman - Gets much of the credit for getting Colombia back into the World Cup. Also led his native Argentina to the quarter-finals in the 2006 World Cup in Germany. JAPAN While the squad lacks the star power of many other World Cup teams, Japan can count on a group of reliable players with plenty of European experience. Shinji Kagawa of Borussia Dortmund and Shinji Okazaki of Leicester should play key roles. Japan finished first in Group B in Asian qualifying, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. Key player: Shinji Kagawa (Borussia Dortmund) - With 92 caps, the midfield star is part of an experienced core of players also including Okazaki, defender Yuto Nagamoto and midfielder Keisuke Honda. Coach: Vahid Halilhodzic - Japan hope the 66-year-old Bosnian can replicate his success with Algeria at the 2014 World Cup, when he took the North African nation into the last-16 for the first time. Our prediction: Poland and Colombia to go through World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Man Utd set £75m Martial price
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
Fabian Delph is prepared to pull out of World Cup matches to attend the birth of his third child. With his wife, Natalie, due to go into labour soon the England midfielder said that he had already discussed the matter with manager Gareth Southgate and would go back home, if necessary, even if he is selected for the starting XI. “I don’t think it will affect me mentally. It will affect me, obviously, because I’ll have to get back to England and then come back again,” Delph said. “That’s obviously not ideal, but it’s part of life. I’m about to have my third child and I’m not going to miss it if I can help it. But I want to get back as fast as I can. We’ll have to see.” Delph’s wife is due to give birth on June 30, two days after England play their final group game against Belgium in Kaliningrad and the 28-year-old said he had already made provisional travel plans with the Football Association and would hire a private jet, if necessary. “Gareth understands how important family is to me, and he’s the same as well. We’ve spoken about it a lot. He was away at an England camp and had to fly back to be at the birth of his child, getting there 10 minutes before, apparently. Hopefully I can do the same,” Delph added. “I’ve spoken to the guys at the FA and asked them to get me a private plane with lots of champagne on it… No, the guys have worked well with me. They’re going to sort a plane for me to get back as fast as possible.” World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage Asked whether he was resigned to the fact that he might miss matches, Delph said: “Yes, absolutely. We’ve got a fantastic squad, great players, and if I am selected to play and I have to make my way back to see my family, there are players more than capable of doing the job I can do, if not a lot better. I’m comfortable with that decision.” Delph is not expected to be in the England team for Monday’s opening Group G fixture against Tunisia in Volgograd but warned against the dangers posed by the North Africans - who he even likened to his club side, Manchester City, in their desire to play positive football. "They're a good team,” he said. "They take risks, they like to play football. I want to say similar to how Manchester City play. They bring their centre-backs all the way, the full-back play wide and they try to play but from the back. They do give the ball away sometimes, but they stick to what they know and what they are working on and they try to play football. World Cup winners “We won’t be able to roll them over. I likened them to Manchester City in terms of how they like to try and play football, moving the ball around fast. They’re an in-form team. They are very confident, very comfortable on the ball.” Delph is, personally, brimming with confidence after his Premier League-title winning campaign at City after a season which started with him possibly not being in Pep Guardiola’s plans and linked to a move to Stoke City. "From a very young age I've been guided in a way where hard work beats talent. It's the way I've always been, the way I'll continue to be,” Delph said. "Pep has seen that in me. There are obviously more talented players than me at Manchester City, but my work ethic is probably… better than theirs, maybe. Pep likes that and he's been great with me.”
Fabian Delph prepared to return to England from World Cup if wife goes into labour
Fabian Delph is prepared to pull out of World Cup matches to attend the birth of his third child. With his wife, Natalie, due to go into labour soon the England midfielder said that he had already discussed the matter with manager Gareth Southgate and would go back home, if necessary, even if he is selected for the starting XI. “I don’t think it will affect me mentally. It will affect me, obviously, because I’ll have to get back to England and then come back again,” Delph said. “That’s obviously not ideal, but it’s part of life. I’m about to have my third child and I’m not going to miss it if I can help it. But I want to get back as fast as I can. We’ll have to see.” Delph’s wife is due to give birth on June 30, two days after England play their final group game against Belgium in Kaliningrad and the 28-year-old said he had already made provisional travel plans with the Football Association and would hire a private jet, if necessary. “Gareth understands how important family is to me, and he’s the same as well. We’ve spoken about it a lot. He was away at an England camp and had to fly back to be at the birth of his child, getting there 10 minutes before, apparently. Hopefully I can do the same,” Delph added. “I’ve spoken to the guys at the FA and asked them to get me a private plane with lots of champagne on it… No, the guys have worked well with me. They’re going to sort a plane for me to get back as fast as possible.” World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage Asked whether he was resigned to the fact that he might miss matches, Delph said: “Yes, absolutely. We’ve got a fantastic squad, great players, and if I am selected to play and I have to make my way back to see my family, there are players more than capable of doing the job I can do, if not a lot better. I’m comfortable with that decision.” Delph is not expected to be in the England team for Monday’s opening Group G fixture against Tunisia in Volgograd but warned against the dangers posed by the North Africans - who he even likened to his club side, Manchester City, in their desire to play positive football. "They're a good team,” he said. "They take risks, they like to play football. I want to say similar to how Manchester City play. They bring their centre-backs all the way, the full-back play wide and they try to play but from the back. They do give the ball away sometimes, but they stick to what they know and what they are working on and they try to play football. World Cup winners “We won’t be able to roll them over. I likened them to Manchester City in terms of how they like to try and play football, moving the ball around fast. They’re an in-form team. They are very confident, very comfortable on the ball.” Delph is, personally, brimming with confidence after his Premier League-title winning campaign at City after a season which started with him possibly not being in Pep Guardiola’s plans and linked to a move to Stoke City. "From a very young age I've been guided in a way where hard work beats talent. It's the way I've always been, the way I'll continue to be,” Delph said. "Pep has seen that in me. There are obviously more talented players than me at Manchester City, but my work ethic is probably… better than theirs, maybe. Pep likes that and he's been great with me.”
England are not in my four or five favourites to win the World Cup, but in Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling they have two players who can make a big impact and help the team to have a good tournament. Kane is a fantastic player, a fantastic striker. He has got everything and he needs to show that in this World Cup. It’s not the same to do it in the Premier League, which is good. But this is the real big stage when every single person in the world is watching. He is the captain as well and I’m sure he can do it. Sterling had a great season, he has fantastic qualities. People say he does not score enough goals, but still what he offers the team going in behind, running, he gives something to the team that I think will be very, very important. I can see the influence Pep Guardiola has had on him. He’s so fast, he has pace, but I think Pep, tactically, made him much better. From what I see when we play against him, he has got the qualities to go in behind and attack the lines because he is so fast. He did not used to do it, but Pep has put it in his mind that ‘listen, you are the player who can score 20, 25 goals a season easily. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage 'You need to make runs behind and get into the box’. When he takes you on one against one, you have no chance and England need to take advantage of this. He can deliver. In case people are wondering, apart from Spain, the other teams I think that can win the World Cup are Germany, Brazil, France and Argentina - because of Lionel Messi. He is that good. World Cup whatsapp promo
England's Raheem Sterling can deliver on the biggest stage
England are not in my four or five favourites to win the World Cup, but in Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling they have two players who can make a big impact and help the team to have a good tournament. Kane is a fantastic player, a fantastic striker. He has got everything and he needs to show that in this World Cup. It’s not the same to do it in the Premier League, which is good. But this is the real big stage when every single person in the world is watching. He is the captain as well and I’m sure he can do it. Sterling had a great season, he has fantastic qualities. People say he does not score enough goals, but still what he offers the team going in behind, running, he gives something to the team that I think will be very, very important. I can see the influence Pep Guardiola has had on him. He’s so fast, he has pace, but I think Pep, tactically, made him much better. From what I see when we play against him, he has got the qualities to go in behind and attack the lines because he is so fast. He did not used to do it, but Pep has put it in his mind that ‘listen, you are the player who can score 20, 25 goals a season easily. World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage 'You need to make runs behind and get into the box’. When he takes you on one against one, you have no chance and England need to take advantage of this. He can deliver. In case people are wondering, apart from Spain, the other teams I think that can win the World Cup are Germany, Brazil, France and Argentina - because of Lionel Messi. He is that good. World Cup whatsapp promo
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
World Cup 2018 scouting report: Can Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen secure dream Premier League move?
The Manchester City playmaker has jokingly suggested that the Premier League champions need to bring in some fellow countrymen this summer
'I don't even care if they're good or not!' - Bernardo Silva urges Guardiola to sign Portuguese support
The Manchester City playmaker has jokingly suggested that the Premier League champions need to bring in some fellow countrymen this summer
Player ratings: who performed and who didn't? England warned to expect tough approach from Panama ​ England vs Panama, World Cup 2018: When and where in Russia is the Group G match, what time does it start and what TV channel is it on? ​ Harry Kane said he might well score three like Cristiano Ronaldo. People tittered. Instead it was just the two for the England captain as he struck the goals to gain England a precious victory in their opening Group G fixture against an obdurate, organised and occasionally cynical Tunisia. It mattered in terms of perception as well as points. These were Kane’s first tournament goals and he, and England, are up and running. What a contribution from the captain. At times England wrestled with familiar failings. At times, Tunisia just wrestled and not least when it came to dealing with Kane who was dragged to the turf on at least two occasions inside the penalty area. The first probably was rightly not given, as John Stones already appeared to have committed a foul, but the second appeared a blatant penalty. Where was the video assistant referee (VAR)? After being overwhelmed at set-pieces early on the Tunisians resorted to grapple tactics which seemed to have hauled England down into a usual sense of stifling frustration especially in an increasingly drifting second-half. The Tunisians swarmed around England like the midges and mosquitoes that plagued this stadium on the banks of the River Volga and so irritated the players. Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) That was until injury-time when Harry Maguire, who was also being regularly man-handled, finally found some space to meet a corner and flick the ball towards the back-post where Kane had drifted free and headed home. Except it was not as simple as that. The forward could easily have sent the chance over the bar but he twisted his body, strained his neck and whipped it into the net in the tight space between goalkeeper and goal-frame. In fact both of Kane’s goals came from corners. Thankfully, unlike at Euro 2016, he was not tasked with taking them. Credit: GETTY IMAGES What a finish and what a finish to this match. In a city, formerly Stalingrad, where history hangs heavy, England had felt their own footballing history beginning to burden them once again after such a luminous start. Stay calm under pressure. Find a solution. They had been key messages from manager Gareth Southgate. And for once England eventually did just that. Southgate had urged England to attack the tournament, attack the World Cup. They did that also until adversity and errors struck. But they overcame them. They, hopefully, removed a mental block in doing so. How wonderful would that be? This result means that, for the first time in five tournaments, since 2006 in fact, England have won their opening game. Next up it is Panama and then Belgium and a last-16 place should now be in their grasp. The 2,000 England fans inside this stadium sang and sang at the final whistle. What a relief. There are issues. Defensively England remain far from assured with Ashley Young - whose place will be under threat from Danny Rose - and Maguire making some wrong decisions and the 3-5-2 under question while debate will re-open over the effectiveness of Raheem Sterling who appeared shorn of confidence after a woeful early miss and lasted barely an hour before being replaced by the far more effective Marcus Rashford while there was rich food for thought in the positive contribution of Ruben Loftus-Cheek who appears to have that bit of subtilty to unpick a packed defence. There were positives also with Kieran Trippier outstandingly creative down the right flank, Kane predatory and Jordan Henderson fully justifying his selection as the midfield anchor. Tunisia vs England shots on goal In terms of attacking intent, in terms of chances created the first-half was among England’s most impressive 45 minute periods for decades - even if it was eventually let down by defensive frailty and weak finishing. England will rage about the penalty they conceded but, even before then, they should have been out of sight. Tunisia vs England shots on goal They missed chance after chance after chance and scored just once, striking the frame of the goal twice. They had to be more ruthless and it seemed they would be just that as Kane scored on 11 minutes as Stones met Young’s corner with a superb leap, an even more superb header and goalkeeper Mouez Hassen somehow clawed it out. Unfortunately for him it dropped to Kane who side-foot volleyed into the net from close-range. Before that Hassen had kept Tunisia in it as he did well to divert Jesse Lingard’s deflected shot away for a corner. Even so Lingard had to score and had to score when he then miscued a volley into the side-netting. Sterling, also, had to score but scuffed wide the goal beckoning while after conceding Hassen could not carry on, having already hurt his shoulder, and departed in tears. The goalkeeper had also denied Maguire, clawing away his header. Credit: GETTY IMAGES The concern began to creep and England were caught out with Kyle Walker, foolishly, throwing his arm back as he contested a cross and catching Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face. The forward went down, claiming the offence and the Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the penalty spot. Ferjani Sassi took seven steps back, strolled up and stroked his right footed shot into the corner of the goal. Jordan Pickford guessed right, got a finger tip to the ball but was beaten. It was coolly executed. A sassy penalty by Sassi. England vs Tunisia Player ratings Again focus had been lost by England. But they summoned a response with Maguire’s header headed out from on the goal-line and onto the bar. The rebound fell to Stones but he snatched at it and the ball rolled wide before Trippier cleverly set Lingard through and although he flicked his shot past substitute goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha it struck the outside of the post. England were inexperienced of course, with nine players making their World Cup debuts, and maybe it began to show as Tunisia defended ever deeper and were determined to hold on by any means they could. Time was running out but that was until Kane intervened. Ronaldo had scored those three goals for Portugal against Spain last week and Kane said he fancied vying for 'The Golden Boot' as the World Cup top-scorer. Good for him. Good for England. 10:45PM Harry Maguire reaction Huge win. What a feeling �������������������� @Englandpic.twitter.com/nF6XWXpaGi— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 18, 2018 10:31PM Sam Wallace on Gareth Southgate Of everything Southgate has done with this England team - encouraging them to take risks, to ignore the usual fears and hang-ups - his autumn change to a 3-5-2 formation once qualification was over was fundamental to the whole plan. Read more in Sam Wallace's article here. 10:31PM To be honest, I'm not surprised Interesting stat after #TUNENG. Second lowest of all games so far, for Actual Playing Time. Just 49'38". pic.twitter.com/xRZWwv6vC1— Alex Stone (@AlexStone7) June 18, 2018 9:39PM Kane scored two goals despite eating midges "There were a lot more than we thought. We had a lot of bug spray on, before the game, and at half-time. I got some (flies) in the eye, some in my mouth." Bluuuuuurgh. 9:38PM Great news I am. https://t.co/5V9Xf7uidT— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) June 18, 2018 9:37PM Reaction Harry Kane meanwhile did what everyone kept telling him he needs to do: kept his nerve, saved his team, made a statement to the other leading strikers out here.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 18, 2018 THE LIMBS. LOOK AT THE LIMBS. CANCEL CLUB FOOTBALL LETS DO THIS 365 DAYS A YEAR https://t.co/KcQShfn63D— Eli (@ElMengem) June 18, 2018 "I know the pubs would have been erupting back home. I was that kid watching in the pubs before, I know what that's like" Hero @HKane sums up what it means to score the winner Watch the World Cup LIVE on @ITV#ENG#TUNENG#ThreeLionspic.twitter.com/gpESSQ9fUk— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 18, 2018 9:33PM A bit of analysis Fascinating match. I've not seen an England team so confident, calm in possession and adept at building play from the back who don't also revert to type in the final few moments and throw on 18 strikers to hump the ball long to. Southgate's team built from the back and stayed patient. It moves the opposition around, makes them work hard and as soon as Rashford and Loftus-Cheek injected a bit of forward-thinking and pace to that second half, the movement and forward passing really caused problems. The other thing to commend Southgate for is his clear focus on set pieces. Maguire was brilliant as a target in the box and had it not been for the intervening hands and wrestling skills of Tunisia's defence, England would probably have scored more. Henderson was superb as a six, holding the line between the wing-backs during build-up and rarely roaming from his position. On the times he did attack, Alli and Lingard knew to watch the midfield and dropped back to maintain the shape. This is a well drilled, organised and disciplined England and the benefit of that is the forwards can have way more fun, able to rely on a solid base further back. 9:25PM Kane with his MOTM trophy Credit: FIFA I'm pretty sure there's no beer inside it. 9:23PM What a find this is 1: John Barnes vs Ireland in 1990 2: Harry Maguire vs Tunisia There's only one way to beat them Get round the back pic.twitter.com/mTTLwlxLE3— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 18, 2018 9:22PM England fans going nuts England fans going nuts after Harry Kane’s late goal! #ENG#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/vltfWN7Wc0— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 9:21PM Kyle Walker I think the entire squad is going to a press interview at this rate. Here's Walker: "It shows the work we've put in, believing in ourselves, the system, got the goal which always feels better in the later stages. "I think in the Premier League probably would have got away with it. Trips gave us a shout to leave it so I just tried to shield the ball. "We created a lot of chances but we're not the finished article. There's two more important games we need to go and pick up points now. "I'm not a big talker, I know everyone likes to have their own thoughts but I said I'll run. "It's good. It's a pat on the back for us but there's two important games. We just prepare well and hopefully the points will come." 9:17PM Southgate says "I think the way we kept playing even though the clock was running down, we waited for good opportunities and I think we deserved the win. We had total control of the game second half, strong on set plays all night. Even had we drawn, which would have made life difficult, I would have been proud of the performance. "We'll do well to make as many chances in a game in this tournament. The movement, the control from the back with the ball. Good teams score goals and [keeping the ball helped tire Tunisia]. "The squad have been brilliant, the team selection was so difficult and to bring the substitutes on and them make the impact they did, everyone's worked so hard to come together. "We've given ourselves a great platform to build from, in particular the level of performance but there's a lot of work to do still. Panama will be a tough test in a different way. We can enjoy tonight, I hope everyone at home enjoys tonight. "He's a top, top striker and I'm delighted for him. It's great we've got him in the team, he took his goals very well." 9:11PM Harry Maguire with less of a 'by numbers' interview "We thought the penalty was a bit soft. "We stuck to our shape and knew we'd get the next goal. "It was tough out there, really warm, started well but missed clearcut chances which you don't get at this level very often. "We knew we'd get more but they changed the shape to match us to a three, more like a five. "It was as much a penalty as what they got. He's always going to get that chance, he's going to be a huge player for us. "There were a couple of nervy passes in the first. It's a big occasion, my first game at this high pressure, you've got to focus, concentrate and I felt I grew into the game. "It's a massive three points but it's only three points and we've got another big game coming up." 9:07PM Player ratings Who stood out for you? Here's our verdict: England vs Tunisia Player ratings 9:06PM Matt Law's verdict England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? 9:06PM Jordan Henderson says "I thought we kept going. It paid off tonight with a big win. "I still felt positive, we wanted to get the game going again. We didn't maybe we were thinking about the chances we missed, in the World Cup you've got to keep going. In the second half we did that, kept fighting, didn't play as well but they defended deeper, a lot better as well. "We said you can be friends off the field but on the field you're fighting your mate next to you, for each other. For the whole process we've said keep going to the final whistle and think that showed tonight." 9:03PM Alan Shearer says "I would love one of the VAR people to come out and explain that. They told us before the start they were going to keep an eye on that." 9:02PM This is how many chances it took England to win that Tunisia vs England shots on goal 9:01PM Harry Kane post-match "I thought we played really well, could have scored a few more, credit to the lads we kept going, got to the last second and we're absolutely buzzing. "We spoke a lot about togetherness, we've got a great bond off the pitch which is nice. "I think a few corners we had so much joy from corners, they were trying to stop us and hold us, that's football, that's the ref and it shows good character to do what we've done. "I'm really proud. We've done a lot of work, it was tough, we got the nerves and excitement out the way. I'm so proud." 8:59PM The goal in pictures Credit: AP Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: PA 8:57PM Tunisia players leave the pitch in tears The coaching staff get on the pitch and console an absolutely gutted team of Tunisians. They were so close to a point that could have given real hope of qualification there. Belgium didn't look too special earlier today so there is a chance but it's probably fair to write off Panama at this stage. 8:54PM What a time to win it "Release!" is Martin Keown's rather-too-much information feeling at the final whistle. England showed real character to stay in that one, drawing that would have been a very pre-2018 England thing to do. 8:53PM FULL TIME That's it! England win and it's deserved. Two goals from Harry Kane seal the three points in a hard-fought win over a tricky Tunisia side. 8:52PM 90 mins +3 - England 2 Tunisia 1 Lingard off, Dier off. Southgate is delighted, he was bouncing along the touchline when that goal went in. Interesting that Tunisia decided not to pick up Kane and put him on the floor this time. 8:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! IT'S HARRY KANE! Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) The corner is brilliant! Maguire heads it on and Kane is at hte back post - unmarked! Nobody hauls him to the ground this time and he turns the header into the goal from a few yards. It's a brilliant finish! 8:49PM 90 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 It's still all England. They do really well to pass to half way... and then run out of ideas. Or have they? Maaaaaybe. Loftus-Cheek wins a corner. Four minutes of added time to come. 8:48PM 89 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Loftus-Cheek has done well since coming on. He's in the box, turns his man and has options in the six yard box! He pulls it across goal and Rashford can shoot - but he leaves it! Lingard misses his kick. Rashford reacts furiously - he must have been given a shout to leave it. Dreadful call by Lingard if that is the case - he was surrounded. Loftus-Cheek turns his man, gets to the goal line... and overruns it. Goal kick. Martin Keown has suggested England have "under estimated the heat". A perilous situation indeed. 8:46PM 87 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Trippier hits a cross into the box, it's cleared by the first man. Loftus-Cheek goes on a nice run but none of his striker friends seem to read it. Tunisia are caught offside. 8:44PM 85 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 I hate to say it but Rashford has done more in the last five minutes than Sterling did for most of the game. He's won a corner now. OK. So. Here we have a thing. The goalkeeper has come to attack the corner and has literally punched John Stones in the head. The referee has given a free-kick to Tunisia. The goalkeeper punches a defender in the head and wins a free-kick. Am I going mental? Is this... is this... what is this? How is that a free-kick to the goalkeeper? I'm confused. Things don't look the same anymore. Am I through the looking glass? Inside the machine? Only time will tell my friends. And at the moment, Tunisia are wasting that time. Khazri walks off the pitch slooooooooowwwwwwwwwly to be replaced by Khalifa. 8:41PM 83 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 The free-kick is high to the back post... and Tunisia win a throw. Can they improve on this in the final 10 minutes? They've hardly had the ball in the England final third. Tunisia vs England 8:39PM 81 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Dele Alli off, Loftus-Cheek on. He should help with moving the ball around the Tunisia half. Henderson is fouled 35 yards out. Tunisia have defended really well tonight. 8:39PM 80 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Urgh. Young's free-kick is dreadful. Over the bar, nowhere near. Poor. Etc. 8:37PM 78 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Alli goes for a one-two, gets wiped out, and it's a free-kick to England in BECKHAM TERRITORY! Young can hit these. 8:36PM 77 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Promising attack from England! Rashford moves into the box, fires it wide to Trippier. Blocked. Rashford joins in again, twists, turns, twists, turns, and passes back to Henderson who hits a high pass to the back post... and Kane's attempted volley pass to Lingard produces nothing. 8:34PM 75 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sliti is taken off, Ben Amor is on. He's more of a defensive midfielder than Sliti, who had a decent game tonight. Credit: AP The Tunisian goalkeeper Hassen is on the bench with his arm in a sling now. 8:32PM 73 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia have had to deal with pressure for the last 20 minutes or so but could now decide to use some energy taking the game to England. Sliti strides forward, the space opens up... he shoots! It's awful. Like swinging at the ball with a golf club. He punts into the air and it flies wide. 8:30PM 71 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have been lifted immediately! Alli gets in behind the defence and is one on one! But the goalkeeper is awake and quickly smothers. Alli is said to be offside anyway. He isn't. This referee has made some interesting decisions today. 8:28PM 70 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 First sub: Sterling off, Rashford on. Will he take this free-kick? It looks like Trippier and Young fancy it. Trippier takes it... and it's wide. Rashford is involved straight away! He carries the ball forward quickly and pokes it ahead of Kane... but a brilliant tackle by the defender takes it away from him. 8:26PM 68 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Possession: Tunisia vs England England have turned possession round even if they're not finding too many chances to really attack with it. Over the course of the game you'd probably say they've had the better of times. Tunisia vs England shots on goal England keep going backwards and sideways with their passing. Tunisia are defending with a low block and surrounding England players on the ball... and Kane has won a free-kick 25 yards out. 8:24PM 66 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson is forward now so Alli drops to the six position with Lingard deeper too. Walker carries the ball out, Pickford comes off his line to help with the passing, Young has to go backwards. The midfield are getting caught too high up the pitch and the passing is all going sideways. 8:23PM 64 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England are running a little low on ideas now and Martin Keown has suggested the heat in the stadium might be the cause. Here's a promising move though. Sterling on the left, Young doesn't read the backheel and then as soon as he touches the back of the defender, it's a free-kick to Tunisia. 8:22PM 62 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 This time no England players are thrown to the ground at the corner and Kane keeps the ball alive at the goal line. England keep up the pressure and then Sterling is... there's a free-kick. Sterling's holding the back of his marker's shirt. 8:19PM 60 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Good, patient passing from England in the final third. Kane can't get on the end of a cross from the right, Young tries an effort from the left, and Trippier then wins a corner after a brilliant long ball from Henderson finds him. Henderson's passing has been superb. 8:18PM 58 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Great running off the ball by Lingard. He spots Henderson is in danger of being overrun and drops back beside him to help the move. He doesn't get the ball but just being there gives security and an option to England. 8:15PM 56 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have Tunisia pinned back. It's a really high press and is making Tunisia work hard at the moment. Tunisia are so good with the ball though and manage to escape the first line of press. Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS In other news, a photographer has found a bat on the pitch. [Tyldesley] "But is there a Batman on the pitch? England could certainly do with one now!" [/Tyldesley] 8:12PM 54 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Ohhhhhhhh Khazri is in behind Maguire - who has been poor defensively tonight - and Pickford comes out his box to defend it! The referee blows for an offside (incorrectly) and ends the move. England get forward, Young's cross is cleared... England win a free-kick at halfway. 8:11PM 52 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Kane's been wrestled to the floor again. That's incredible. Honestly it's shocking - what is the VAR doing? This is infuriating to watch. England denied another huge shout at a penalty - if the player can't attack the ball because he's been thrown to the floor, surely it's a foul? Ah well. The corner doesn't end well for England because both Henderson and Kane have been taken out of the game. 8:09PM 50 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia seem calmer, more composed at the start of this half. Aaaand Meriah has passed straight out for a throw. Curse of the... live blogger. Tunisia moving the ball around really well here, England are having to work to cover the pitch and Tunisia are in the final third now. But Sterling's nipped in and the counter is on! Corner to England. 8:07PM 48 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia start well until a foul on Henderson gives England possession back. Sassi has a go at the referee for that decision too but it's a clear free-kick. England pass around the back for a while and Walker is on the right of the three centre-backs. Would there have been a penalty in the first half if Stones had been the central CB? 8:04PM KICK OFF 2 Dele Alli is OK to continue! He's back. Sterling is having to bat away about a million midges from his face. I realise it's hard to see them so I've highlighted the ones I can see easily in that photo. If you've ever been to Scotland in September, you will understand how annoying these things are. 8:03PM Just a friendly reminder That after a VAR review, this is not a penalty. Please remember that I am a neutral observer here. Anyway. Let's move on now, if we get another half as entertaining as that we'll all have a great time. 8:01PM England's xG is promising First half xG map for #Eng-#Tun good news: the football is coming home bad news: the football is a very dumb sport that no one likes pic.twitter.com/10Cvv5Mfj4— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) June 18, 2018 7:59PM England must improve their finishing Tunisia vs England shots on goal It's all very well creating the chances but England - obviously - have to take them. Sterling's miss was a dreadful effort as was Stones' scuffed volley attempt inside the box as Tunisia were scrambling. Oh and Lingard's too. They were all bad at it. 7:56PM This is an interesting decision He's literally thrown him to the ground. 7:54PM Rio Ferdinand blames Walker for the penalty "If Walker's body position was right there wouldn't be a penalty. A centre-half facing his own goal is criminal." 7:53PM Average shape Average touch positions (half time) It's all about the running from England's central midfielders. You can see how they all seem to be in central areas on that average position and it's really causing damage. One of Lingard, Alli, Kane or Sterling run from deep positions in behind the defenders and a ball over the top or down the wing puts them into situations where England can attack. Look how many touches they've had in the Tunisia box already: Tunisia vs England 7:49PM No flies on this one But there were before the game... That was really exciting. England created heaps of chances but as Alan Shearer has just said "at this level you have to score them". 7:48PM HALF TIME Oocha beasties. That was some half. England looked incredible for 20 minutes and then a bit of sloppiness and a silly foul has given their opponents a way back in. Sound familiar? 7:47PM 45 mins +2 - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson puts Pickford in a spot of bother but instead of staying calm, Pickford tries to launch the ball as many miles away as possible and ends up giving away a throw-in. England working their way forward in search of another goal before half time. Maaloul has had the ball hit off the side of his torso and has gone down howling. There's no way he's winded and Trippier goes across to find out what has actually happened to him. 7:44PM 45 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Maguire is England's most dangerous player at the moment! He heads a free-kick across the box and tees up Lingard for a sitter inside 12 yards. He fires over the bar. Awful. It turns out there's a deflection, so I withdraw my harsh criticism. The corner is gathered low by the goalkeeper in the second phase of the set piece. LINGARD IS IN AGAIN! Another pass over the top! One on one with the goalkeeper after a run from deep but his touch rolls agonisingly wide of the near post, hitting it instead of rolling in! So unlucky! 7:42PM 43 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 That shove on Kane in the penalty area is comical. I don't know what VAR are doing or whether I missed the seminar that first confirmed the collision of WWE and football into one super sport, but England should have a penalty. Happy to be proved wrong! 7:41PM 41 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England win another free-kick in the Tunisia half. It's too far away to shoot, Trippier will take... but it's not up to much. Alli chases into the corner and wins back... and now there's a Tunisia throw. Credit: REUTERS 7:40PM 39 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sterling wins a free-kick in the corner. Delph is getting ready to come on but Alli will be allowed to attack this free-kick first. Trippier hooks it in... and it's a panic in the box! Kane goes down in the area, it's headed across the box and onto the bar... Stones comes to swing a foot at it but gets it all wrong. Oh my god how is that not a penalty. Kane was literally thrown to the ground by his man-marker there. 7:37PM 37 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Well, well, well. Here we are. "You've got to be so careful in the modern game. I'm not sure I could play today!" says Keown. Maguire's made another mistake! Tunisia have three men, a man over... but the ball doesn't go right to him and is played left instead. Khazri slips... and the move is gone. Dele Alli is going to have to come off. 7:35PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL! TUNISIA HAVE EQUALISED! Goal: Tunisia ( 35 min ) Sassi steps up, does a little shimmy in his run up and slots it low and hard into the bottom left corner. Pickford is soooo close to it. 7:34PM PENALTY TO TUNISIA! Instant decision by the referee! The ball is hooked into the area and Walker whacks the forward in the face! VAR has reviewed it and it's a definite penalty... Walker is demonstrating he was putting his arms out wide like wings to work out his position. Card: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Kyle Walker, 33 min) Instead he's caught the striker in the face! 7:33PM 33 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Sterling drops to take a pass to feet, fires it out to Trippier and gets a return pass. The ball is moved to the box, crossed low into the area... but the defender blocks at the front corner of the six yard box. Dele Alli is clutching his thigh and doing a bunch of stretching. Walker has moved to the central centre-back position. 7:31PM 31 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Bronn has just gone absolutely nuts at the referee for daring to give a free-kick against him after rolling the ball up his arm like a basketball freestyler. I don't understand footballers sometimes. This is a great spot for a free-kick. Trippier chips it to the back post and MAGUIRE IS THERE! But the goalkeeper saves confidently. England keep up the high press and win possession back but Tunisia find a way to break. 7:28PM 29 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Great delivery by Khazri but it's headed away inside 10 yards. England survive! Tunisia seem a little braver now though and are starting to get on the ball and run with it. 7:27PM 27 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Pickford is quick off his line to close down a pass into space for Khazri. Maguire's been caught in possession though and suddenly Tunisia are all over them! The crowd gets excited and England panic! Maguire throws himself at the shot and deflects it behind. England completely switched off there. Poor. Tunisia corner. 7:24PM 24 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The corner is taken by Khazri but misses everyone in the box. Sliti chases, beats Alli to the ball and then fancies a shot himself from distance... but launches it miles away. The ball's somewhere in the crowd. Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Naim Sliti, 23 min) Kane finds Young on the left, Young cuts inside and chips to Lingard at the back post. Oh my word he's unmarked... the ball lands at his feet! He must score! Lingard misses! Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Jesse Lingard, 24 min) I hate the cliche but that seemed like he too much time and didn't know what to with himself. 7:22PM 22 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Credit: PA England are knocking the ball about beautifully and get men forward but Tunisia steal the ball and can break! But Young is quickly on the case and England win it back. I am so impressed by this performance so far. Martin Keown says "dare I say it, this is some of the best football we've seen at the tournament so far." But now Tunisia have found a way to attack and it is down the right wing. Bronn gets all the way to the box and wins a corner. He's meant to be a centre-back and Young hasn't dealt with it well, leaving his position. 7:20PM 20 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 It's like a 3-3-3-1 formation really, or it is when Sterling drops slightly deeper. Will Tunisia do as Nigeria did and copy the shape for the second half? Or immediately? Because they're really struggling. 7:19PM 18 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 England's shape is working really well. Henderson, who I've doubts about as a six, is holding it all together in the build-up play. He needs to keep this up all game long to ensure England's build up works from the back. England - honestly - are playing really well. This is a fantastic move now, there's loads of running off the ball, there are numbers in midfield... and Henderson has a chance to shoot from distance after Trippier's cross is missed by all. He forces a decent save from the new goalkeeper. 7:16PM 16 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 After a lengthy break, Pickford hoofs the ball up the pitch and England win the second ball. Tunisia press them high up the pitch and force a goal kick as Walker has to try and ping it away rather than keep up the short passes. 7:14PM 14 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The goalkeeper has gone down again. Poor guy. That save was awesome. The physios attend to him as the substitute goalie gets warmed-up. Hassen has to leave the pitch in tears, given kisses on the way by his taemmates. He's going to be replaced by Mustapha. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! ENGLAND HAVE SCORED! Stones absolutely batters a header at goal and the goalkeeper somehow claws it out of the net with an incredible, strong hand. He can only pass it to Kane though, who makes no mistake. Will the goal be given to Kane or Stones? I think it might have been over the line! Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Harry Kane, 11 min) 7:11PM 11 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 England win a corner as Kane finds space to take a shot from 20 yards. Young comes across to take it. 7:10PM 10 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 The crowd are cheering Tunisia's passing but as Martin Keown has jsut said "Oh they can definitely play". And as I type that a pass goes straight out for a throw. 7:08PM 8 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 What a start by England though. They look fired up and are moving really well. Hassen, the goalkeeper, still doesn't look happy with his... shoulder? Goalkeeping ability? The scenario he finds himself in? Something's up anyway. Ben Youssef.F has gone down holding his chin as Young puts his forearm into his face. I'm not sure that's intentional but it definitely hurt. Will the referee review it? Nope. He is safe to wound more with his deadly elbow. Beware, sweet Tunisians. 7:06PM 6 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 CHANCE FOR STERLING! Ooooohhhh he's missed an open goal. It's OK though, he's offisde. Well, Lingard is. Even though he's not. If that makes sense. Lingard is played in on goal, passes across the box and Sterling is at the back post but makes a total mess of things. The goalkeeper's down on the floor receiving treatment but I'm not sure why. They're trying to fix his arm... but he didn't touch anything with it. Is he just trying to calm this down? 7:03PM 4 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Great pass! Alli is in down the right! He's in the box after a brilliant pass by Henderson but the cross is blocked and it drops for LINGAAAARD - SAVED! Great save by the goalkeeper and it's a corner! Maguire comes up for the set piece and attacks the header... it's a free header, it bounces into the turf and the goalie scrambles to touch it away. Tunisia ball. 7:01PM 2 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Trippier tries a pass over the top into the right channel for Lingard but puts it out for a goal kick after England spend some time getting to know the ball. Tunisia build from the back... but Alli has stolen it in their half. Kane loses possession... but now the goalkeeper has passed out for a throw-in. He looks nervous. 7:00PM KICK OFF AAAAARGH IT'S FINALLY TIME! England get the game started! 6:58PM The referees Three are from Colombia and one is Costa Rican. 6:57PM Singing check I've checked every England player and each one is singing the national anthem. Well done. Passion wise... I have to say it's not great. All low register, no diaphragm, no great feel - I just don't believe it, you know? But maybe that's their style. 6:55PM National anthems 6:54PM Who's going to win? The players are coming out onto the pitch! Here we go! But there's time to put a bit of cash on it! And we even have some tips for you. Betting guide: prediction and tips for England v Tunisia 6:53PM Stay up to date We've got some great little bits for you to play with and keep you up to date during the tournament. I particularly recommend joining our Whatsapp group so you can get news, updates and analysis sent to your phone! World Cup whatsapp promo 6:49PM Paul Hayward in Russia "A distinct absence of royalty and government ministers on the VIP list in Volgograd, but English football is represented by Sol Campbell, David Gill and Lindsay Skoll, Britain's deputy ambassador in Moscow. And Arsene Wenger, an honorary Englishman." Credit: GETTY IMAGES 6:48PM The importance of England's wing-backs Another clever little bit of problem solving from Southgate has been addressing the lack of a left-winger - that other English tradition. Wing-backs are the solution and having them has ensured that central attacking midfielders like Alli, Sterling and Lingard can play in the same team without being shunted out into ineffective positions. If Nigeria had the ball on the right (in a recent friendly), Ashley Young pushed high up the left side of the pitch, if Nigeria were on the left, Kieran Trippier pushed forward. In possession, the player opposite the side the ball is on pushes high and wide to offer a switched pass. Here's Young doing exactly that: The full-back on the opposite side of the pitch to the ball pushes high to provide an outlet Credit: England ITV The shape becomes a 3-1-4-2 at times as the wing-backs join in attacks, stretching the pitch and opening up space for the central midfielders to run into or pass into. England in their attacking shape And because they are wing-backs rather than wingers, Young and Trippier must hold slightly deeper positions, meaning they are usually in place to either receive a switched pass, free to attack space at the back post or simply act as a means of stretching the pitch. England Ashley Young gif During attacks in the final third, this means England have a heap of different runners all moving into similar positions - something incredibly difficult to defend against. Here's an example of the different runs England made during a dangerous attack against Nigeria. Young is the player free on the left. England flood the box with multiple runners in attack Credit: England ITV Nigeria 6:46PM That England training shirt though Credit: FIFA I'm such a fan of this training top. And I'm Scottish. Can you imagine the confusion inside my brain? I'm saying this should be the actual England kit rather than the plain Jane one that they have. Credit: FIFA 6:45PM Gareth Southgate: "The time for talking's finished" Really looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to watching the players perform. We've got some really good characters in the starting team and the squad itself. It's not just about tonight, first of all there's three games to get through but we're looking forward to tonight's match. How will Tunisia approach this? Well if it's what we've seen probably 4-5-1, they were very well organised in their last game against Spain, they use the ball very well so its a threat. To win any game in a World Cup is difficult so we've got to be at our best. Who issues the rallying cry now? It's me! I've got to come up with something else, they don't like to do it. The time for talking's finished, we've got to perform tonight. 6:40PM Let's get pumped Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, Tunisia don't have quite as iconic a pop record to spur their players on. So in pursuit of balance, I will award them one of the greatest songs ever written: 6:35PM The stadium The BBC have just shown footage of England players spraying themselves with bug spray. There are a heap of flies causing them bother and weirdly, according to Patrice Evra earlier, it really is a hindrance. He played in a game with flies everywhere but they only filled one half. Matt Law has just sent me this: The flies are already annoying Raheem Sterling, who is trying to swat them away while he warms up. England's players have now got out the deet and are covering themselves in it to try to get rid of the flies. 6:31PM Frank Lampard on the rivalry at club level having an effect on England squads Lampard "We're so competitive that the idea of coming to be a team is not so simple as Argentina who come from all over the world." Alan Shearer "I don't agree cliques made a difference. Spain had Real Madrid and Barcelona." 6:30PM Rio Ferdinand on his past England managers "There was elements of some of the managers that we didn't like. Tactically we were very rigid under Cappello too, 4-4-2. Gerrard, Lampard, Hargreaves, Beckham, Scholes we payed 4-4-2 without any ability to move and be fluid. The buck stops with us as players." 6:28PM England are playing in red Credit: FIFA Tunisia get the white because they are technically the home team. Credit: FIFA 6:24PM Lampard on Southgate "He's played a blinder so far!" says Lampard of Southgate's job with England. Rio Ferdinand is impressed too: "It was totally different when we played. It was us vs the press, we hated them, they hated us. Gareth was in those squads and now he's totally changed it and integrated them" 6:22PM Tactics tactics tactics Here's me talking about some of England's tactics and the importance of the wing-backs tonight. 6:19PM Matt Law updates from the stadium "We are all covered in deet inside the Volgograd Arena, but it's not making much difference. The flies are everywhere!" Sounds... really annoying. In case you weren't sure, deet is insect repellent. 6:12PM Another nice England stat 248 - England's starting XI has a cumulative total of 248 caps between them; the lowest by an England starting XI in an international tournament since June 1962 (246 caps v Bulgaria). Fresh.#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/UrcT1fAoCC— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 6:11PM Who are Tunisia's key players? Youssef Msakni is Tunisia's star player, the main creator and the usual source of goals. He is injured and didn't make it to the World Cup, which is pretty sad. Without him, the job of creating scoring opportunities has to be shared by the rest of the team - but who's any good at that? The best player actually available... is probably Wahbi Khazri, who had a decent season on loan at Rennes but when he's played for Sunderland he has been less than impressive. Certainly whenever I've seen him play I haven't though 'wow what a player' and you know that's legit because I support Aberdeen. Most players make me do that. There really aren't any real standouts in the Tunisia team - they are strong as a unit but individually shouldn't cause too many problems. Traditionally England's problem has been the exact opposite. Let's see what happens! 6:05PM Southgate's unfamiliar team 9 - For their 9th successive World Cup tournament, England's starting XI in their opening game have never all previously started a England game together before. Unfamiliar.#WorldCup#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 Southgate must be fairly pleased with what he's seen in training for this to be the case! 6:03PM The Tunisia team I've finally managed to find the official Tunisia Twitter account. Here it is: ��⚪ OFFICIEL : Le 11 de départ de la Tunisie face à l'Angleterre : #TUNENG ������������������ #TUN#CM2018 Hassen- Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul - Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti- Badri, F.Ben Youssef, Khazri. pic.twitter.com/QVvLaAahhA— Tunisie Football (@tunisiefootball) June 18, 2018 Tunisia Hassen; Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul; Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti, Badri, F.Ben Youssef; Khazri 5:58PM Jason Burt on England's chances 5:54PM England fans 'outnumbered' England fans admit to feeling outnumbered by their Tunisian counterparts, but remain hopeful of a victory. 5:53PM Inside the stadium Credit: FIFA The players are out on the pitch having a look around. Credit: FIFA 5:49PM England's team England (3-5-2) Pickford; Stones, Walker, Maguire, Trippier, Young; Henderson, Alli, Lingard; Sterling, Kane. 5:48PM The team is in! Here it is: the #ThreeLions line-up for our opening game at the 2018 #WorldCup. pic.twitter.com/FNHUHn2vAk— England (@England) June 18, 2018 5:46PM Team news should be here very soon England Formation Builder In the meantime you can pick your own starting XI. It'll very likely be a 3-5-2, which looks like a 5-3-2 in defence and a 3-1-4-2 in attack. I'd have Kane and Sterling up front, Alli and... maybe Lingard as AMC and then Delph at six. Rose left, Walker right and Cahill, Stones... and someone else in defence. Maybe Walker actually. 5:43PM Fans making their way into the stadium Credit: GETTY IMAGES How will the players' nerves be just now? So often they fall apart mentally at these tournaments but with that lovely looking sky maybe they'll be all relaxed and chill. Our man Paul Hayward has written this: It's now or never for England - time to cure the World Cup chaos 5:37PM The bus is here HONK HONK HONK! [Tyldesley] "England have parked the bus successfully before the game, but will Tunisia do so during it?" [/Tyldesley] England have arrived #TSworldcup#threelionspic.twitter.com/k6EqWi3PUx— Nigel Adderley (@nadderley) June 18, 2018 5:36PM My favourite Tunisia fact It's where they filmed Tatooine scenes in Star Wars! [Puts on Clive Tyldesley hat] "But will England's players have the Force tonight?" [/Tyldesley] Top 10 | Countries to star in Star Wars 5:32PM Tunisia's World Cup record World Cup record: Tunisia It's not great. 5:29PM This is nice to see Tunisia and England fans making friends in Russia... �� pic.twitter.com/NhjptB4cUT— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 I can't confirm but I'd imagine I think I'm safe in assuming a few people in England may have already gathered in lovely pubs too. Is it worth going early to get a seat? Personally, I quite enjoy the thrill of standing up, mostly because it ensures you can't spill a table of drinks when you go bezerk if your team scores. 5:23PM Where is today's game? That would be the Volgograd Arena, which is in - you guessed it - Volgograd, Russia. World Cup 2018 stadium: Volgograd Arena In real life, it looks like this: Credit: PA A bit like the Colosseum, if it had been made by enormous metal spiders. Or as though the designer found it in a book of absent minded doodles he'd made during his boring real job. 5:18PM Meanwhile, in Group G Belgium are leading Panama after Dries Mertens' superb volley. You can read all about that over in Rob Bagchi's liveblog but come back for the England build-up. And Tunisia, of course. As for both teams' future rivals, I'd say Belgium don't look all that, and Panama are nowhere near as poor as some may have expected. For Belgium, imagine Wigan but with some much better players. The system has massive gaps and England - assuming they got off to a decent start - should be able to deal with both them and Panama comfortably. 5:11PM Jamie Carragher on Southgate Carragher on Southgate 5:05PM How will England approach this game? I spent ages before the World Cup kicked-off researching several teams' tactical approach to these finals. Here's my take on England. World Cup 2018 tactics: England's experimental phase and how Gareth Southgate can bring football home 5:00PM It's England in a World Cup! Hello everyone and welcome to our live coverage of England vs Tunisia, a massive first appearance of the 2018 World Cup for Gareth Southgate's band of merry men. And they do appear to be pretty happy this time - the tournament tactics have extended beyond what happens on the pitch. Nothing's been left to chance! But England are going to need luck if they are to go far. Tunisia might not have the calibre of player you'd normally see steaming around the Premier League but as a team they're very capable and actually really talented on the ball. Southgate has made it clear in all his pre-match chats on camera that Tunisia move the ball well and are technically proficient and by all accounts, England's players aren't underestimating them either. The hope will be, for England fans, that they can stay composed, enjoy the game and show off some of their own silky skills. Credit: AFP The big question though: are England any good? It's really hard to tell but as a neutral (Scottish...) I'd say they're a solid mid-level team on a par with someone like Denmark. There's a lack of composure and vision in midfield and it means creating chances has to be done in a different way. Southgate's solution to this issue has been to up the tempo of passing, get attacking midfielders in advanced central positions where they can dart around in space and with three central defenders, a defensive shield. They want to bypass the midfield and move the ball down the channels quickly, getting it into the box when in the final third and provide Harry Kane with ammunition to take a shot or two. He loves taking shots too. The team news will be in soon and then we'll find out exactly how Southgate is approaching this one. The players know the team. Let's hope it's a good one!
World Cup 2018: Harry Kane rescues England as they beat Tunisia in opening match
Player ratings: who performed and who didn't? England warned to expect tough approach from Panama ​ England vs Panama, World Cup 2018: When and where in Russia is the Group G match, what time does it start and what TV channel is it on? ​ Harry Kane said he might well score three like Cristiano Ronaldo. People tittered. Instead it was just the two for the England captain as he struck the goals to gain England a precious victory in their opening Group G fixture against an obdurate, organised and occasionally cynical Tunisia. It mattered in terms of perception as well as points. These were Kane’s first tournament goals and he, and England, are up and running. What a contribution from the captain. At times England wrestled with familiar failings. At times, Tunisia just wrestled and not least when it came to dealing with Kane who was dragged to the turf on at least two occasions inside the penalty area. The first probably was rightly not given, as John Stones already appeared to have committed a foul, but the second appeared a blatant penalty. Where was the video assistant referee (VAR)? After being overwhelmed at set-pieces early on the Tunisians resorted to grapple tactics which seemed to have hauled England down into a usual sense of stifling frustration especially in an increasingly drifting second-half. The Tunisians swarmed around England like the midges and mosquitoes that plagued this stadium on the banks of the River Volga and so irritated the players. Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) That was until injury-time when Harry Maguire, who was also being regularly man-handled, finally found some space to meet a corner and flick the ball towards the back-post where Kane had drifted free and headed home. Except it was not as simple as that. The forward could easily have sent the chance over the bar but he twisted his body, strained his neck and whipped it into the net in the tight space between goalkeeper and goal-frame. In fact both of Kane’s goals came from corners. Thankfully, unlike at Euro 2016, he was not tasked with taking them. Credit: GETTY IMAGES What a finish and what a finish to this match. In a city, formerly Stalingrad, where history hangs heavy, England had felt their own footballing history beginning to burden them once again after such a luminous start. Stay calm under pressure. Find a solution. They had been key messages from manager Gareth Southgate. And for once England eventually did just that. Southgate had urged England to attack the tournament, attack the World Cup. They did that also until adversity and errors struck. But they overcame them. They, hopefully, removed a mental block in doing so. How wonderful would that be? This result means that, for the first time in five tournaments, since 2006 in fact, England have won their opening game. Next up it is Panama and then Belgium and a last-16 place should now be in their grasp. The 2,000 England fans inside this stadium sang and sang at the final whistle. What a relief. There are issues. Defensively England remain far from assured with Ashley Young - whose place will be under threat from Danny Rose - and Maguire making some wrong decisions and the 3-5-2 under question while debate will re-open over the effectiveness of Raheem Sterling who appeared shorn of confidence after a woeful early miss and lasted barely an hour before being replaced by the far more effective Marcus Rashford while there was rich food for thought in the positive contribution of Ruben Loftus-Cheek who appears to have that bit of subtilty to unpick a packed defence. There were positives also with Kieran Trippier outstandingly creative down the right flank, Kane predatory and Jordan Henderson fully justifying his selection as the midfield anchor. Tunisia vs England shots on goal In terms of attacking intent, in terms of chances created the first-half was among England’s most impressive 45 minute periods for decades - even if it was eventually let down by defensive frailty and weak finishing. England will rage about the penalty they conceded but, even before then, they should have been out of sight. Tunisia vs England shots on goal They missed chance after chance after chance and scored just once, striking the frame of the goal twice. They had to be more ruthless and it seemed they would be just that as Kane scored on 11 minutes as Stones met Young’s corner with a superb leap, an even more superb header and goalkeeper Mouez Hassen somehow clawed it out. Unfortunately for him it dropped to Kane who side-foot volleyed into the net from close-range. Before that Hassen had kept Tunisia in it as he did well to divert Jesse Lingard’s deflected shot away for a corner. Even so Lingard had to score and had to score when he then miscued a volley into the side-netting. Sterling, also, had to score but scuffed wide the goal beckoning while after conceding Hassen could not carry on, having already hurt his shoulder, and departed in tears. The goalkeeper had also denied Maguire, clawing away his header. Credit: GETTY IMAGES The concern began to creep and England were caught out with Kyle Walker, foolishly, throwing his arm back as he contested a cross and catching Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face. The forward went down, claiming the offence and the Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the penalty spot. Ferjani Sassi took seven steps back, strolled up and stroked his right footed shot into the corner of the goal. Jordan Pickford guessed right, got a finger tip to the ball but was beaten. It was coolly executed. A sassy penalty by Sassi. England vs Tunisia Player ratings Again focus had been lost by England. But they summoned a response with Maguire’s header headed out from on the goal-line and onto the bar. The rebound fell to Stones but he snatched at it and the ball rolled wide before Trippier cleverly set Lingard through and although he flicked his shot past substitute goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha it struck the outside of the post. England were inexperienced of course, with nine players making their World Cup debuts, and maybe it began to show as Tunisia defended ever deeper and were determined to hold on by any means they could. Time was running out but that was until Kane intervened. Ronaldo had scored those three goals for Portugal against Spain last week and Kane said he fancied vying for 'The Golden Boot' as the World Cup top-scorer. Good for him. Good for England. 10:45PM Harry Maguire reaction Huge win. What a feeling �������������������� @Englandpic.twitter.com/nF6XWXpaGi— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 18, 2018 10:31PM Sam Wallace on Gareth Southgate Of everything Southgate has done with this England team - encouraging them to take risks, to ignore the usual fears and hang-ups - his autumn change to a 3-5-2 formation once qualification was over was fundamental to the whole plan. Read more in Sam Wallace's article here. 10:31PM To be honest, I'm not surprised Interesting stat after #TUNENG. Second lowest of all games so far, for Actual Playing Time. Just 49'38". pic.twitter.com/xRZWwv6vC1— Alex Stone (@AlexStone7) June 18, 2018 9:39PM Kane scored two goals despite eating midges "There were a lot more than we thought. We had a lot of bug spray on, before the game, and at half-time. I got some (flies) in the eye, some in my mouth." Bluuuuuurgh. 9:38PM Great news I am. https://t.co/5V9Xf7uidT— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) June 18, 2018 9:37PM Reaction Harry Kane meanwhile did what everyone kept telling him he needs to do: kept his nerve, saved his team, made a statement to the other leading strikers out here.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 18, 2018 THE LIMBS. LOOK AT THE LIMBS. CANCEL CLUB FOOTBALL LETS DO THIS 365 DAYS A YEAR https://t.co/KcQShfn63D— Eli (@ElMengem) June 18, 2018 "I know the pubs would have been erupting back home. I was that kid watching in the pubs before, I know what that's like" Hero @HKane sums up what it means to score the winner Watch the World Cup LIVE on @ITV#ENG#TUNENG#ThreeLionspic.twitter.com/gpESSQ9fUk— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 18, 2018 9:33PM A bit of analysis Fascinating match. I've not seen an England team so confident, calm in possession and adept at building play from the back who don't also revert to type in the final few moments and throw on 18 strikers to hump the ball long to. Southgate's team built from the back and stayed patient. It moves the opposition around, makes them work hard and as soon as Rashford and Loftus-Cheek injected a bit of forward-thinking and pace to that second half, the movement and forward passing really caused problems. The other thing to commend Southgate for is his clear focus on set pieces. Maguire was brilliant as a target in the box and had it not been for the intervening hands and wrestling skills of Tunisia's defence, England would probably have scored more. Henderson was superb as a six, holding the line between the wing-backs during build-up and rarely roaming from his position. On the times he did attack, Alli and Lingard knew to watch the midfield and dropped back to maintain the shape. This is a well drilled, organised and disciplined England and the benefit of that is the forwards can have way more fun, able to rely on a solid base further back. 9:25PM Kane with his MOTM trophy Credit: FIFA I'm pretty sure there's no beer inside it. 9:23PM What a find this is 1: John Barnes vs Ireland in 1990 2: Harry Maguire vs Tunisia There's only one way to beat them Get round the back pic.twitter.com/mTTLwlxLE3— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 18, 2018 9:22PM England fans going nuts England fans going nuts after Harry Kane’s late goal! #ENG#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/vltfWN7Wc0— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 9:21PM Kyle Walker I think the entire squad is going to a press interview at this rate. Here's Walker: "It shows the work we've put in, believing in ourselves, the system, got the goal which always feels better in the later stages. "I think in the Premier League probably would have got away with it. Trips gave us a shout to leave it so I just tried to shield the ball. "We created a lot of chances but we're not the finished article. There's two more important games we need to go and pick up points now. "I'm not a big talker, I know everyone likes to have their own thoughts but I said I'll run. "It's good. It's a pat on the back for us but there's two important games. We just prepare well and hopefully the points will come." 9:17PM Southgate says "I think the way we kept playing even though the clock was running down, we waited for good opportunities and I think we deserved the win. We had total control of the game second half, strong on set plays all night. Even had we drawn, which would have made life difficult, I would have been proud of the performance. "We'll do well to make as many chances in a game in this tournament. The movement, the control from the back with the ball. Good teams score goals and [keeping the ball helped tire Tunisia]. "The squad have been brilliant, the team selection was so difficult and to bring the substitutes on and them make the impact they did, everyone's worked so hard to come together. "We've given ourselves a great platform to build from, in particular the level of performance but there's a lot of work to do still. Panama will be a tough test in a different way. We can enjoy tonight, I hope everyone at home enjoys tonight. "He's a top, top striker and I'm delighted for him. It's great we've got him in the team, he took his goals very well." 9:11PM Harry Maguire with less of a 'by numbers' interview "We thought the penalty was a bit soft. "We stuck to our shape and knew we'd get the next goal. "It was tough out there, really warm, started well but missed clearcut chances which you don't get at this level very often. "We knew we'd get more but they changed the shape to match us to a three, more like a five. "It was as much a penalty as what they got. He's always going to get that chance, he's going to be a huge player for us. "There were a couple of nervy passes in the first. It's a big occasion, my first game at this high pressure, you've got to focus, concentrate and I felt I grew into the game. "It's a massive three points but it's only three points and we've got another big game coming up." 9:07PM Player ratings Who stood out for you? Here's our verdict: England vs Tunisia Player ratings 9:06PM Matt Law's verdict England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? 9:06PM Jordan Henderson says "I thought we kept going. It paid off tonight with a big win. "I still felt positive, we wanted to get the game going again. We didn't maybe we were thinking about the chances we missed, in the World Cup you've got to keep going. In the second half we did that, kept fighting, didn't play as well but they defended deeper, a lot better as well. "We said you can be friends off the field but on the field you're fighting your mate next to you, for each other. For the whole process we've said keep going to the final whistle and think that showed tonight." 9:03PM Alan Shearer says "I would love one of the VAR people to come out and explain that. They told us before the start they were going to keep an eye on that." 9:02PM This is how many chances it took England to win that Tunisia vs England shots on goal 9:01PM Harry Kane post-match "I thought we played really well, could have scored a few more, credit to the lads we kept going, got to the last second and we're absolutely buzzing. "We spoke a lot about togetherness, we've got a great bond off the pitch which is nice. "I think a few corners we had so much joy from corners, they were trying to stop us and hold us, that's football, that's the ref and it shows good character to do what we've done. "I'm really proud. We've done a lot of work, it was tough, we got the nerves and excitement out the way. I'm so proud." 8:59PM The goal in pictures Credit: AP Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: PA 8:57PM Tunisia players leave the pitch in tears The coaching staff get on the pitch and console an absolutely gutted team of Tunisians. They were so close to a point that could have given real hope of qualification there. Belgium didn't look too special earlier today so there is a chance but it's probably fair to write off Panama at this stage. 8:54PM What a time to win it "Release!" is Martin Keown's rather-too-much information feeling at the final whistle. England showed real character to stay in that one, drawing that would have been a very pre-2018 England thing to do. 8:53PM FULL TIME That's it! England win and it's deserved. Two goals from Harry Kane seal the three points in a hard-fought win over a tricky Tunisia side. 8:52PM 90 mins +3 - England 2 Tunisia 1 Lingard off, Dier off. Southgate is delighted, he was bouncing along the touchline when that goal went in. Interesting that Tunisia decided not to pick up Kane and put him on the floor this time. 8:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! IT'S HARRY KANE! Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) The corner is brilliant! Maguire heads it on and Kane is at hte back post - unmarked! Nobody hauls him to the ground this time and he turns the header into the goal from a few yards. It's a brilliant finish! 8:49PM 90 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 It's still all England. They do really well to pass to half way... and then run out of ideas. Or have they? Maaaaaybe. Loftus-Cheek wins a corner. Four minutes of added time to come. 8:48PM 89 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Loftus-Cheek has done well since coming on. He's in the box, turns his man and has options in the six yard box! He pulls it across goal and Rashford can shoot - but he leaves it! Lingard misses his kick. Rashford reacts furiously - he must have been given a shout to leave it. Dreadful call by Lingard if that is the case - he was surrounded. Loftus-Cheek turns his man, gets to the goal line... and overruns it. Goal kick. Martin Keown has suggested England have "under estimated the heat". A perilous situation indeed. 8:46PM 87 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Trippier hits a cross into the box, it's cleared by the first man. Loftus-Cheek goes on a nice run but none of his striker friends seem to read it. Tunisia are caught offside. 8:44PM 85 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 I hate to say it but Rashford has done more in the last five minutes than Sterling did for most of the game. He's won a corner now. OK. So. Here we have a thing. The goalkeeper has come to attack the corner and has literally punched John Stones in the head. The referee has given a free-kick to Tunisia. The goalkeeper punches a defender in the head and wins a free-kick. Am I going mental? Is this... is this... what is this? How is that a free-kick to the goalkeeper? I'm confused. Things don't look the same anymore. Am I through the looking glass? Inside the machine? Only time will tell my friends. And at the moment, Tunisia are wasting that time. Khazri walks off the pitch slooooooooowwwwwwwwwly to be replaced by Khalifa. 8:41PM 83 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 The free-kick is high to the back post... and Tunisia win a throw. Can they improve on this in the final 10 minutes? They've hardly had the ball in the England final third. Tunisia vs England 8:39PM 81 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Dele Alli off, Loftus-Cheek on. He should help with moving the ball around the Tunisia half. Henderson is fouled 35 yards out. Tunisia have defended really well tonight. 8:39PM 80 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Urgh. Young's free-kick is dreadful. Over the bar, nowhere near. Poor. Etc. 8:37PM 78 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Alli goes for a one-two, gets wiped out, and it's a free-kick to England in BECKHAM TERRITORY! Young can hit these. 8:36PM 77 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Promising attack from England! Rashford moves into the box, fires it wide to Trippier. Blocked. Rashford joins in again, twists, turns, twists, turns, and passes back to Henderson who hits a high pass to the back post... and Kane's attempted volley pass to Lingard produces nothing. 8:34PM 75 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sliti is taken off, Ben Amor is on. He's more of a defensive midfielder than Sliti, who had a decent game tonight. Credit: AP The Tunisian goalkeeper Hassen is on the bench with his arm in a sling now. 8:32PM 73 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia have had to deal with pressure for the last 20 minutes or so but could now decide to use some energy taking the game to England. Sliti strides forward, the space opens up... he shoots! It's awful. Like swinging at the ball with a golf club. He punts into the air and it flies wide. 8:30PM 71 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have been lifted immediately! Alli gets in behind the defence and is one on one! But the goalkeeper is awake and quickly smothers. Alli is said to be offside anyway. He isn't. This referee has made some interesting decisions today. 8:28PM 70 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 First sub: Sterling off, Rashford on. Will he take this free-kick? It looks like Trippier and Young fancy it. Trippier takes it... and it's wide. Rashford is involved straight away! He carries the ball forward quickly and pokes it ahead of Kane... but a brilliant tackle by the defender takes it away from him. 8:26PM 68 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Possession: Tunisia vs England England have turned possession round even if they're not finding too many chances to really attack with it. Over the course of the game you'd probably say they've had the better of times. Tunisia vs England shots on goal England keep going backwards and sideways with their passing. Tunisia are defending with a low block and surrounding England players on the ball... and Kane has won a free-kick 25 yards out. 8:24PM 66 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson is forward now so Alli drops to the six position with Lingard deeper too. Walker carries the ball out, Pickford comes off his line to help with the passing, Young has to go backwards. The midfield are getting caught too high up the pitch and the passing is all going sideways. 8:23PM 64 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England are running a little low on ideas now and Martin Keown has suggested the heat in the stadium might be the cause. Here's a promising move though. Sterling on the left, Young doesn't read the backheel and then as soon as he touches the back of the defender, it's a free-kick to Tunisia. 8:22PM 62 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 This time no England players are thrown to the ground at the corner and Kane keeps the ball alive at the goal line. England keep up the pressure and then Sterling is... there's a free-kick. Sterling's holding the back of his marker's shirt. 8:19PM 60 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Good, patient passing from England in the final third. Kane can't get on the end of a cross from the right, Young tries an effort from the left, and Trippier then wins a corner after a brilliant long ball from Henderson finds him. Henderson's passing has been superb. 8:18PM 58 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Great running off the ball by Lingard. He spots Henderson is in danger of being overrun and drops back beside him to help the move. He doesn't get the ball but just being there gives security and an option to England. 8:15PM 56 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have Tunisia pinned back. It's a really high press and is making Tunisia work hard at the moment. Tunisia are so good with the ball though and manage to escape the first line of press. Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS In other news, a photographer has found a bat on the pitch. [Tyldesley] "But is there a Batman on the pitch? England could certainly do with one now!" [/Tyldesley] 8:12PM 54 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Ohhhhhhhh Khazri is in behind Maguire - who has been poor defensively tonight - and Pickford comes out his box to defend it! The referee blows for an offside (incorrectly) and ends the move. England get forward, Young's cross is cleared... England win a free-kick at halfway. 8:11PM 52 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Kane's been wrestled to the floor again. That's incredible. Honestly it's shocking - what is the VAR doing? This is infuriating to watch. England denied another huge shout at a penalty - if the player can't attack the ball because he's been thrown to the floor, surely it's a foul? Ah well. The corner doesn't end well for England because both Henderson and Kane have been taken out of the game. 8:09PM 50 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia seem calmer, more composed at the start of this half. Aaaand Meriah has passed straight out for a throw. Curse of the... live blogger. Tunisia moving the ball around really well here, England are having to work to cover the pitch and Tunisia are in the final third now. But Sterling's nipped in and the counter is on! Corner to England. 8:07PM 48 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia start well until a foul on Henderson gives England possession back. Sassi has a go at the referee for that decision too but it's a clear free-kick. England pass around the back for a while and Walker is on the right of the three centre-backs. Would there have been a penalty in the first half if Stones had been the central CB? 8:04PM KICK OFF 2 Dele Alli is OK to continue! He's back. Sterling is having to bat away about a million midges from his face. I realise it's hard to see them so I've highlighted the ones I can see easily in that photo. If you've ever been to Scotland in September, you will understand how annoying these things are. 8:03PM Just a friendly reminder That after a VAR review, this is not a penalty. Please remember that I am a neutral observer here. Anyway. Let's move on now, if we get another half as entertaining as that we'll all have a great time. 8:01PM England's xG is promising First half xG map for #Eng-#Tun good news: the football is coming home bad news: the football is a very dumb sport that no one likes pic.twitter.com/10Cvv5Mfj4— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) June 18, 2018 7:59PM England must improve their finishing Tunisia vs England shots on goal It's all very well creating the chances but England - obviously - have to take them. Sterling's miss was a dreadful effort as was Stones' scuffed volley attempt inside the box as Tunisia were scrambling. Oh and Lingard's too. They were all bad at it. 7:56PM This is an interesting decision He's literally thrown him to the ground. 7:54PM Rio Ferdinand blames Walker for the penalty "If Walker's body position was right there wouldn't be a penalty. A centre-half facing his own goal is criminal." 7:53PM Average shape Average touch positions (half time) It's all about the running from England's central midfielders. You can see how they all seem to be in central areas on that average position and it's really causing damage. One of Lingard, Alli, Kane or Sterling run from deep positions in behind the defenders and a ball over the top or down the wing puts them into situations where England can attack. Look how many touches they've had in the Tunisia box already: Tunisia vs England 7:49PM No flies on this one But there were before the game... That was really exciting. England created heaps of chances but as Alan Shearer has just said "at this level you have to score them". 7:48PM HALF TIME Oocha beasties. That was some half. England looked incredible for 20 minutes and then a bit of sloppiness and a silly foul has given their opponents a way back in. Sound familiar? 7:47PM 45 mins +2 - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson puts Pickford in a spot of bother but instead of staying calm, Pickford tries to launch the ball as many miles away as possible and ends up giving away a throw-in. England working their way forward in search of another goal before half time. Maaloul has had the ball hit off the side of his torso and has gone down howling. There's no way he's winded and Trippier goes across to find out what has actually happened to him. 7:44PM 45 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Maguire is England's most dangerous player at the moment! He heads a free-kick across the box and tees up Lingard for a sitter inside 12 yards. He fires over the bar. Awful. It turns out there's a deflection, so I withdraw my harsh criticism. The corner is gathered low by the goalkeeper in the second phase of the set piece. LINGARD IS IN AGAIN! Another pass over the top! One on one with the goalkeeper after a run from deep but his touch rolls agonisingly wide of the near post, hitting it instead of rolling in! So unlucky! 7:42PM 43 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 That shove on Kane in the penalty area is comical. I don't know what VAR are doing or whether I missed the seminar that first confirmed the collision of WWE and football into one super sport, but England should have a penalty. Happy to be proved wrong! 7:41PM 41 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England win another free-kick in the Tunisia half. It's too far away to shoot, Trippier will take... but it's not up to much. Alli chases into the corner and wins back... and now there's a Tunisia throw. Credit: REUTERS 7:40PM 39 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sterling wins a free-kick in the corner. Delph is getting ready to come on but Alli will be allowed to attack this free-kick first. Trippier hooks it in... and it's a panic in the box! Kane goes down in the area, it's headed across the box and onto the bar... Stones comes to swing a foot at it but gets it all wrong. Oh my god how is that not a penalty. Kane was literally thrown to the ground by his man-marker there. 7:37PM 37 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Well, well, well. Here we are. "You've got to be so careful in the modern game. I'm not sure I could play today!" says Keown. Maguire's made another mistake! Tunisia have three men, a man over... but the ball doesn't go right to him and is played left instead. Khazri slips... and the move is gone. Dele Alli is going to have to come off. 7:35PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL! TUNISIA HAVE EQUALISED! Goal: Tunisia ( 35 min ) Sassi steps up, does a little shimmy in his run up and slots it low and hard into the bottom left corner. Pickford is soooo close to it. 7:34PM PENALTY TO TUNISIA! Instant decision by the referee! The ball is hooked into the area and Walker whacks the forward in the face! VAR has reviewed it and it's a definite penalty... Walker is demonstrating he was putting his arms out wide like wings to work out his position. Card: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Kyle Walker, 33 min) Instead he's caught the striker in the face! 7:33PM 33 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Sterling drops to take a pass to feet, fires it out to Trippier and gets a return pass. The ball is moved to the box, crossed low into the area... but the defender blocks at the front corner of the six yard box. Dele Alli is clutching his thigh and doing a bunch of stretching. Walker has moved to the central centre-back position. 7:31PM 31 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Bronn has just gone absolutely nuts at the referee for daring to give a free-kick against him after rolling the ball up his arm like a basketball freestyler. I don't understand footballers sometimes. This is a great spot for a free-kick. Trippier chips it to the back post and MAGUIRE IS THERE! But the goalkeeper saves confidently. England keep up the high press and win possession back but Tunisia find a way to break. 7:28PM 29 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Great delivery by Khazri but it's headed away inside 10 yards. England survive! Tunisia seem a little braver now though and are starting to get on the ball and run with it. 7:27PM 27 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Pickford is quick off his line to close down a pass into space for Khazri. Maguire's been caught in possession though and suddenly Tunisia are all over them! The crowd gets excited and England panic! Maguire throws himself at the shot and deflects it behind. England completely switched off there. Poor. Tunisia corner. 7:24PM 24 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The corner is taken by Khazri but misses everyone in the box. Sliti chases, beats Alli to the ball and then fancies a shot himself from distance... but launches it miles away. The ball's somewhere in the crowd. Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Naim Sliti, 23 min) Kane finds Young on the left, Young cuts inside and chips to Lingard at the back post. Oh my word he's unmarked... the ball lands at his feet! He must score! Lingard misses! Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Jesse Lingard, 24 min) I hate the cliche but that seemed like he too much time and didn't know what to with himself. 7:22PM 22 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Credit: PA England are knocking the ball about beautifully and get men forward but Tunisia steal the ball and can break! But Young is quickly on the case and England win it back. I am so impressed by this performance so far. Martin Keown says "dare I say it, this is some of the best football we've seen at the tournament so far." But now Tunisia have found a way to attack and it is down the right wing. Bronn gets all the way to the box and wins a corner. He's meant to be a centre-back and Young hasn't dealt with it well, leaving his position. 7:20PM 20 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 It's like a 3-3-3-1 formation really, or it is when Sterling drops slightly deeper. Will Tunisia do as Nigeria did and copy the shape for the second half? Or immediately? Because they're really struggling. 7:19PM 18 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 England's shape is working really well. Henderson, who I've doubts about as a six, is holding it all together in the build-up play. He needs to keep this up all game long to ensure England's build up works from the back. England - honestly - are playing really well. This is a fantastic move now, there's loads of running off the ball, there are numbers in midfield... and Henderson has a chance to shoot from distance after Trippier's cross is missed by all. He forces a decent save from the new goalkeeper. 7:16PM 16 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 After a lengthy break, Pickford hoofs the ball up the pitch and England win the second ball. Tunisia press them high up the pitch and force a goal kick as Walker has to try and ping it away rather than keep up the short passes. 7:14PM 14 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The goalkeeper has gone down again. Poor guy. That save was awesome. The physios attend to him as the substitute goalie gets warmed-up. Hassen has to leave the pitch in tears, given kisses on the way by his taemmates. He's going to be replaced by Mustapha. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! ENGLAND HAVE SCORED! Stones absolutely batters a header at goal and the goalkeeper somehow claws it out of the net with an incredible, strong hand. He can only pass it to Kane though, who makes no mistake. Will the goal be given to Kane or Stones? I think it might have been over the line! Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Harry Kane, 11 min) 7:11PM 11 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 England win a corner as Kane finds space to take a shot from 20 yards. Young comes across to take it. 7:10PM 10 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 The crowd are cheering Tunisia's passing but as Martin Keown has jsut said "Oh they can definitely play". And as I type that a pass goes straight out for a throw. 7:08PM 8 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 What a start by England though. They look fired up and are moving really well. Hassen, the goalkeeper, still doesn't look happy with his... shoulder? Goalkeeping ability? The scenario he finds himself in? Something's up anyway. Ben Youssef.F has gone down holding his chin as Young puts his forearm into his face. I'm not sure that's intentional but it definitely hurt. Will the referee review it? Nope. He is safe to wound more with his deadly elbow. Beware, sweet Tunisians. 7:06PM 6 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 CHANCE FOR STERLING! Ooooohhhh he's missed an open goal. It's OK though, he's offisde. Well, Lingard is. Even though he's not. If that makes sense. Lingard is played in on goal, passes across the box and Sterling is at the back post but makes a total mess of things. The goalkeeper's down on the floor receiving treatment but I'm not sure why. They're trying to fix his arm... but he didn't touch anything with it. Is he just trying to calm this down? 7:03PM 4 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Great pass! Alli is in down the right! He's in the box after a brilliant pass by Henderson but the cross is blocked and it drops for LINGAAAARD - SAVED! Great save by the goalkeeper and it's a corner! Maguire comes up for the set piece and attacks the header... it's a free header, it bounces into the turf and the goalie scrambles to touch it away. Tunisia ball. 7:01PM 2 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Trippier tries a pass over the top into the right channel for Lingard but puts it out for a goal kick after England spend some time getting to know the ball. Tunisia build from the back... but Alli has stolen it in their half. Kane loses possession... but now the goalkeeper has passed out for a throw-in. He looks nervous. 7:00PM KICK OFF AAAAARGH IT'S FINALLY TIME! England get the game started! 6:58PM The referees Three are from Colombia and one is Costa Rican. 6:57PM Singing check I've checked every England player and each one is singing the national anthem. Well done. Passion wise... I have to say it's not great. All low register, no diaphragm, no great feel - I just don't believe it, you know? But maybe that's their style. 6:55PM National anthems 6:54PM Who's going to win? The players are coming out onto the pitch! Here we go! But there's time to put a bit of cash on it! And we even have some tips for you. Betting guide: prediction and tips for England v Tunisia 6:53PM Stay up to date We've got some great little bits for you to play with and keep you up to date during the tournament. I particularly recommend joining our Whatsapp group so you can get news, updates and analysis sent to your phone! World Cup whatsapp promo 6:49PM Paul Hayward in Russia "A distinct absence of royalty and government ministers on the VIP list in Volgograd, but English football is represented by Sol Campbell, David Gill and Lindsay Skoll, Britain's deputy ambassador in Moscow. And Arsene Wenger, an honorary Englishman." Credit: GETTY IMAGES 6:48PM The importance of England's wing-backs Another clever little bit of problem solving from Southgate has been addressing the lack of a left-winger - that other English tradition. Wing-backs are the solution and having them has ensured that central attacking midfielders like Alli, Sterling and Lingard can play in the same team without being shunted out into ineffective positions. If Nigeria had the ball on the right (in a recent friendly), Ashley Young pushed high up the left side of the pitch, if Nigeria were on the left, Kieran Trippier pushed forward. In possession, the player opposite the side the ball is on pushes high and wide to offer a switched pass. Here's Young doing exactly that: The full-back on the opposite side of the pitch to the ball pushes high to provide an outlet Credit: England ITV The shape becomes a 3-1-4-2 at times as the wing-backs join in attacks, stretching the pitch and opening up space for the central midfielders to run into or pass into. England in their attacking shape And because they are wing-backs rather than wingers, Young and Trippier must hold slightly deeper positions, meaning they are usually in place to either receive a switched pass, free to attack space at the back post or simply act as a means of stretching the pitch. England Ashley Young gif During attacks in the final third, this means England have a heap of different runners all moving into similar positions - something incredibly difficult to defend against. Here's an example of the different runs England made during a dangerous attack against Nigeria. Young is the player free on the left. England flood the box with multiple runners in attack Credit: England ITV Nigeria 6:46PM That England training shirt though Credit: FIFA I'm such a fan of this training top. And I'm Scottish. Can you imagine the confusion inside my brain? I'm saying this should be the actual England kit rather than the plain Jane one that they have. Credit: FIFA 6:45PM Gareth Southgate: "The time for talking's finished" Really looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to watching the players perform. We've got some really good characters in the starting team and the squad itself. It's not just about tonight, first of all there's three games to get through but we're looking forward to tonight's match. How will Tunisia approach this? Well if it's what we've seen probably 4-5-1, they were very well organised in their last game against Spain, they use the ball very well so its a threat. To win any game in a World Cup is difficult so we've got to be at our best. Who issues the rallying cry now? It's me! I've got to come up with something else, they don't like to do it. The time for talking's finished, we've got to perform tonight. 6:40PM Let's get pumped Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, Tunisia don't have quite as iconic a pop record to spur their players on. So in pursuit of balance, I will award them one of the greatest songs ever written: 6:35PM The stadium The BBC have just shown footage of England players spraying themselves with bug spray. There are a heap of flies causing them bother and weirdly, according to Patrice Evra earlier, it really is a hindrance. He played in a game with flies everywhere but they only filled one half. Matt Law has just sent me this: The flies are already annoying Raheem Sterling, who is trying to swat them away while he warms up. England's players have now got out the deet and are covering themselves in it to try to get rid of the flies. 6:31PM Frank Lampard on the rivalry at club level having an effect on England squads Lampard "We're so competitive that the idea of coming to be a team is not so simple as Argentina who come from all over the world." Alan Shearer "I don't agree cliques made a difference. Spain had Real Madrid and Barcelona." 6:30PM Rio Ferdinand on his past England managers "There was elements of some of the managers that we didn't like. Tactically we were very rigid under Cappello too, 4-4-2. Gerrard, Lampard, Hargreaves, Beckham, Scholes we payed 4-4-2 without any ability to move and be fluid. The buck stops with us as players." 6:28PM England are playing in red Credit: FIFA Tunisia get the white because they are technically the home team. Credit: FIFA 6:24PM Lampard on Southgate "He's played a blinder so far!" says Lampard of Southgate's job with England. Rio Ferdinand is impressed too: "It was totally different when we played. It was us vs the press, we hated them, they hated us. Gareth was in those squads and now he's totally changed it and integrated them" 6:22PM Tactics tactics tactics Here's me talking about some of England's tactics and the importance of the wing-backs tonight. 6:19PM Matt Law updates from the stadium "We are all covered in deet inside the Volgograd Arena, but it's not making much difference. The flies are everywhere!" Sounds... really annoying. In case you weren't sure, deet is insect repellent. 6:12PM Another nice England stat 248 - England's starting XI has a cumulative total of 248 caps between them; the lowest by an England starting XI in an international tournament since June 1962 (246 caps v Bulgaria). Fresh.#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/UrcT1fAoCC— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 6:11PM Who are Tunisia's key players? Youssef Msakni is Tunisia's star player, the main creator and the usual source of goals. He is injured and didn't make it to the World Cup, which is pretty sad. Without him, the job of creating scoring opportunities has to be shared by the rest of the team - but who's any good at that? The best player actually available... is probably Wahbi Khazri, who had a decent season on loan at Rennes but when he's played for Sunderland he has been less than impressive. Certainly whenever I've seen him play I haven't though 'wow what a player' and you know that's legit because I support Aberdeen. Most players make me do that. There really aren't any real standouts in the Tunisia team - they are strong as a unit but individually shouldn't cause too many problems. Traditionally England's problem has been the exact opposite. Let's see what happens! 6:05PM Southgate's unfamiliar team 9 - For their 9th successive World Cup tournament, England's starting XI in their opening game have never all previously started a England game together before. Unfamiliar.#WorldCup#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 Southgate must be fairly pleased with what he's seen in training for this to be the case! 6:03PM The Tunisia team I've finally managed to find the official Tunisia Twitter account. Here it is: ��⚪ OFFICIEL : Le 11 de départ de la Tunisie face à l'Angleterre : #TUNENG ������������������ #TUN#CM2018 Hassen- Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul - Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti- Badri, F.Ben Youssef, Khazri. pic.twitter.com/QVvLaAahhA— Tunisie Football (@tunisiefootball) June 18, 2018 Tunisia Hassen; Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul; Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti, Badri, F.Ben Youssef; Khazri 5:58PM Jason Burt on England's chances 5:54PM England fans 'outnumbered' England fans admit to feeling outnumbered by their Tunisian counterparts, but remain hopeful of a victory. 5:53PM Inside the stadium Credit: FIFA The players are out on the pitch having a look around. Credit: FIFA 5:49PM England's team England (3-5-2) Pickford; Stones, Walker, Maguire, Trippier, Young; Henderson, Alli, Lingard; Sterling, Kane. 5:48PM The team is in! Here it is: the #ThreeLions line-up for our opening game at the 2018 #WorldCup. pic.twitter.com/FNHUHn2vAk— England (@England) June 18, 2018 5:46PM Team news should be here very soon England Formation Builder In the meantime you can pick your own starting XI. It'll very likely be a 3-5-2, which looks like a 5-3-2 in defence and a 3-1-4-2 in attack. I'd have Kane and Sterling up front, Alli and... maybe Lingard as AMC and then Delph at six. Rose left, Walker right and Cahill, Stones... and someone else in defence. Maybe Walker actually. 5:43PM Fans making their way into the stadium Credit: GETTY IMAGES How will the players' nerves be just now? So often they fall apart mentally at these tournaments but with that lovely looking sky maybe they'll be all relaxed and chill. Our man Paul Hayward has written this: It's now or never for England - time to cure the World Cup chaos 5:37PM The bus is here HONK HONK HONK! [Tyldesley] "England have parked the bus successfully before the game, but will Tunisia do so during it?" [/Tyldesley] England have arrived #TSworldcup#threelionspic.twitter.com/k6EqWi3PUx— Nigel Adderley (@nadderley) June 18, 2018 5:36PM My favourite Tunisia fact It's where they filmed Tatooine scenes in Star Wars! [Puts on Clive Tyldesley hat] "But will England's players have the Force tonight?" [/Tyldesley] Top 10 | Countries to star in Star Wars 5:32PM Tunisia's World Cup record World Cup record: Tunisia It's not great. 5:29PM This is nice to see Tunisia and England fans making friends in Russia... �� pic.twitter.com/NhjptB4cUT— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 I can't confirm but I'd imagine I think I'm safe in assuming a few people in England may have already gathered in lovely pubs too. Is it worth going early to get a seat? Personally, I quite enjoy the thrill of standing up, mostly because it ensures you can't spill a table of drinks when you go bezerk if your team scores. 5:23PM Where is today's game? That would be the Volgograd Arena, which is in - you guessed it - Volgograd, Russia. World Cup 2018 stadium: Volgograd Arena In real life, it looks like this: Credit: PA A bit like the Colosseum, if it had been made by enormous metal spiders. Or as though the designer found it in a book of absent minded doodles he'd made during his boring real job. 5:18PM Meanwhile, in Group G Belgium are leading Panama after Dries Mertens' superb volley. You can read all about that over in Rob Bagchi's liveblog but come back for the England build-up. And Tunisia, of course. As for both teams' future rivals, I'd say Belgium don't look all that, and Panama are nowhere near as poor as some may have expected. For Belgium, imagine Wigan but with some much better players. The system has massive gaps and England - assuming they got off to a decent start - should be able to deal with both them and Panama comfortably. 5:11PM Jamie Carragher on Southgate Carragher on Southgate 5:05PM How will England approach this game? I spent ages before the World Cup kicked-off researching several teams' tactical approach to these finals. Here's my take on England. World Cup 2018 tactics: England's experimental phase and how Gareth Southgate can bring football home 5:00PM It's England in a World Cup! Hello everyone and welcome to our live coverage of England vs Tunisia, a massive first appearance of the 2018 World Cup for Gareth Southgate's band of merry men. And they do appear to be pretty happy this time - the tournament tactics have extended beyond what happens on the pitch. Nothing's been left to chance! But England are going to need luck if they are to go far. Tunisia might not have the calibre of player you'd normally see steaming around the Premier League but as a team they're very capable and actually really talented on the ball. Southgate has made it clear in all his pre-match chats on camera that Tunisia move the ball well and are technically proficient and by all accounts, England's players aren't underestimating them either. The hope will be, for England fans, that they can stay composed, enjoy the game and show off some of their own silky skills. Credit: AFP The big question though: are England any good? It's really hard to tell but as a neutral (Scottish...) I'd say they're a solid mid-level team on a par with someone like Denmark. There's a lack of composure and vision in midfield and it means creating chances has to be done in a different way. Southgate's solution to this issue has been to up the tempo of passing, get attacking midfielders in advanced central positions where they can dart around in space and with three central defenders, a defensive shield. They want to bypass the midfield and move the ball down the channels quickly, getting it into the box when in the final third and provide Harry Kane with ammunition to take a shot or two. He loves taking shots too. The team news will be in soon and then we'll find out exactly how Southgate is approaching this one. The players know the team. Let's hope it's a good one!
Player ratings: who performed and who didn't? England warned to expect tough approach from Panama ​ England vs Panama, World Cup 2018: When and where in Russia is the Group G match, what time does it start and what TV channel is it on? ​ Harry Kane said he might well score three like Cristiano Ronaldo. People tittered. Instead it was just the two for the England captain as he struck the goals to gain England a precious victory in their opening Group G fixture against an obdurate, organised and occasionally cynical Tunisia. It mattered in terms of perception as well as points. These were Kane’s first tournament goals and he, and England, are up and running. What a contribution from the captain. At times England wrestled with familiar failings. At times, Tunisia just wrestled and not least when it came to dealing with Kane who was dragged to the turf on at least two occasions inside the penalty area. The first probably was rightly not given, as John Stones already appeared to have committed a foul, but the second appeared a blatant penalty. Where was the video assistant referee (VAR)? After being overwhelmed at set-pieces early on the Tunisians resorted to grapple tactics which seemed to have hauled England down into a usual sense of stifling frustration especially in an increasingly drifting second-half. The Tunisians swarmed around England like the midges and mosquitoes that plagued this stadium on the banks of the River Volga and so irritated the players. Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) That was until injury-time when Harry Maguire, who was also being regularly man-handled, finally found some space to meet a corner and flick the ball towards the back-post where Kane had drifted free and headed home. Except it was not as simple as that. The forward could easily have sent the chance over the bar but he twisted his body, strained his neck and whipped it into the net in the tight space between goalkeeper and goal-frame. In fact both of Kane’s goals came from corners. Thankfully, unlike at Euro 2016, he was not tasked with taking them. Credit: GETTY IMAGES What a finish and what a finish to this match. In a city, formerly Stalingrad, where history hangs heavy, England had felt their own footballing history beginning to burden them once again after such a luminous start. Stay calm under pressure. Find a solution. They had been key messages from manager Gareth Southgate. And for once England eventually did just that. Southgate had urged England to attack the tournament, attack the World Cup. They did that also until adversity and errors struck. But they overcame them. They, hopefully, removed a mental block in doing so. How wonderful would that be? This result means that, for the first time in five tournaments, since 2006 in fact, England have won their opening game. Next up it is Panama and then Belgium and a last-16 place should now be in their grasp. The 2,000 England fans inside this stadium sang and sang at the final whistle. What a relief. There are issues. Defensively England remain far from assured with Ashley Young - whose place will be under threat from Danny Rose - and Maguire making some wrong decisions and the 3-5-2 under question while debate will re-open over the effectiveness of Raheem Sterling who appeared shorn of confidence after a woeful early miss and lasted barely an hour before being replaced by the far more effective Marcus Rashford while there was rich food for thought in the positive contribution of Ruben Loftus-Cheek who appears to have that bit of subtilty to unpick a packed defence. There were positives also with Kieran Trippier outstandingly creative down the right flank, Kane predatory and Jordan Henderson fully justifying his selection as the midfield anchor. Tunisia vs England shots on goal In terms of attacking intent, in terms of chances created the first-half was among England’s most impressive 45 minute periods for decades - even if it was eventually let down by defensive frailty and weak finishing. England will rage about the penalty they conceded but, even before then, they should have been out of sight. Tunisia vs England shots on goal They missed chance after chance after chance and scored just once, striking the frame of the goal twice. They had to be more ruthless and it seemed they would be just that as Kane scored on 11 minutes as Stones met Young’s corner with a superb leap, an even more superb header and goalkeeper Mouez Hassen somehow clawed it out. Unfortunately for him it dropped to Kane who side-foot volleyed into the net from close-range. Before that Hassen had kept Tunisia in it as he did well to divert Jesse Lingard’s deflected shot away for a corner. Even so Lingard had to score and had to score when he then miscued a volley into the side-netting. Sterling, also, had to score but scuffed wide the goal beckoning while after conceding Hassen could not carry on, having already hurt his shoulder, and departed in tears. The goalkeeper had also denied Maguire, clawing away his header. Credit: GETTY IMAGES The concern began to creep and England were caught out with Kyle Walker, foolishly, throwing his arm back as he contested a cross and catching Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face. The forward went down, claiming the offence and the Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the penalty spot. Ferjani Sassi took seven steps back, strolled up and stroked his right footed shot into the corner of the goal. Jordan Pickford guessed right, got a finger tip to the ball but was beaten. It was coolly executed. A sassy penalty by Sassi. England vs Tunisia Player ratings Again focus had been lost by England. But they summoned a response with Maguire’s header headed out from on the goal-line and onto the bar. The rebound fell to Stones but he snatched at it and the ball rolled wide before Trippier cleverly set Lingard through and although he flicked his shot past substitute goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha it struck the outside of the post. England were inexperienced of course, with nine players making their World Cup debuts, and maybe it began to show as Tunisia defended ever deeper and were determined to hold on by any means they could. Time was running out but that was until Kane intervened. Ronaldo had scored those three goals for Portugal against Spain last week and Kane said he fancied vying for 'The Golden Boot' as the World Cup top-scorer. Good for him. Good for England. 10:45PM Harry Maguire reaction Huge win. What a feeling �������������������� @Englandpic.twitter.com/nF6XWXpaGi— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 18, 2018 10:31PM Sam Wallace on Gareth Southgate Of everything Southgate has done with this England team - encouraging them to take risks, to ignore the usual fears and hang-ups - his autumn change to a 3-5-2 formation once qualification was over was fundamental to the whole plan. Read more in Sam Wallace's article here. 10:31PM To be honest, I'm not surprised Interesting stat after #TUNENG. Second lowest of all games so far, for Actual Playing Time. Just 49'38". pic.twitter.com/xRZWwv6vC1— Alex Stone (@AlexStone7) June 18, 2018 9:39PM Kane scored two goals despite eating midges "There were a lot more than we thought. We had a lot of bug spray on, before the game, and at half-time. I got some (flies) in the eye, some in my mouth." Bluuuuuurgh. 9:38PM Great news I am. https://t.co/5V9Xf7uidT— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) June 18, 2018 9:37PM Reaction Harry Kane meanwhile did what everyone kept telling him he needs to do: kept his nerve, saved his team, made a statement to the other leading strikers out here.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 18, 2018 THE LIMBS. LOOK AT THE LIMBS. CANCEL CLUB FOOTBALL LETS DO THIS 365 DAYS A YEAR https://t.co/KcQShfn63D— Eli (@ElMengem) June 18, 2018 "I know the pubs would have been erupting back home. I was that kid watching in the pubs before, I know what that's like" Hero @HKane sums up what it means to score the winner Watch the World Cup LIVE on @ITV#ENG#TUNENG#ThreeLionspic.twitter.com/gpESSQ9fUk— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 18, 2018 9:33PM A bit of analysis Fascinating match. I've not seen an England team so confident, calm in possession and adept at building play from the back who don't also revert to type in the final few moments and throw on 18 strikers to hump the ball long to. Southgate's team built from the back and stayed patient. It moves the opposition around, makes them work hard and as soon as Rashford and Loftus-Cheek injected a bit of forward-thinking and pace to that second half, the movement and forward passing really caused problems. The other thing to commend Southgate for is his clear focus on set pieces. Maguire was brilliant as a target in the box and had it not been for the intervening hands and wrestling skills of Tunisia's defence, England would probably have scored more. Henderson was superb as a six, holding the line between the wing-backs during build-up and rarely roaming from his position. On the times he did attack, Alli and Lingard knew to watch the midfield and dropped back to maintain the shape. This is a well drilled, organised and disciplined England and the benefit of that is the forwards can have way more fun, able to rely on a solid base further back. 9:25PM Kane with his MOTM trophy Credit: FIFA I'm pretty sure there's no beer inside it. 9:23PM What a find this is 1: John Barnes vs Ireland in 1990 2: Harry Maguire vs Tunisia There's only one way to beat them Get round the back pic.twitter.com/mTTLwlxLE3— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 18, 2018 9:22PM England fans going nuts England fans going nuts after Harry Kane’s late goal! #ENG#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/vltfWN7Wc0— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 9:21PM Kyle Walker I think the entire squad is going to a press interview at this rate. Here's Walker: "It shows the work we've put in, believing in ourselves, the system, got the goal which always feels better in the later stages. "I think in the Premier League probably would have got away with it. Trips gave us a shout to leave it so I just tried to shield the ball. "We created a lot of chances but we're not the finished article. There's two more important games we need to go and pick up points now. "I'm not a big talker, I know everyone likes to have their own thoughts but I said I'll run. "It's good. It's a pat on the back for us but there's two important games. We just prepare well and hopefully the points will come." 9:17PM Southgate says "I think the way we kept playing even though the clock was running down, we waited for good opportunities and I think we deserved the win. We had total control of the game second half, strong on set plays all night. Even had we drawn, which would have made life difficult, I would have been proud of the performance. "We'll do well to make as many chances in a game in this tournament. The movement, the control from the back with the ball. Good teams score goals and [keeping the ball helped tire Tunisia]. "The squad have been brilliant, the team selection was so difficult and to bring the substitutes on and them make the impact they did, everyone's worked so hard to come together. "We've given ourselves a great platform to build from, in particular the level of performance but there's a lot of work to do still. Panama will be a tough test in a different way. We can enjoy tonight, I hope everyone at home enjoys tonight. "He's a top, top striker and I'm delighted for him. It's great we've got him in the team, he took his goals very well." 9:11PM Harry Maguire with less of a 'by numbers' interview "We thought the penalty was a bit soft. "We stuck to our shape and knew we'd get the next goal. "It was tough out there, really warm, started well but missed clearcut chances which you don't get at this level very often. "We knew we'd get more but they changed the shape to match us to a three, more like a five. "It was as much a penalty as what they got. He's always going to get that chance, he's going to be a huge player for us. "There were a couple of nervy passes in the first. It's a big occasion, my first game at this high pressure, you've got to focus, concentrate and I felt I grew into the game. "It's a massive three points but it's only three points and we've got another big game coming up." 9:07PM Player ratings Who stood out for you? Here's our verdict: England vs Tunisia Player ratings 9:06PM Matt Law's verdict England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? 9:06PM Jordan Henderson says "I thought we kept going. It paid off tonight with a big win. "I still felt positive, we wanted to get the game going again. We didn't maybe we were thinking about the chances we missed, in the World Cup you've got to keep going. In the second half we did that, kept fighting, didn't play as well but they defended deeper, a lot better as well. "We said you can be friends off the field but on the field you're fighting your mate next to you, for each other. For the whole process we've said keep going to the final whistle and think that showed tonight." 9:03PM Alan Shearer says "I would love one of the VAR people to come out and explain that. They told us before the start they were going to keep an eye on that." 9:02PM This is how many chances it took England to win that Tunisia vs England shots on goal 9:01PM Harry Kane post-match "I thought we played really well, could have scored a few more, credit to the lads we kept going, got to the last second and we're absolutely buzzing. "We spoke a lot about togetherness, we've got a great bond off the pitch which is nice. "I think a few corners we had so much joy from corners, they were trying to stop us and hold us, that's football, that's the ref and it shows good character to do what we've done. "I'm really proud. We've done a lot of work, it was tough, we got the nerves and excitement out the way. I'm so proud." 8:59PM The goal in pictures Credit: AP Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: PA 8:57PM Tunisia players leave the pitch in tears The coaching staff get on the pitch and console an absolutely gutted team of Tunisians. They were so close to a point that could have given real hope of qualification there. Belgium didn't look too special earlier today so there is a chance but it's probably fair to write off Panama at this stage. 8:54PM What a time to win it "Release!" is Martin Keown's rather-too-much information feeling at the final whistle. England showed real character to stay in that one, drawing that would have been a very pre-2018 England thing to do. 8:53PM FULL TIME That's it! England win and it's deserved. Two goals from Harry Kane seal the three points in a hard-fought win over a tricky Tunisia side. 8:52PM 90 mins +3 - England 2 Tunisia 1 Lingard off, Dier off. Southgate is delighted, he was bouncing along the touchline when that goal went in. Interesting that Tunisia decided not to pick up Kane and put him on the floor this time. 8:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! IT'S HARRY KANE! Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) The corner is brilliant! Maguire heads it on and Kane is at hte back post - unmarked! Nobody hauls him to the ground this time and he turns the header into the goal from a few yards. It's a brilliant finish! 8:49PM 90 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 It's still all England. They do really well to pass to half way... and then run out of ideas. Or have they? Maaaaaybe. Loftus-Cheek wins a corner. Four minutes of added time to come. 8:48PM 89 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Loftus-Cheek has done well since coming on. He's in the box, turns his man and has options in the six yard box! He pulls it across goal and Rashford can shoot - but he leaves it! Lingard misses his kick. Rashford reacts furiously - he must have been given a shout to leave it. Dreadful call by Lingard if that is the case - he was surrounded. Loftus-Cheek turns his man, gets to the goal line... and overruns it. Goal kick. Martin Keown has suggested England have "under estimated the heat". A perilous situation indeed. 8:46PM 87 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Trippier hits a cross into the box, it's cleared by the first man. Loftus-Cheek goes on a nice run but none of his striker friends seem to read it. Tunisia are caught offside. 8:44PM 85 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 I hate to say it but Rashford has done more in the last five minutes than Sterling did for most of the game. He's won a corner now. OK. So. Here we have a thing. The goalkeeper has come to attack the corner and has literally punched John Stones in the head. The referee has given a free-kick to Tunisia. The goalkeeper punches a defender in the head and wins a free-kick. Am I going mental? Is this... is this... what is this? How is that a free-kick to the goalkeeper? I'm confused. Things don't look the same anymore. Am I through the looking glass? Inside the machine? Only time will tell my friends. And at the moment, Tunisia are wasting that time. Khazri walks off the pitch slooooooooowwwwwwwwwly to be replaced by Khalifa. 8:41PM 83 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 The free-kick is high to the back post... and Tunisia win a throw. Can they improve on this in the final 10 minutes? They've hardly had the ball in the England final third. Tunisia vs England 8:39PM 81 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Dele Alli off, Loftus-Cheek on. He should help with moving the ball around the Tunisia half. Henderson is fouled 35 yards out. Tunisia have defended really well tonight. 8:39PM 80 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Urgh. Young's free-kick is dreadful. Over the bar, nowhere near. Poor. Etc. 8:37PM 78 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Alli goes for a one-two, gets wiped out, and it's a free-kick to England in BECKHAM TERRITORY! Young can hit these. 8:36PM 77 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Promising attack from England! Rashford moves into the box, fires it wide to Trippier. Blocked. Rashford joins in again, twists, turns, twists, turns, and passes back to Henderson who hits a high pass to the back post... and Kane's attempted volley pass to Lingard produces nothing. 8:34PM 75 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sliti is taken off, Ben Amor is on. He's more of a defensive midfielder than Sliti, who had a decent game tonight. Credit: AP The Tunisian goalkeeper Hassen is on the bench with his arm in a sling now. 8:32PM 73 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia have had to deal with pressure for the last 20 minutes or so but could now decide to use some energy taking the game to England. Sliti strides forward, the space opens up... he shoots! It's awful. Like swinging at the ball with a golf club. He punts into the air and it flies wide. 8:30PM 71 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have been lifted immediately! Alli gets in behind the defence and is one on one! But the goalkeeper is awake and quickly smothers. Alli is said to be offside anyway. He isn't. This referee has made some interesting decisions today. 8:28PM 70 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 First sub: Sterling off, Rashford on. Will he take this free-kick? It looks like Trippier and Young fancy it. Trippier takes it... and it's wide. Rashford is involved straight away! He carries the ball forward quickly and pokes it ahead of Kane... but a brilliant tackle by the defender takes it away from him. 8:26PM 68 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Possession: Tunisia vs England England have turned possession round even if they're not finding too many chances to really attack with it. Over the course of the game you'd probably say they've had the better of times. Tunisia vs England shots on goal England keep going backwards and sideways with their passing. Tunisia are defending with a low block and surrounding England players on the ball... and Kane has won a free-kick 25 yards out. 8:24PM 66 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson is forward now so Alli drops to the six position with Lingard deeper too. Walker carries the ball out, Pickford comes off his line to help with the passing, Young has to go backwards. The midfield are getting caught too high up the pitch and the passing is all going sideways. 8:23PM 64 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England are running a little low on ideas now and Martin Keown has suggested the heat in the stadium might be the cause. Here's a promising move though. Sterling on the left, Young doesn't read the backheel and then as soon as he touches the back of the defender, it's a free-kick to Tunisia. 8:22PM 62 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 This time no England players are thrown to the ground at the corner and Kane keeps the ball alive at the goal line. England keep up the pressure and then Sterling is... there's a free-kick. Sterling's holding the back of his marker's shirt. 8:19PM 60 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Good, patient passing from England in the final third. Kane can't get on the end of a cross from the right, Young tries an effort from the left, and Trippier then wins a corner after a brilliant long ball from Henderson finds him. Henderson's passing has been superb. 8:18PM 58 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Great running off the ball by Lingard. He spots Henderson is in danger of being overrun and drops back beside him to help the move. He doesn't get the ball but just being there gives security and an option to England. 8:15PM 56 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have Tunisia pinned back. It's a really high press and is making Tunisia work hard at the moment. Tunisia are so good with the ball though and manage to escape the first line of press. Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS In other news, a photographer has found a bat on the pitch. [Tyldesley] "But is there a Batman on the pitch? England could certainly do with one now!" [/Tyldesley] 8:12PM 54 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Ohhhhhhhh Khazri is in behind Maguire - who has been poor defensively tonight - and Pickford comes out his box to defend it! The referee blows for an offside (incorrectly) and ends the move. England get forward, Young's cross is cleared... England win a free-kick at halfway. 8:11PM 52 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Kane's been wrestled to the floor again. That's incredible. Honestly it's shocking - what is the VAR doing? This is infuriating to watch. England denied another huge shout at a penalty - if the player can't attack the ball because he's been thrown to the floor, surely it's a foul? Ah well. The corner doesn't end well for England because both Henderson and Kane have been taken out of the game. 8:09PM 50 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia seem calmer, more composed at the start of this half. Aaaand Meriah has passed straight out for a throw. Curse of the... live blogger. Tunisia moving the ball around really well here, England are having to work to cover the pitch and Tunisia are in the final third now. But Sterling's nipped in and the counter is on! Corner to England. 8:07PM 48 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia start well until a foul on Henderson gives England possession back. Sassi has a go at the referee for that decision too but it's a clear free-kick. England pass around the back for a while and Walker is on the right of the three centre-backs. Would there have been a penalty in the first half if Stones had been the central CB? 8:04PM KICK OFF 2 Dele Alli is OK to continue! He's back. Sterling is having to bat away about a million midges from his face. I realise it's hard to see them so I've highlighted the ones I can see easily in that photo. If you've ever been to Scotland in September, you will understand how annoying these things are. 8:03PM Just a friendly reminder That after a VAR review, this is not a penalty. Please remember that I am a neutral observer here. Anyway. Let's move on now, if we get another half as entertaining as that we'll all have a great time. 8:01PM England's xG is promising First half xG map for #Eng-#Tun good news: the football is coming home bad news: the football is a very dumb sport that no one likes pic.twitter.com/10Cvv5Mfj4— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) June 18, 2018 7:59PM England must improve their finishing Tunisia vs England shots on goal It's all very well creating the chances but England - obviously - have to take them. Sterling's miss was a dreadful effort as was Stones' scuffed volley attempt inside the box as Tunisia were scrambling. Oh and Lingard's too. They were all bad at it. 7:56PM This is an interesting decision He's literally thrown him to the ground. 7:54PM Rio Ferdinand blames Walker for the penalty "If Walker's body position was right there wouldn't be a penalty. A centre-half facing his own goal is criminal." 7:53PM Average shape Average touch positions (half time) It's all about the running from England's central midfielders. You can see how they all seem to be in central areas on that average position and it's really causing damage. One of Lingard, Alli, Kane or Sterling run from deep positions in behind the defenders and a ball over the top or down the wing puts them into situations where England can attack. Look how many touches they've had in the Tunisia box already: Tunisia vs England 7:49PM No flies on this one But there were before the game... That was really exciting. England created heaps of chances but as Alan Shearer has just said "at this level you have to score them". 7:48PM HALF TIME Oocha beasties. That was some half. England looked incredible for 20 minutes and then a bit of sloppiness and a silly foul has given their opponents a way back in. Sound familiar? 7:47PM 45 mins +2 - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson puts Pickford in a spot of bother but instead of staying calm, Pickford tries to launch the ball as many miles away as possible and ends up giving away a throw-in. England working their way forward in search of another goal before half time. Maaloul has had the ball hit off the side of his torso and has gone down howling. There's no way he's winded and Trippier goes across to find out what has actually happened to him. 7:44PM 45 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Maguire is England's most dangerous player at the moment! He heads a free-kick across the box and tees up Lingard for a sitter inside 12 yards. He fires over the bar. Awful. It turns out there's a deflection, so I withdraw my harsh criticism. The corner is gathered low by the goalkeeper in the second phase of the set piece. LINGARD IS IN AGAIN! Another pass over the top! One on one with the goalkeeper after a run from deep but his touch rolls agonisingly wide of the near post, hitting it instead of rolling in! So unlucky! 7:42PM 43 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 That shove on Kane in the penalty area is comical. I don't know what VAR are doing or whether I missed the seminar that first confirmed the collision of WWE and football into one super sport, but England should have a penalty. Happy to be proved wrong! 7:41PM 41 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England win another free-kick in the Tunisia half. It's too far away to shoot, Trippier will take... but it's not up to much. Alli chases into the corner and wins back... and now there's a Tunisia throw. Credit: REUTERS 7:40PM 39 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sterling wins a free-kick in the corner. Delph is getting ready to come on but Alli will be allowed to attack this free-kick first. Trippier hooks it in... and it's a panic in the box! Kane goes down in the area, it's headed across the box and onto the bar... Stones comes to swing a foot at it but gets it all wrong. Oh my god how is that not a penalty. Kane was literally thrown to the ground by his man-marker there. 7:37PM 37 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Well, well, well. Here we are. "You've got to be so careful in the modern game. I'm not sure I could play today!" says Keown. Maguire's made another mistake! Tunisia have three men, a man over... but the ball doesn't go right to him and is played left instead. Khazri slips... and the move is gone. Dele Alli is going to have to come off. 7:35PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL! TUNISIA HAVE EQUALISED! Goal: Tunisia ( 35 min ) Sassi steps up, does a little shimmy in his run up and slots it low and hard into the bottom left corner. Pickford is soooo close to it. 7:34PM PENALTY TO TUNISIA! Instant decision by the referee! The ball is hooked into the area and Walker whacks the forward in the face! VAR has reviewed it and it's a definite penalty... Walker is demonstrating he was putting his arms out wide like wings to work out his position. Card: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Kyle Walker, 33 min) Instead he's caught the striker in the face! 7:33PM 33 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Sterling drops to take a pass to feet, fires it out to Trippier and gets a return pass. The ball is moved to the box, crossed low into the area... but the defender blocks at the front corner of the six yard box. Dele Alli is clutching his thigh and doing a bunch of stretching. Walker has moved to the central centre-back position. 7:31PM 31 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Bronn has just gone absolutely nuts at the referee for daring to give a free-kick against him after rolling the ball up his arm like a basketball freestyler. I don't understand footballers sometimes. This is a great spot for a free-kick. Trippier chips it to the back post and MAGUIRE IS THERE! But the goalkeeper saves confidently. England keep up the high press and win possession back but Tunisia find a way to break. 7:28PM 29 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Great delivery by Khazri but it's headed away inside 10 yards. England survive! Tunisia seem a little braver now though and are starting to get on the ball and run with it. 7:27PM 27 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Pickford is quick off his line to close down a pass into space for Khazri. Maguire's been caught in possession though and suddenly Tunisia are all over them! The crowd gets excited and England panic! Maguire throws himself at the shot and deflects it behind. England completely switched off there. Poor. Tunisia corner. 7:24PM 24 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The corner is taken by Khazri but misses everyone in the box. Sliti chases, beats Alli to the ball and then fancies a shot himself from distance... but launches it miles away. The ball's somewhere in the crowd. Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Naim Sliti, 23 min) Kane finds Young on the left, Young cuts inside and chips to Lingard at the back post. Oh my word he's unmarked... the ball lands at his feet! He must score! Lingard misses! Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Jesse Lingard, 24 min) I hate the cliche but that seemed like he too much time and didn't know what to with himself. 7:22PM 22 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Credit: PA England are knocking the ball about beautifully and get men forward but Tunisia steal the ball and can break! But Young is quickly on the case and England win it back. I am so impressed by this performance so far. Martin Keown says "dare I say it, this is some of the best football we've seen at the tournament so far." But now Tunisia have found a way to attack and it is down the right wing. Bronn gets all the way to the box and wins a corner. He's meant to be a centre-back and Young hasn't dealt with it well, leaving his position. 7:20PM 20 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 It's like a 3-3-3-1 formation really, or it is when Sterling drops slightly deeper. Will Tunisia do as Nigeria did and copy the shape for the second half? Or immediately? Because they're really struggling. 7:19PM 18 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 England's shape is working really well. Henderson, who I've doubts about as a six, is holding it all together in the build-up play. He needs to keep this up all game long to ensure England's build up works from the back. England - honestly - are playing really well. This is a fantastic move now, there's loads of running off the ball, there are numbers in midfield... and Henderson has a chance to shoot from distance after Trippier's cross is missed by all. He forces a decent save from the new goalkeeper. 7:16PM 16 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 After a lengthy break, Pickford hoofs the ball up the pitch and England win the second ball. Tunisia press them high up the pitch and force a goal kick as Walker has to try and ping it away rather than keep up the short passes. 7:14PM 14 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The goalkeeper has gone down again. Poor guy. That save was awesome. The physios attend to him as the substitute goalie gets warmed-up. Hassen has to leave the pitch in tears, given kisses on the way by his taemmates. He's going to be replaced by Mustapha. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! ENGLAND HAVE SCORED! Stones absolutely batters a header at goal and the goalkeeper somehow claws it out of the net with an incredible, strong hand. He can only pass it to Kane though, who makes no mistake. Will the goal be given to Kane or Stones? I think it might have been over the line! Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Harry Kane, 11 min) 7:11PM 11 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 England win a corner as Kane finds space to take a shot from 20 yards. Young comes across to take it. 7:10PM 10 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 The crowd are cheering Tunisia's passing but as Martin Keown has jsut said "Oh they can definitely play". And as I type that a pass goes straight out for a throw. 7:08PM 8 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 What a start by England though. They look fired up and are moving really well. Hassen, the goalkeeper, still doesn't look happy with his... shoulder? Goalkeeping ability? The scenario he finds himself in? Something's up anyway. Ben Youssef.F has gone down holding his chin as Young puts his forearm into his face. I'm not sure that's intentional but it definitely hurt. Will the referee review it? Nope. He is safe to wound more with his deadly elbow. Beware, sweet Tunisians. 7:06PM 6 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 CHANCE FOR STERLING! Ooooohhhh he's missed an open goal. It's OK though, he's offisde. Well, Lingard is. Even though he's not. If that makes sense. Lingard is played in on goal, passes across the box and Sterling is at the back post but makes a total mess of things. The goalkeeper's down on the floor receiving treatment but I'm not sure why. They're trying to fix his arm... but he didn't touch anything with it. Is he just trying to calm this down? 7:03PM 4 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Great pass! Alli is in down the right! He's in the box after a brilliant pass by Henderson but the cross is blocked and it drops for LINGAAAARD - SAVED! Great save by the goalkeeper and it's a corner! Maguire comes up for the set piece and attacks the header... it's a free header, it bounces into the turf and the goalie scrambles to touch it away. Tunisia ball. 7:01PM 2 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Trippier tries a pass over the top into the right channel for Lingard but puts it out for a goal kick after England spend some time getting to know the ball. Tunisia build from the back... but Alli has stolen it in their half. Kane loses possession... but now the goalkeeper has passed out for a throw-in. He looks nervous. 7:00PM KICK OFF AAAAARGH IT'S FINALLY TIME! England get the game started! 6:58PM The referees Three are from Colombia and one is Costa Rican. 6:57PM Singing check I've checked every England player and each one is singing the national anthem. Well done. Passion wise... I have to say it's not great. All low register, no diaphragm, no great feel - I just don't believe it, you know? But maybe that's their style. 6:55PM National anthems 6:54PM Who's going to win? The players are coming out onto the pitch! Here we go! But there's time to put a bit of cash on it! And we even have some tips for you. Betting guide: prediction and tips for England v Tunisia 6:53PM Stay up to date We've got some great little bits for you to play with and keep you up to date during the tournament. I particularly recommend joining our Whatsapp group so you can get news, updates and analysis sent to your phone! World Cup whatsapp promo 6:49PM Paul Hayward in Russia "A distinct absence of royalty and government ministers on the VIP list in Volgograd, but English football is represented by Sol Campbell, David Gill and Lindsay Skoll, Britain's deputy ambassador in Moscow. And Arsene Wenger, an honorary Englishman." Credit: GETTY IMAGES 6:48PM The importance of England's wing-backs Another clever little bit of problem solving from Southgate has been addressing the lack of a left-winger - that other English tradition. Wing-backs are the solution and having them has ensured that central attacking midfielders like Alli, Sterling and Lingard can play in the same team without being shunted out into ineffective positions. If Nigeria had the ball on the right (in a recent friendly), Ashley Young pushed high up the left side of the pitch, if Nigeria were on the left, Kieran Trippier pushed forward. In possession, the player opposite the side the ball is on pushes high and wide to offer a switched pass. Here's Young doing exactly that: The full-back on the opposite side of the pitch to the ball pushes high to provide an outlet Credit: England ITV The shape becomes a 3-1-4-2 at times as the wing-backs join in attacks, stretching the pitch and opening up space for the central midfielders to run into or pass into. England in their attacking shape And because they are wing-backs rather than wingers, Young and Trippier must hold slightly deeper positions, meaning they are usually in place to either receive a switched pass, free to attack space at the back post or simply act as a means of stretching the pitch. England Ashley Young gif During attacks in the final third, this means England have a heap of different runners all moving into similar positions - something incredibly difficult to defend against. Here's an example of the different runs England made during a dangerous attack against Nigeria. Young is the player free on the left. England flood the box with multiple runners in attack Credit: England ITV Nigeria 6:46PM That England training shirt though Credit: FIFA I'm such a fan of this training top. And I'm Scottish. Can you imagine the confusion inside my brain? I'm saying this should be the actual England kit rather than the plain Jane one that they have. Credit: FIFA 6:45PM Gareth Southgate: "The time for talking's finished" Really looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to watching the players perform. We've got some really good characters in the starting team and the squad itself. It's not just about tonight, first of all there's three games to get through but we're looking forward to tonight's match. How will Tunisia approach this? Well if it's what we've seen probably 4-5-1, they were very well organised in their last game against Spain, they use the ball very well so its a threat. To win any game in a World Cup is difficult so we've got to be at our best. Who issues the rallying cry now? It's me! I've got to come up with something else, they don't like to do it. The time for talking's finished, we've got to perform tonight. 6:40PM Let's get pumped Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, Tunisia don't have quite as iconic a pop record to spur their players on. So in pursuit of balance, I will award them one of the greatest songs ever written: 6:35PM The stadium The BBC have just shown footage of England players spraying themselves with bug spray. There are a heap of flies causing them bother and weirdly, according to Patrice Evra earlier, it really is a hindrance. He played in a game with flies everywhere but they only filled one half. Matt Law has just sent me this: The flies are already annoying Raheem Sterling, who is trying to swat them away while he warms up. England's players have now got out the deet and are covering themselves in it to try to get rid of the flies. 6:31PM Frank Lampard on the rivalry at club level having an effect on England squads Lampard "We're so competitive that the idea of coming to be a team is not so simple as Argentina who come from all over the world." Alan Shearer "I don't agree cliques made a difference. Spain had Real Madrid and Barcelona." 6:30PM Rio Ferdinand on his past England managers "There was elements of some of the managers that we didn't like. Tactically we were very rigid under Cappello too, 4-4-2. Gerrard, Lampard, Hargreaves, Beckham, Scholes we payed 4-4-2 without any ability to move and be fluid. The buck stops with us as players." 6:28PM England are playing in red Credit: FIFA Tunisia get the white because they are technically the home team. Credit: FIFA 6:24PM Lampard on Southgate "He's played a blinder so far!" says Lampard of Southgate's job with England. Rio Ferdinand is impressed too: "It was totally different when we played. It was us vs the press, we hated them, they hated us. Gareth was in those squads and now he's totally changed it and integrated them" 6:22PM Tactics tactics tactics Here's me talking about some of England's tactics and the importance of the wing-backs tonight. 6:19PM Matt Law updates from the stadium "We are all covered in deet inside the Volgograd Arena, but it's not making much difference. The flies are everywhere!" Sounds... really annoying. In case you weren't sure, deet is insect repellent. 6:12PM Another nice England stat 248 - England's starting XI has a cumulative total of 248 caps between them; the lowest by an England starting XI in an international tournament since June 1962 (246 caps v Bulgaria). Fresh.#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/UrcT1fAoCC— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 6:11PM Who are Tunisia's key players? Youssef Msakni is Tunisia's star player, the main creator and the usual source of goals. He is injured and didn't make it to the World Cup, which is pretty sad. Without him, the job of creating scoring opportunities has to be shared by the rest of the team - but who's any good at that? The best player actually available... is probably Wahbi Khazri, who had a decent season on loan at Rennes but when he's played for Sunderland he has been less than impressive. Certainly whenever I've seen him play I haven't though 'wow what a player' and you know that's legit because I support Aberdeen. Most players make me do that. There really aren't any real standouts in the Tunisia team - they are strong as a unit but individually shouldn't cause too many problems. Traditionally England's problem has been the exact opposite. Let's see what happens! 6:05PM Southgate's unfamiliar team 9 - For their 9th successive World Cup tournament, England's starting XI in their opening game have never all previously started a England game together before. Unfamiliar.#WorldCup#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 Southgate must be fairly pleased with what he's seen in training for this to be the case! 6:03PM The Tunisia team I've finally managed to find the official Tunisia Twitter account. Here it is: ��⚪ OFFICIEL : Le 11 de départ de la Tunisie face à l'Angleterre : #TUNENG ������������������ #TUN#CM2018 Hassen- Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul - Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti- Badri, F.Ben Youssef, Khazri. pic.twitter.com/QVvLaAahhA— Tunisie Football (@tunisiefootball) June 18, 2018 Tunisia Hassen; Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul; Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti, Badri, F.Ben Youssef; Khazri 5:58PM Jason Burt on England's chances 5:54PM England fans 'outnumbered' England fans admit to feeling outnumbered by their Tunisian counterparts, but remain hopeful of a victory. 5:53PM Inside the stadium Credit: FIFA The players are out on the pitch having a look around. Credit: FIFA 5:49PM England's team England (3-5-2) Pickford; Stones, Walker, Maguire, Trippier, Young; Henderson, Alli, Lingard; Sterling, Kane. 5:48PM The team is in! Here it is: the #ThreeLions line-up for our opening game at the 2018 #WorldCup. pic.twitter.com/FNHUHn2vAk— England (@England) June 18, 2018 5:46PM Team news should be here very soon England Formation Builder In the meantime you can pick your own starting XI. It'll very likely be a 3-5-2, which looks like a 5-3-2 in defence and a 3-1-4-2 in attack. I'd have Kane and Sterling up front, Alli and... maybe Lingard as AMC and then Delph at six. Rose left, Walker right and Cahill, Stones... and someone else in defence. Maybe Walker actually. 5:43PM Fans making their way into the stadium Credit: GETTY IMAGES How will the players' nerves be just now? So often they fall apart mentally at these tournaments but with that lovely looking sky maybe they'll be all relaxed and chill. Our man Paul Hayward has written this: It's now or never for England - time to cure the World Cup chaos 5:37PM The bus is here HONK HONK HONK! [Tyldesley] "England have parked the bus successfully before the game, but will Tunisia do so during it?" [/Tyldesley] England have arrived #TSworldcup#threelionspic.twitter.com/k6EqWi3PUx— Nigel Adderley (@nadderley) June 18, 2018 5:36PM My favourite Tunisia fact It's where they filmed Tatooine scenes in Star Wars! [Puts on Clive Tyldesley hat] "But will England's players have the Force tonight?" [/Tyldesley] Top 10 | Countries to star in Star Wars 5:32PM Tunisia's World Cup record World Cup record: Tunisia It's not great. 5:29PM This is nice to see Tunisia and England fans making friends in Russia... �� pic.twitter.com/NhjptB4cUT— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 I can't confirm but I'd imagine I think I'm safe in assuming a few people in England may have already gathered in lovely pubs too. Is it worth going early to get a seat? Personally, I quite enjoy the thrill of standing up, mostly because it ensures you can't spill a table of drinks when you go bezerk if your team scores. 5:23PM Where is today's game? That would be the Volgograd Arena, which is in - you guessed it - Volgograd, Russia. World Cup 2018 stadium: Volgograd Arena In real life, it looks like this: Credit: PA A bit like the Colosseum, if it had been made by enormous metal spiders. Or as though the designer found it in a book of absent minded doodles he'd made during his boring real job. 5:18PM Meanwhile, in Group G Belgium are leading Panama after Dries Mertens' superb volley. You can read all about that over in Rob Bagchi's liveblog but come back for the England build-up. And Tunisia, of course. As for both teams' future rivals, I'd say Belgium don't look all that, and Panama are nowhere near as poor as some may have expected. For Belgium, imagine Wigan but with some much better players. The system has massive gaps and England - assuming they got off to a decent start - should be able to deal with both them and Panama comfortably. 5:11PM Jamie Carragher on Southgate Carragher on Southgate 5:05PM How will England approach this game? I spent ages before the World Cup kicked-off researching several teams' tactical approach to these finals. Here's my take on England. World Cup 2018 tactics: England's experimental phase and how Gareth Southgate can bring football home 5:00PM It's England in a World Cup! Hello everyone and welcome to our live coverage of England vs Tunisia, a massive first appearance of the 2018 World Cup for Gareth Southgate's band of merry men. And they do appear to be pretty happy this time - the tournament tactics have extended beyond what happens on the pitch. Nothing's been left to chance! But England are going to need luck if they are to go far. Tunisia might not have the calibre of player you'd normally see steaming around the Premier League but as a team they're very capable and actually really talented on the ball. Southgate has made it clear in all his pre-match chats on camera that Tunisia move the ball well and are technically proficient and by all accounts, England's players aren't underestimating them either. The hope will be, for England fans, that they can stay composed, enjoy the game and show off some of their own silky skills. Credit: AFP The big question though: are England any good? It's really hard to tell but as a neutral (Scottish...) I'd say they're a solid mid-level team on a par with someone like Denmark. There's a lack of composure and vision in midfield and it means creating chances has to be done in a different way. Southgate's solution to this issue has been to up the tempo of passing, get attacking midfielders in advanced central positions where they can dart around in space and with three central defenders, a defensive shield. They want to bypass the midfield and move the ball down the channels quickly, getting it into the box when in the final third and provide Harry Kane with ammunition to take a shot or two. He loves taking shots too. The team news will be in soon and then we'll find out exactly how Southgate is approaching this one. The players know the team. Let's hope it's a good one!
World Cup 2018: Harry Kane rescues England as they beat Tunisia in opening match
Player ratings: who performed and who didn't? England warned to expect tough approach from Panama ​ England vs Panama, World Cup 2018: When and where in Russia is the Group G match, what time does it start and what TV channel is it on? ​ Harry Kane said he might well score three like Cristiano Ronaldo. People tittered. Instead it was just the two for the England captain as he struck the goals to gain England a precious victory in their opening Group G fixture against an obdurate, organised and occasionally cynical Tunisia. It mattered in terms of perception as well as points. These were Kane’s first tournament goals and he, and England, are up and running. What a contribution from the captain. At times England wrestled with familiar failings. At times, Tunisia just wrestled and not least when it came to dealing with Kane who was dragged to the turf on at least two occasions inside the penalty area. The first probably was rightly not given, as John Stones already appeared to have committed a foul, but the second appeared a blatant penalty. Where was the video assistant referee (VAR)? After being overwhelmed at set-pieces early on the Tunisians resorted to grapple tactics which seemed to have hauled England down into a usual sense of stifling frustration especially in an increasingly drifting second-half. The Tunisians swarmed around England like the midges and mosquitoes that plagued this stadium on the banks of the River Volga and so irritated the players. Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) That was until injury-time when Harry Maguire, who was also being regularly man-handled, finally found some space to meet a corner and flick the ball towards the back-post where Kane had drifted free and headed home. Except it was not as simple as that. The forward could easily have sent the chance over the bar but he twisted his body, strained his neck and whipped it into the net in the tight space between goalkeeper and goal-frame. In fact both of Kane’s goals came from corners. Thankfully, unlike at Euro 2016, he was not tasked with taking them. Credit: GETTY IMAGES What a finish and what a finish to this match. In a city, formerly Stalingrad, where history hangs heavy, England had felt their own footballing history beginning to burden them once again after such a luminous start. Stay calm under pressure. Find a solution. They had been key messages from manager Gareth Southgate. And for once England eventually did just that. Southgate had urged England to attack the tournament, attack the World Cup. They did that also until adversity and errors struck. But they overcame them. They, hopefully, removed a mental block in doing so. How wonderful would that be? This result means that, for the first time in five tournaments, since 2006 in fact, England have won their opening game. Next up it is Panama and then Belgium and a last-16 place should now be in their grasp. The 2,000 England fans inside this stadium sang and sang at the final whistle. What a relief. There are issues. Defensively England remain far from assured with Ashley Young - whose place will be under threat from Danny Rose - and Maguire making some wrong decisions and the 3-5-2 under question while debate will re-open over the effectiveness of Raheem Sterling who appeared shorn of confidence after a woeful early miss and lasted barely an hour before being replaced by the far more effective Marcus Rashford while there was rich food for thought in the positive contribution of Ruben Loftus-Cheek who appears to have that bit of subtilty to unpick a packed defence. There were positives also with Kieran Trippier outstandingly creative down the right flank, Kane predatory and Jordan Henderson fully justifying his selection as the midfield anchor. Tunisia vs England shots on goal In terms of attacking intent, in terms of chances created the first-half was among England’s most impressive 45 minute periods for decades - even if it was eventually let down by defensive frailty and weak finishing. England will rage about the penalty they conceded but, even before then, they should have been out of sight. Tunisia vs England shots on goal They missed chance after chance after chance and scored just once, striking the frame of the goal twice. They had to be more ruthless and it seemed they would be just that as Kane scored on 11 minutes as Stones met Young’s corner with a superb leap, an even more superb header and goalkeeper Mouez Hassen somehow clawed it out. Unfortunately for him it dropped to Kane who side-foot volleyed into the net from close-range. Before that Hassen had kept Tunisia in it as he did well to divert Jesse Lingard’s deflected shot away for a corner. Even so Lingard had to score and had to score when he then miscued a volley into the side-netting. Sterling, also, had to score but scuffed wide the goal beckoning while after conceding Hassen could not carry on, having already hurt his shoulder, and departed in tears. The goalkeeper had also denied Maguire, clawing away his header. Credit: GETTY IMAGES The concern began to creep and England were caught out with Kyle Walker, foolishly, throwing his arm back as he contested a cross and catching Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face. The forward went down, claiming the offence and the Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan pointed to the penalty spot. Ferjani Sassi took seven steps back, strolled up and stroked his right footed shot into the corner of the goal. Jordan Pickford guessed right, got a finger tip to the ball but was beaten. It was coolly executed. A sassy penalty by Sassi. England vs Tunisia Player ratings Again focus had been lost by England. But they summoned a response with Maguire’s header headed out from on the goal-line and onto the bar. The rebound fell to Stones but he snatched at it and the ball rolled wide before Trippier cleverly set Lingard through and although he flicked his shot past substitute goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha it struck the outside of the post. England were inexperienced of course, with nine players making their World Cup debuts, and maybe it began to show as Tunisia defended ever deeper and were determined to hold on by any means they could. Time was running out but that was until Kane intervened. Ronaldo had scored those three goals for Portugal against Spain last week and Kane said he fancied vying for 'The Golden Boot' as the World Cup top-scorer. Good for him. Good for England. 10:45PM Harry Maguire reaction Huge win. What a feeling �������������������� @Englandpic.twitter.com/nF6XWXpaGi— Harry Maguire (@HarryMaguire93) June 18, 2018 10:31PM Sam Wallace on Gareth Southgate Of everything Southgate has done with this England team - encouraging them to take risks, to ignore the usual fears and hang-ups - his autumn change to a 3-5-2 formation once qualification was over was fundamental to the whole plan. Read more in Sam Wallace's article here. 10:31PM To be honest, I'm not surprised Interesting stat after #TUNENG. Second lowest of all games so far, for Actual Playing Time. Just 49'38". pic.twitter.com/xRZWwv6vC1— Alex Stone (@AlexStone7) June 18, 2018 9:39PM Kane scored two goals despite eating midges "There were a lot more than we thought. We had a lot of bug spray on, before the game, and at half-time. I got some (flies) in the eye, some in my mouth." Bluuuuuurgh. 9:38PM Great news I am. https://t.co/5V9Xf7uidT— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) June 18, 2018 9:37PM Reaction Harry Kane meanwhile did what everyone kept telling him he needs to do: kept his nerve, saved his team, made a statement to the other leading strikers out here.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 18, 2018 THE LIMBS. LOOK AT THE LIMBS. CANCEL CLUB FOOTBALL LETS DO THIS 365 DAYS A YEAR https://t.co/KcQShfn63D— Eli (@ElMengem) June 18, 2018 "I know the pubs would have been erupting back home. I was that kid watching in the pubs before, I know what that's like" Hero @HKane sums up what it means to score the winner Watch the World Cup LIVE on @ITV#ENG#TUNENG#ThreeLionspic.twitter.com/gpESSQ9fUk— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 18, 2018 9:33PM A bit of analysis Fascinating match. I've not seen an England team so confident, calm in possession and adept at building play from the back who don't also revert to type in the final few moments and throw on 18 strikers to hump the ball long to. Southgate's team built from the back and stayed patient. It moves the opposition around, makes them work hard and as soon as Rashford and Loftus-Cheek injected a bit of forward-thinking and pace to that second half, the movement and forward passing really caused problems. The other thing to commend Southgate for is his clear focus on set pieces. Maguire was brilliant as a target in the box and had it not been for the intervening hands and wrestling skills of Tunisia's defence, England would probably have scored more. Henderson was superb as a six, holding the line between the wing-backs during build-up and rarely roaming from his position. On the times he did attack, Alli and Lingard knew to watch the midfield and dropped back to maintain the shape. This is a well drilled, organised and disciplined England and the benefit of that is the forwards can have way more fun, able to rely on a solid base further back. 9:25PM Kane with his MOTM trophy Credit: FIFA I'm pretty sure there's no beer inside it. 9:23PM What a find this is 1: John Barnes vs Ireland in 1990 2: Harry Maguire vs Tunisia There's only one way to beat them Get round the back pic.twitter.com/mTTLwlxLE3— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 18, 2018 9:22PM England fans going nuts England fans going nuts after Harry Kane’s late goal! #ENG#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/vltfWN7Wc0— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 9:21PM Kyle Walker I think the entire squad is going to a press interview at this rate. Here's Walker: "It shows the work we've put in, believing in ourselves, the system, got the goal which always feels better in the later stages. "I think in the Premier League probably would have got away with it. Trips gave us a shout to leave it so I just tried to shield the ball. "We created a lot of chances but we're not the finished article. There's two more important games we need to go and pick up points now. "I'm not a big talker, I know everyone likes to have their own thoughts but I said I'll run. "It's good. It's a pat on the back for us but there's two important games. We just prepare well and hopefully the points will come." 9:17PM Southgate says "I think the way we kept playing even though the clock was running down, we waited for good opportunities and I think we deserved the win. We had total control of the game second half, strong on set plays all night. Even had we drawn, which would have made life difficult, I would have been proud of the performance. "We'll do well to make as many chances in a game in this tournament. The movement, the control from the back with the ball. Good teams score goals and [keeping the ball helped tire Tunisia]. "The squad have been brilliant, the team selection was so difficult and to bring the substitutes on and them make the impact they did, everyone's worked so hard to come together. "We've given ourselves a great platform to build from, in particular the level of performance but there's a lot of work to do still. Panama will be a tough test in a different way. We can enjoy tonight, I hope everyone at home enjoys tonight. "He's a top, top striker and I'm delighted for him. It's great we've got him in the team, he took his goals very well." 9:11PM Harry Maguire with less of a 'by numbers' interview "We thought the penalty was a bit soft. "We stuck to our shape and knew we'd get the next goal. "It was tough out there, really warm, started well but missed clearcut chances which you don't get at this level very often. "We knew we'd get more but they changed the shape to match us to a three, more like a five. "It was as much a penalty as what they got. He's always going to get that chance, he's going to be a huge player for us. "There were a couple of nervy passes in the first. It's a big occasion, my first game at this high pressure, you've got to focus, concentrate and I felt I grew into the game. "It's a massive three points but it's only three points and we've got another big game coming up." 9:07PM Player ratings Who stood out for you? Here's our verdict: England vs Tunisia Player ratings 9:06PM Matt Law's verdict England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? 9:06PM Jordan Henderson says "I thought we kept going. It paid off tonight with a big win. "I still felt positive, we wanted to get the game going again. We didn't maybe we were thinking about the chances we missed, in the World Cup you've got to keep going. In the second half we did that, kept fighting, didn't play as well but they defended deeper, a lot better as well. "We said you can be friends off the field but on the field you're fighting your mate next to you, for each other. For the whole process we've said keep going to the final whistle and think that showed tonight." 9:03PM Alan Shearer says "I would love one of the VAR people to come out and explain that. They told us before the start they were going to keep an eye on that." 9:02PM This is how many chances it took England to win that Tunisia vs England shots on goal 9:01PM Harry Kane post-match "I thought we played really well, could have scored a few more, credit to the lads we kept going, got to the last second and we're absolutely buzzing. "We spoke a lot about togetherness, we've got a great bond off the pitch which is nice. "I think a few corners we had so much joy from corners, they were trying to stop us and hold us, that's football, that's the ref and it shows good character to do what we've done. "I'm really proud. We've done a lot of work, it was tough, we got the nerves and excitement out the way. I'm so proud." 8:59PM The goal in pictures Credit: AP Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: PA 8:57PM Tunisia players leave the pitch in tears The coaching staff get on the pitch and console an absolutely gutted team of Tunisians. They were so close to a point that could have given real hope of qualification there. Belgium didn't look too special earlier today so there is a chance but it's probably fair to write off Panama at this stage. 8:54PM What a time to win it "Release!" is Martin Keown's rather-too-much information feeling at the final whistle. England showed real character to stay in that one, drawing that would have been a very pre-2018 England thing to do. 8:53PM FULL TIME That's it! England win and it's deserved. Two goals from Harry Kane seal the three points in a hard-fought win over a tricky Tunisia side. 8:52PM 90 mins +3 - England 2 Tunisia 1 Lingard off, Dier off. Southgate is delighted, he was bouncing along the touchline when that goal went in. Interesting that Tunisia decided not to pick up Kane and put him on the floor this time. 8:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! IT'S HARRY KANE! Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) The corner is brilliant! Maguire heads it on and Kane is at hte back post - unmarked! Nobody hauls him to the ground this time and he turns the header into the goal from a few yards. It's a brilliant finish! 8:49PM 90 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 It's still all England. They do really well to pass to half way... and then run out of ideas. Or have they? Maaaaaybe. Loftus-Cheek wins a corner. Four minutes of added time to come. 8:48PM 89 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Loftus-Cheek has done well since coming on. He's in the box, turns his man and has options in the six yard box! He pulls it across goal and Rashford can shoot - but he leaves it! Lingard misses his kick. Rashford reacts furiously - he must have been given a shout to leave it. Dreadful call by Lingard if that is the case - he was surrounded. Loftus-Cheek turns his man, gets to the goal line... and overruns it. Goal kick. Martin Keown has suggested England have "under estimated the heat". A perilous situation indeed. 8:46PM 87 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Trippier hits a cross into the box, it's cleared by the first man. Loftus-Cheek goes on a nice run but none of his striker friends seem to read it. Tunisia are caught offside. 8:44PM 85 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 I hate to say it but Rashford has done more in the last five minutes than Sterling did for most of the game. He's won a corner now. OK. So. Here we have a thing. The goalkeeper has come to attack the corner and has literally punched John Stones in the head. The referee has given a free-kick to Tunisia. The goalkeeper punches a defender in the head and wins a free-kick. Am I going mental? Is this... is this... what is this? How is that a free-kick to the goalkeeper? I'm confused. Things don't look the same anymore. Am I through the looking glass? Inside the machine? Only time will tell my friends. And at the moment, Tunisia are wasting that time. Khazri walks off the pitch slooooooooowwwwwwwwwly to be replaced by Khalifa. 8:41PM 83 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 The free-kick is high to the back post... and Tunisia win a throw. Can they improve on this in the final 10 minutes? They've hardly had the ball in the England final third. Tunisia vs England 8:39PM 81 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Dele Alli off, Loftus-Cheek on. He should help with moving the ball around the Tunisia half. Henderson is fouled 35 yards out. Tunisia have defended really well tonight. 8:39PM 80 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Urgh. Young's free-kick is dreadful. Over the bar, nowhere near. Poor. Etc. 8:37PM 78 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Alli goes for a one-two, gets wiped out, and it's a free-kick to England in BECKHAM TERRITORY! Young can hit these. 8:36PM 77 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Promising attack from England! Rashford moves into the box, fires it wide to Trippier. Blocked. Rashford joins in again, twists, turns, twists, turns, and passes back to Henderson who hits a high pass to the back post... and Kane's attempted volley pass to Lingard produces nothing. 8:34PM 75 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sliti is taken off, Ben Amor is on. He's more of a defensive midfielder than Sliti, who had a decent game tonight. Credit: AP The Tunisian goalkeeper Hassen is on the bench with his arm in a sling now. 8:32PM 73 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia have had to deal with pressure for the last 20 minutes or so but could now decide to use some energy taking the game to England. Sliti strides forward, the space opens up... he shoots! It's awful. Like swinging at the ball with a golf club. He punts into the air and it flies wide. 8:30PM 71 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have been lifted immediately! Alli gets in behind the defence and is one on one! But the goalkeeper is awake and quickly smothers. Alli is said to be offside anyway. He isn't. This referee has made some interesting decisions today. 8:28PM 70 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 First sub: Sterling off, Rashford on. Will he take this free-kick? It looks like Trippier and Young fancy it. Trippier takes it... and it's wide. Rashford is involved straight away! He carries the ball forward quickly and pokes it ahead of Kane... but a brilliant tackle by the defender takes it away from him. 8:26PM 68 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Possession: Tunisia vs England England have turned possession round even if they're not finding too many chances to really attack with it. Over the course of the game you'd probably say they've had the better of times. Tunisia vs England shots on goal England keep going backwards and sideways with their passing. Tunisia are defending with a low block and surrounding England players on the ball... and Kane has won a free-kick 25 yards out. 8:24PM 66 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson is forward now so Alli drops to the six position with Lingard deeper too. Walker carries the ball out, Pickford comes off his line to help with the passing, Young has to go backwards. The midfield are getting caught too high up the pitch and the passing is all going sideways. 8:23PM 64 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England are running a little low on ideas now and Martin Keown has suggested the heat in the stadium might be the cause. Here's a promising move though. Sterling on the left, Young doesn't read the backheel and then as soon as he touches the back of the defender, it's a free-kick to Tunisia. 8:22PM 62 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 This time no England players are thrown to the ground at the corner and Kane keeps the ball alive at the goal line. England keep up the pressure and then Sterling is... there's a free-kick. Sterling's holding the back of his marker's shirt. 8:19PM 60 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Good, patient passing from England in the final third. Kane can't get on the end of a cross from the right, Young tries an effort from the left, and Trippier then wins a corner after a brilliant long ball from Henderson finds him. Henderson's passing has been superb. 8:18PM 58 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Great running off the ball by Lingard. He spots Henderson is in danger of being overrun and drops back beside him to help the move. He doesn't get the ball but just being there gives security and an option to England. 8:15PM 56 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have Tunisia pinned back. It's a really high press and is making Tunisia work hard at the moment. Tunisia are so good with the ball though and manage to escape the first line of press. Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS In other news, a photographer has found a bat on the pitch. [Tyldesley] "But is there a Batman on the pitch? England could certainly do with one now!" [/Tyldesley] 8:12PM 54 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Ohhhhhhhh Khazri is in behind Maguire - who has been poor defensively tonight - and Pickford comes out his box to defend it! The referee blows for an offside (incorrectly) and ends the move. England get forward, Young's cross is cleared... England win a free-kick at halfway. 8:11PM 52 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Kane's been wrestled to the floor again. That's incredible. Honestly it's shocking - what is the VAR doing? This is infuriating to watch. England denied another huge shout at a penalty - if the player can't attack the ball because he's been thrown to the floor, surely it's a foul? Ah well. The corner doesn't end well for England because both Henderson and Kane have been taken out of the game. 8:09PM 50 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia seem calmer, more composed at the start of this half. Aaaand Meriah has passed straight out for a throw. Curse of the... live blogger. Tunisia moving the ball around really well here, England are having to work to cover the pitch and Tunisia are in the final third now. But Sterling's nipped in and the counter is on! Corner to England. 8:07PM 48 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia start well until a foul on Henderson gives England possession back. Sassi has a go at the referee for that decision too but it's a clear free-kick. England pass around the back for a while and Walker is on the right of the three centre-backs. Would there have been a penalty in the first half if Stones had been the central CB? 8:04PM KICK OFF 2 Dele Alli is OK to continue! He's back. Sterling is having to bat away about a million midges from his face. I realise it's hard to see them so I've highlighted the ones I can see easily in that photo. If you've ever been to Scotland in September, you will understand how annoying these things are. 8:03PM Just a friendly reminder That after a VAR review, this is not a penalty. Please remember that I am a neutral observer here. Anyway. Let's move on now, if we get another half as entertaining as that we'll all have a great time. 8:01PM England's xG is promising First half xG map for #Eng-#Tun good news: the football is coming home bad news: the football is a very dumb sport that no one likes pic.twitter.com/10Cvv5Mfj4— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) June 18, 2018 7:59PM England must improve their finishing Tunisia vs England shots on goal It's all very well creating the chances but England - obviously - have to take them. Sterling's miss was a dreadful effort as was Stones' scuffed volley attempt inside the box as Tunisia were scrambling. Oh and Lingard's too. They were all bad at it. 7:56PM This is an interesting decision He's literally thrown him to the ground. 7:54PM Rio Ferdinand blames Walker for the penalty "If Walker's body position was right there wouldn't be a penalty. A centre-half facing his own goal is criminal." 7:53PM Average shape Average touch positions (half time) It's all about the running from England's central midfielders. You can see how they all seem to be in central areas on that average position and it's really causing damage. One of Lingard, Alli, Kane or Sterling run from deep positions in behind the defenders and a ball over the top or down the wing puts them into situations where England can attack. Look how many touches they've had in the Tunisia box already: Tunisia vs England 7:49PM No flies on this one But there were before the game... That was really exciting. England created heaps of chances but as Alan Shearer has just said "at this level you have to score them". 7:48PM HALF TIME Oocha beasties. That was some half. England looked incredible for 20 minutes and then a bit of sloppiness and a silly foul has given their opponents a way back in. Sound familiar? 7:47PM 45 mins +2 - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson puts Pickford in a spot of bother but instead of staying calm, Pickford tries to launch the ball as many miles away as possible and ends up giving away a throw-in. England working their way forward in search of another goal before half time. Maaloul has had the ball hit off the side of his torso and has gone down howling. There's no way he's winded and Trippier goes across to find out what has actually happened to him. 7:44PM 45 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Maguire is England's most dangerous player at the moment! He heads a free-kick across the box and tees up Lingard for a sitter inside 12 yards. He fires over the bar. Awful. It turns out there's a deflection, so I withdraw my harsh criticism. The corner is gathered low by the goalkeeper in the second phase of the set piece. LINGARD IS IN AGAIN! Another pass over the top! One on one with the goalkeeper after a run from deep but his touch rolls agonisingly wide of the near post, hitting it instead of rolling in! So unlucky! 7:42PM 43 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 That shove on Kane in the penalty area is comical. I don't know what VAR are doing or whether I missed the seminar that first confirmed the collision of WWE and football into one super sport, but England should have a penalty. Happy to be proved wrong! 7:41PM 41 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England win another free-kick in the Tunisia half. It's too far away to shoot, Trippier will take... but it's not up to much. Alli chases into the corner and wins back... and now there's a Tunisia throw. Credit: REUTERS 7:40PM 39 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sterling wins a free-kick in the corner. Delph is getting ready to come on but Alli will be allowed to attack this free-kick first. Trippier hooks it in... and it's a panic in the box! Kane goes down in the area, it's headed across the box and onto the bar... Stones comes to swing a foot at it but gets it all wrong. Oh my god how is that not a penalty. Kane was literally thrown to the ground by his man-marker there. 7:37PM 37 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Well, well, well. Here we are. "You've got to be so careful in the modern game. I'm not sure I could play today!" says Keown. Maguire's made another mistake! Tunisia have three men, a man over... but the ball doesn't go right to him and is played left instead. Khazri slips... and the move is gone. Dele Alli is going to have to come off. 7:35PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL! TUNISIA HAVE EQUALISED! Goal: Tunisia ( 35 min ) Sassi steps up, does a little shimmy in his run up and slots it low and hard into the bottom left corner. Pickford is soooo close to it. 7:34PM PENALTY TO TUNISIA! Instant decision by the referee! The ball is hooked into the area and Walker whacks the forward in the face! VAR has reviewed it and it's a definite penalty... Walker is demonstrating he was putting his arms out wide like wings to work out his position. Card: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Kyle Walker, 33 min) Instead he's caught the striker in the face! 7:33PM 33 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Sterling drops to take a pass to feet, fires it out to Trippier and gets a return pass. The ball is moved to the box, crossed low into the area... but the defender blocks at the front corner of the six yard box. Dele Alli is clutching his thigh and doing a bunch of stretching. Walker has moved to the central centre-back position. 7:31PM 31 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Bronn has just gone absolutely nuts at the referee for daring to give a free-kick against him after rolling the ball up his arm like a basketball freestyler. I don't understand footballers sometimes. This is a great spot for a free-kick. Trippier chips it to the back post and MAGUIRE IS THERE! But the goalkeeper saves confidently. England keep up the high press and win possession back but Tunisia find a way to break. 7:28PM 29 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Great delivery by Khazri but it's headed away inside 10 yards. England survive! Tunisia seem a little braver now though and are starting to get on the ball and run with it. 7:27PM 27 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Pickford is quick off his line to close down a pass into space for Khazri. Maguire's been caught in possession though and suddenly Tunisia are all over them! The crowd gets excited and England panic! Maguire throws himself at the shot and deflects it behind. England completely switched off there. Poor. Tunisia corner. 7:24PM 24 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The corner is taken by Khazri but misses everyone in the box. Sliti chases, beats Alli to the ball and then fancies a shot himself from distance... but launches it miles away. The ball's somewhere in the crowd. Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Naim Sliti, 23 min) Kane finds Young on the left, Young cuts inside and chips to Lingard at the back post. Oh my word he's unmarked... the ball lands at his feet! He must score! Lingard misses! Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Jesse Lingard, 24 min) I hate the cliche but that seemed like he too much time and didn't know what to with himself. 7:22PM 22 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Credit: PA England are knocking the ball about beautifully and get men forward but Tunisia steal the ball and can break! But Young is quickly on the case and England win it back. I am so impressed by this performance so far. Martin Keown says "dare I say it, this is some of the best football we've seen at the tournament so far." But now Tunisia have found a way to attack and it is down the right wing. Bronn gets all the way to the box and wins a corner. He's meant to be a centre-back and Young hasn't dealt with it well, leaving his position. 7:20PM 20 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 It's like a 3-3-3-1 formation really, or it is when Sterling drops slightly deeper. Will Tunisia do as Nigeria did and copy the shape for the second half? Or immediately? Because they're really struggling. 7:19PM 18 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 England's shape is working really well. Henderson, who I've doubts about as a six, is holding it all together in the build-up play. He needs to keep this up all game long to ensure England's build up works from the back. England - honestly - are playing really well. This is a fantastic move now, there's loads of running off the ball, there are numbers in midfield... and Henderson has a chance to shoot from distance after Trippier's cross is missed by all. He forces a decent save from the new goalkeeper. 7:16PM 16 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 After a lengthy break, Pickford hoofs the ball up the pitch and England win the second ball. Tunisia press them high up the pitch and force a goal kick as Walker has to try and ping it away rather than keep up the short passes. 7:14PM 14 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The goalkeeper has gone down again. Poor guy. That save was awesome. The physios attend to him as the substitute goalie gets warmed-up. Hassen has to leave the pitch in tears, given kisses on the way by his taemmates. He's going to be replaced by Mustapha. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! ENGLAND HAVE SCORED! Stones absolutely batters a header at goal and the goalkeeper somehow claws it out of the net with an incredible, strong hand. He can only pass it to Kane though, who makes no mistake. Will the goal be given to Kane or Stones? I think it might have been over the line! Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Harry Kane, 11 min) 7:11PM 11 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 England win a corner as Kane finds space to take a shot from 20 yards. Young comes across to take it. 7:10PM 10 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 The crowd are cheering Tunisia's passing but as Martin Keown has jsut said "Oh they can definitely play". And as I type that a pass goes straight out for a throw. 7:08PM 8 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 What a start by England though. They look fired up and are moving really well. Hassen, the goalkeeper, still doesn't look happy with his... shoulder? Goalkeeping ability? The scenario he finds himself in? Something's up anyway. Ben Youssef.F has gone down holding his chin as Young puts his forearm into his face. I'm not sure that's intentional but it definitely hurt. Will the referee review it? Nope. He is safe to wound more with his deadly elbow. Beware, sweet Tunisians. 7:06PM 6 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 CHANCE FOR STERLING! Ooooohhhh he's missed an open goal. It's OK though, he's offisde. Well, Lingard is. Even though he's not. If that makes sense. Lingard is played in on goal, passes across the box and Sterling is at the back post but makes a total mess of things. The goalkeeper's down on the floor receiving treatment but I'm not sure why. They're trying to fix his arm... but he didn't touch anything with it. Is he just trying to calm this down? 7:03PM 4 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Great pass! Alli is in down the right! He's in the box after a brilliant pass by Henderson but the cross is blocked and it drops for LINGAAAARD - SAVED! Great save by the goalkeeper and it's a corner! Maguire comes up for the set piece and attacks the header... it's a free header, it bounces into the turf and the goalie scrambles to touch it away. Tunisia ball. 7:01PM 2 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Trippier tries a pass over the top into the right channel for Lingard but puts it out for a goal kick after England spend some time getting to know the ball. Tunisia build from the back... but Alli has stolen it in their half. Kane loses possession... but now the goalkeeper has passed out for a throw-in. He looks nervous. 7:00PM KICK OFF AAAAARGH IT'S FINALLY TIME! England get the game started! 6:58PM The referees Three are from Colombia and one is Costa Rican. 6:57PM Singing check I've checked every England player and each one is singing the national anthem. Well done. Passion wise... I have to say it's not great. All low register, no diaphragm, no great feel - I just don't believe it, you know? But maybe that's their style. 6:55PM National anthems 6:54PM Who's going to win? The players are coming out onto the pitch! Here we go! But there's time to put a bit of cash on it! And we even have some tips for you. Betting guide: prediction and tips for England v Tunisia 6:53PM Stay up to date We've got some great little bits for you to play with and keep you up to date during the tournament. I particularly recommend joining our Whatsapp group so you can get news, updates and analysis sent to your phone! World Cup whatsapp promo 6:49PM Paul Hayward in Russia "A distinct absence of royalty and government ministers on the VIP list in Volgograd, but English football is represented by Sol Campbell, David Gill and Lindsay Skoll, Britain's deputy ambassador in Moscow. And Arsene Wenger, an honorary Englishman." Credit: GETTY IMAGES 6:48PM The importance of England's wing-backs Another clever little bit of problem solving from Southgate has been addressing the lack of a left-winger - that other English tradition. Wing-backs are the solution and having them has ensured that central attacking midfielders like Alli, Sterling and Lingard can play in the same team without being shunted out into ineffective positions. If Nigeria had the ball on the right (in a recent friendly), Ashley Young pushed high up the left side of the pitch, if Nigeria were on the left, Kieran Trippier pushed forward. In possession, the player opposite the side the ball is on pushes high and wide to offer a switched pass. Here's Young doing exactly that: The full-back on the opposite side of the pitch to the ball pushes high to provide an outlet Credit: England ITV The shape becomes a 3-1-4-2 at times as the wing-backs join in attacks, stretching the pitch and opening up space for the central midfielders to run into or pass into. England in their attacking shape And because they are wing-backs rather than wingers, Young and Trippier must hold slightly deeper positions, meaning they are usually in place to either receive a switched pass, free to attack space at the back post or simply act as a means of stretching the pitch. England Ashley Young gif During attacks in the final third, this means England have a heap of different runners all moving into similar positions - something incredibly difficult to defend against. Here's an example of the different runs England made during a dangerous attack against Nigeria. Young is the player free on the left. England flood the box with multiple runners in attack Credit: England ITV Nigeria 6:46PM That England training shirt though Credit: FIFA I'm such a fan of this training top. And I'm Scottish. Can you imagine the confusion inside my brain? I'm saying this should be the actual England kit rather than the plain Jane one that they have. Credit: FIFA 6:45PM Gareth Southgate: "The time for talking's finished" Really looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to watching the players perform. We've got some really good characters in the starting team and the squad itself. It's not just about tonight, first of all there's three games to get through but we're looking forward to tonight's match. How will Tunisia approach this? Well if it's what we've seen probably 4-5-1, they were very well organised in their last game against Spain, they use the ball very well so its a threat. To win any game in a World Cup is difficult so we've got to be at our best. Who issues the rallying cry now? It's me! I've got to come up with something else, they don't like to do it. The time for talking's finished, we've got to perform tonight. 6:40PM Let's get pumped Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, Tunisia don't have quite as iconic a pop record to spur their players on. So in pursuit of balance, I will award them one of the greatest songs ever written: 6:35PM The stadium The BBC have just shown footage of England players spraying themselves with bug spray. There are a heap of flies causing them bother and weirdly, according to Patrice Evra earlier, it really is a hindrance. He played in a game with flies everywhere but they only filled one half. Matt Law has just sent me this: The flies are already annoying Raheem Sterling, who is trying to swat them away while he warms up. England's players have now got out the deet and are covering themselves in it to try to get rid of the flies. 6:31PM Frank Lampard on the rivalry at club level having an effect on England squads Lampard "We're so competitive that the idea of coming to be a team is not so simple as Argentina who come from all over the world." Alan Shearer "I don't agree cliques made a difference. Spain had Real Madrid and Barcelona." 6:30PM Rio Ferdinand on his past England managers "There was elements of some of the managers that we didn't like. Tactically we were very rigid under Cappello too, 4-4-2. Gerrard, Lampard, Hargreaves, Beckham, Scholes we payed 4-4-2 without any ability to move and be fluid. The buck stops with us as players." 6:28PM England are playing in red Credit: FIFA Tunisia get the white because they are technically the home team. Credit: FIFA 6:24PM Lampard on Southgate "He's played a blinder so far!" says Lampard of Southgate's job with England. Rio Ferdinand is impressed too: "It was totally different when we played. It was us vs the press, we hated them, they hated us. Gareth was in those squads and now he's totally changed it and integrated them" 6:22PM Tactics tactics tactics Here's me talking about some of England's tactics and the importance of the wing-backs tonight. 6:19PM Matt Law updates from the stadium "We are all covered in deet inside the Volgograd Arena, but it's not making much difference. The flies are everywhere!" Sounds... really annoying. In case you weren't sure, deet is insect repellent. 6:12PM Another nice England stat 248 - England's starting XI has a cumulative total of 248 caps between them; the lowest by an England starting XI in an international tournament since June 1962 (246 caps v Bulgaria). Fresh.#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/UrcT1fAoCC— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 6:11PM Who are Tunisia's key players? Youssef Msakni is Tunisia's star player, the main creator and the usual source of goals. He is injured and didn't make it to the World Cup, which is pretty sad. Without him, the job of creating scoring opportunities has to be shared by the rest of the team - but who's any good at that? The best player actually available... is probably Wahbi Khazri, who had a decent season on loan at Rennes but when he's played for Sunderland he has been less than impressive. Certainly whenever I've seen him play I haven't though 'wow what a player' and you know that's legit because I support Aberdeen. Most players make me do that. There really aren't any real standouts in the Tunisia team - they are strong as a unit but individually shouldn't cause too many problems. Traditionally England's problem has been the exact opposite. Let's see what happens! 6:05PM Southgate's unfamiliar team 9 - For their 9th successive World Cup tournament, England's starting XI in their opening game have never all previously started a England game together before. Unfamiliar.#WorldCup#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 Southgate must be fairly pleased with what he's seen in training for this to be the case! 6:03PM The Tunisia team I've finally managed to find the official Tunisia Twitter account. Here it is: ��⚪ OFFICIEL : Le 11 de départ de la Tunisie face à l'Angleterre : #TUNENG ������������������ #TUN#CM2018 Hassen- Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul - Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti- Badri, F.Ben Youssef, Khazri. pic.twitter.com/QVvLaAahhA— Tunisie Football (@tunisiefootball) June 18, 2018 Tunisia Hassen; Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul; Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti, Badri, F.Ben Youssef; Khazri 5:58PM Jason Burt on England's chances 5:54PM England fans 'outnumbered' England fans admit to feeling outnumbered by their Tunisian counterparts, but remain hopeful of a victory. 5:53PM Inside the stadium Credit: FIFA The players are out on the pitch having a look around. Credit: FIFA 5:49PM England's team England (3-5-2) Pickford; Stones, Walker, Maguire, Trippier, Young; Henderson, Alli, Lingard; Sterling, Kane. 5:48PM The team is in! Here it is: the #ThreeLions line-up for our opening game at the 2018 #WorldCup. pic.twitter.com/FNHUHn2vAk— England (@England) June 18, 2018 5:46PM Team news should be here very soon England Formation Builder In the meantime you can pick your own starting XI. It'll very likely be a 3-5-2, which looks like a 5-3-2 in defence and a 3-1-4-2 in attack. I'd have Kane and Sterling up front, Alli and... maybe Lingard as AMC and then Delph at six. Rose left, Walker right and Cahill, Stones... and someone else in defence. Maybe Walker actually. 5:43PM Fans making their way into the stadium Credit: GETTY IMAGES How will the players' nerves be just now? So often they fall apart mentally at these tournaments but with that lovely looking sky maybe they'll be all relaxed and chill. Our man Paul Hayward has written this: It's now or never for England - time to cure the World Cup chaos 5:37PM The bus is here HONK HONK HONK! [Tyldesley] "England have parked the bus successfully before the game, but will Tunisia do so during it?" [/Tyldesley] England have arrived #TSworldcup#threelionspic.twitter.com/k6EqWi3PUx— Nigel Adderley (@nadderley) June 18, 2018 5:36PM My favourite Tunisia fact It's where they filmed Tatooine scenes in Star Wars! [Puts on Clive Tyldesley hat] "But will England's players have the Force tonight?" [/Tyldesley] Top 10 | Countries to star in Star Wars 5:32PM Tunisia's World Cup record World Cup record: Tunisia It's not great. 5:29PM This is nice to see Tunisia and England fans making friends in Russia... �� pic.twitter.com/NhjptB4cUT— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 I can't confirm but I'd imagine I think I'm safe in assuming a few people in England may have already gathered in lovely pubs too. Is it worth going early to get a seat? Personally, I quite enjoy the thrill of standing up, mostly because it ensures you can't spill a table of drinks when you go bezerk if your team scores. 5:23PM Where is today's game? That would be the Volgograd Arena, which is in - you guessed it - Volgograd, Russia. World Cup 2018 stadium: Volgograd Arena In real life, it looks like this: Credit: PA A bit like the Colosseum, if it had been made by enormous metal spiders. Or as though the designer found it in a book of absent minded doodles he'd made during his boring real job. 5:18PM Meanwhile, in Group G Belgium are leading Panama after Dries Mertens' superb volley. You can read all about that over in Rob Bagchi's liveblog but come back for the England build-up. And Tunisia, of course. As for both teams' future rivals, I'd say Belgium don't look all that, and Panama are nowhere near as poor as some may have expected. For Belgium, imagine Wigan but with some much better players. The system has massive gaps and England - assuming they got off to a decent start - should be able to deal with both them and Panama comfortably. 5:11PM Jamie Carragher on Southgate Carragher on Southgate 5:05PM How will England approach this game? I spent ages before the World Cup kicked-off researching several teams' tactical approach to these finals. Here's my take on England. World Cup 2018 tactics: England's experimental phase and how Gareth Southgate can bring football home 5:00PM It's England in a World Cup! Hello everyone and welcome to our live coverage of England vs Tunisia, a massive first appearance of the 2018 World Cup for Gareth Southgate's band of merry men. And they do appear to be pretty happy this time - the tournament tactics have extended beyond what happens on the pitch. Nothing's been left to chance! But England are going to need luck if they are to go far. Tunisia might not have the calibre of player you'd normally see steaming around the Premier League but as a team they're very capable and actually really talented on the ball. Southgate has made it clear in all his pre-match chats on camera that Tunisia move the ball well and are technically proficient and by all accounts, England's players aren't underestimating them either. The hope will be, for England fans, that they can stay composed, enjoy the game and show off some of their own silky skills. Credit: AFP The big question though: are England any good? It's really hard to tell but as a neutral (Scottish...) I'd say they're a solid mid-level team on a par with someone like Denmark. There's a lack of composure and vision in midfield and it means creating chances has to be done in a different way. Southgate's solution to this issue has been to up the tempo of passing, get attacking midfielders in advanced central positions where they can dart around in space and with three central defenders, a defensive shield. They want to bypass the midfield and move the ball down the channels quickly, getting it into the box when in the final third and provide Harry Kane with ammunition to take a shot or two. He loves taking shots too. The team news will be in soon and then we'll find out exactly how Southgate is approaching this one. The players know the team. Let's hope it's a good one!
<p>Harry Kane macht da weiter, wo er in der Premier League aufgehört hat: Er schießt Tore. Nach 11. Minuten trifft er zum 1:0 gegen Tunesien. </p>
Yes, he Kane!

Harry Kane macht da weiter, wo er in der Premier League aufgehört hat: Er schießt Tore. Nach 11. Minuten trifft er zum 1:0 gegen Tunesien.

What is it? The final game of the first-round of a group stage matches as Poland face Senegal in Group H - with Japan and Colombia playing earlier in the day. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 4pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? ITV coverage begins at 3.25pm or alternatively you can bookmark this page and return to follow every kick with our Telegraph Sport live blog. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Spartak Stadium in Moscow home to, you guessed it, Spartak Moscow. What is the team news? Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for Poland after scoring 16 goals in qualifying. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will be a familiar face in goal for English fans, and keep an eye out for talented Napoli playmaker Piotr Zieliński in midfield. Sadio Mane is the jewell in Senegal's crown and will be ably assisted by Premier League players such as Idrisa Geuye, Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho. Senegal reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 finals after beating holders France in the opening game of the tournament. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Poland Goalkeepers: Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich Town), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus). Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (UC Sampdoria), Thiago Cionek (SPAL Ferrara), Kamil Glik (AS Monaco), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund). Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (VfL Wolfsburg), Jacek Goralski (PFC Ludogorets Razgrad), Maciej Rybus (FC Lokomotiv Moscow), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli), Karol Linetty (UC Sampdoria), Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion), Kamil Grosicki (Hull City), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Rafal Kurzawa (Gornik Zabrze). Forwards: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli), Lukasz Teodorczyk (RSC Anderlecht), Dawid Kownacki (UC Sampdoria). World Cup record: Poland Senegal Abdoulaye Diallo, Khadim Ndiaye, Alfred Gomis, Lamine Gassama, Moussa Wague, Saliou Ciss, Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Kalidou, Salif Sane, Cheikhou Kouyate, Kara Mbodji, Idrisa Gana Gueye, Cheikh Ndoye, Alfred Ndiaye, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Moussa Sow, Moussa Konate, Diafra Sakho, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr, Mame Biram Diouf, Mbaye Niang, Diao Keita Balde. World Cup record: Senegal What's the latest news on the two teams? Senegal hoping to channel spirit of 2002 Senegal will draw on the spirit of the late Bruno Metsu, the maverick French coach who led them to the 2002 quarter-finals, when they face Poland on Tuesday in their first World Cup match in 16 years. Aliou Cisse, who captained the side which Metsu famously fired up to stun defending champions France 1-0 in Seoul in their opening game, said he was thinking of his mentor. Yet as the only African coach in this year's competition, he is determined to stamp his own generation's mark on world football. Asked if he had taken up Metsu's style of team talk, when he worked on their anger at being dismissed as outsiders in their first finals, Cisse told reporters: "No. Bruno's talk was Bruno. I'm the coach now, I have my own way of managing my team. Senegal's coach Aliou Cisse Credit: AFP "But today on the eve of this match against Poland my thoughts are with Bruno. I know that from where he is today he is watching us and his energy will lift us." Metsu, whose side lost to a Turkish golden goal in the 2002 quarter-finals, died five years ago of cancer, aged 59. For decades, many of Africa's most successful teams have had European or Latin American coaches, but Cisse reckoned it was time to move on: "Sure, I'm the only black coach in this World Cup. But these are debates that bother me. I believe football is universal and the colour of your skin doesn't matter. "I represent a new generation which wants to find its place in African football and world football," he added. "We also have a right to be among the elite of international coaches." Reuters. What are the odds? Poland 11/8 Senegal 13/5 Draw 23/1 What's our prediction? Both teams' strength lies in attack, so we fancy this might be a more open and enterprising game than the your typical group stage match. Poland are always touted as dark horses but are yet to really get their act together in a tournament - including a disappointing European Championship performance on home soil in 2012. Verdict: Poland 2 Senegal 2 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
World Cup 2018, Poland vs Senegal: What time is kick-off tomorrow, what TV channel is it on and what is our prediction?
What is it? The final game of the first-round of a group stage matches as Poland face Senegal in Group H - with Japan and Colombia playing earlier in the day. When is it? Tuesday 19 June. What time is kick-off? 4pm UK time. What TV channel is it on? ITV coverage begins at 3.25pm or alternatively you can bookmark this page and return to follow every kick with our Telegraph Sport live blog. World Cup 2018 Simulator Single Game Where is the game being played? At the Spartak Stadium in Moscow home to, you guessed it, Spartak Moscow. What is the team news? Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski will lead the line for Poland after scoring 16 goals in qualifying. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will be a familiar face in goal for English fans, and keep an eye out for talented Napoli playmaker Piotr Zieliński in midfield. Sadio Mane is the jewell in Senegal's crown and will be ably assisted by Premier League players such as Idrisa Geuye, Cheikhou Kouyate and Diafra Sakho. Senegal reached the quarter-finals of the 2002 finals after beating holders France in the opening game of the tournament. World Cup 2018 | Fixtures, groups, squads and more And the squads in full: Poland Goalkeepers: Bartosz Bialkowski (Ipswich Town), Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus). Defenders: Jan Bednarek (Southampton), Bartosz Bereszynski (UC Sampdoria), Thiago Cionek (SPAL Ferrara), Kamil Glik (AS Monaco), Artur Jedrzejczyk (Legia Warsaw), Michal Pazdan (Legia Warsaw), Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund). Midfielders: Jakub Blaszczykowski (VfL Wolfsburg), Jacek Goralski (PFC Ludogorets Razgrad), Maciej Rybus (FC Lokomotiv Moscow), Piotr Zielinski (Napoli), Karol Linetty (UC Sampdoria), Grzegorz Krychowiak (West Bromwich Albion), Kamil Grosicki (Hull City), Slawomir Peszko (Lechia Gdansk), Rafal Kurzawa (Gornik Zabrze). Forwards: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich), Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli), Lukasz Teodorczyk (RSC Anderlecht), Dawid Kownacki (UC Sampdoria). World Cup record: Poland Senegal Abdoulaye Diallo, Khadim Ndiaye, Alfred Gomis, Lamine Gassama, Moussa Wague, Saliou Ciss, Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Kalidou, Salif Sane, Cheikhou Kouyate, Kara Mbodji, Idrisa Gana Gueye, Cheikh Ndoye, Alfred Ndiaye, Pape Alioune Ndiaye, Moussa Sow, Moussa Konate, Diafra Sakho, Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr, Mame Biram Diouf, Mbaye Niang, Diao Keita Balde. World Cup record: Senegal What's the latest news on the two teams? Senegal hoping to channel spirit of 2002 Senegal will draw on the spirit of the late Bruno Metsu, the maverick French coach who led them to the 2002 quarter-finals, when they face Poland on Tuesday in their first World Cup match in 16 years. Aliou Cisse, who captained the side which Metsu famously fired up to stun defending champions France 1-0 in Seoul in their opening game, said he was thinking of his mentor. Yet as the only African coach in this year's competition, he is determined to stamp his own generation's mark on world football. Asked if he had taken up Metsu's style of team talk, when he worked on their anger at being dismissed as outsiders in their first finals, Cisse told reporters: "No. Bruno's talk was Bruno. I'm the coach now, I have my own way of managing my team. Senegal's coach Aliou Cisse Credit: AFP "But today on the eve of this match against Poland my thoughts are with Bruno. I know that from where he is today he is watching us and his energy will lift us." Metsu, whose side lost to a Turkish golden goal in the 2002 quarter-finals, died five years ago of cancer, aged 59. For decades, many of Africa's most successful teams have had European or Latin American coaches, but Cisse reckoned it was time to move on: "Sure, I'm the only black coach in this World Cup. But these are debates that bother me. I believe football is universal and the colour of your skin doesn't matter. "I represent a new generation which wants to find its place in African football and world football," he added. "We also have a right to be among the elite of international coaches." Reuters. What are the odds? Poland 11/8 Senegal 13/5 Draw 23/1 What's our prediction? Both teams' strength lies in attack, so we fancy this might be a more open and enterprising game than the your typical group stage match. Poland are always touted as dark horses but are yet to really get their act together in a tournament - including a disappointing European Championship performance on home soil in 2012. Verdict: Poland 2 Senegal 2 WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England vs Tunisia, World Cup 2018: Player ratings
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England vs Tunisia, World Cup 2018: Player ratings
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England vs Tunisia, World Cup 2018: Player ratings
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England vs Tunisia, World Cup 2018: Player ratings
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England vs Tunisia, World Cup 2018: Player ratings
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
England vs Tunisia, World Cup 2018: Player ratings
England saw off Tunisia 2-1 in their first World Cup 2018 match, with Harry Kane scoring twice to clinch a win when a dispiriting draw had begun to look inevitable. How did the two teams fare in Volgograd? Ben Rumsby was watching attentively. Tunisia Mouez Hassen:Packed enough drama into his 15 minutes on the field for an entire match, producing two brilliant reflex saves. An early injury ultimately told. 5 Yassine Meriah: Struggled to contain Ashley Young in the first half but did so after the break. Showed little going the other way. 6 Syam Ben Youssef: Looked like being overrun in the first half but increasingly comfortable after the break up against a fading Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling. 6 Dylan Bronn: One excellent tackle to deny Kane after growing in confidence as the game wore on but all his work went to waste. 6 Tunisia defender Dylan Bronn (L) holds off Dele Alli Credit: AFP Ali Maaloul:Not really tested by Kieran Trippier but neither did he give the Tottenham Hotspur full-back a headache at the other end. 6 Ellyes Skhiri: Montpellier midfielder did most of his work in his own half and rarely threatened going forward. 6 Anice Badri: Joined in the rearguard effort as England huffed and puffed for a winner that eventually came. 6 Ferjani Sassi:Penalty struck just hard enough to beat Jordan Pickford but might have not to give one away straight after for wrestling Kane to the ground. 6 Ferjani Sassi celebrates his first-half goal Credit: AP Fakhreddine Ben Youssef:Tunisia’s best player. Won their penalty, sent a header wide and generally a thorn in England’s side throughout. 7 Wahbi Khazri: The on-loan Sunderland man was denied the pleasure out of frustrating England players who helped end his Premier League career. 5 Naim Sliti: Dijon forward blazed one shot over after a nice turn but was otherwise an isolated figure as England dominated possession and territory. 5 Wahbi Khazri (L) nips in ahead of Jordan Pickford Credit: REUTERS England: Jordan Pickford:So close to keeping out Sassi’s penalty and did not have another save to make. Distribution, supposedly his great strength, not always spot on. 6 Kyle Walker: Brainless foul on Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to give away a penalty, casting doubt on the decision to play him at centre-back. 5 John Stones: Fumbled a shot from close range but instrumental in Kane’s opener when his towering header forced a rebound. Seemed rusty after such little game time at Manchester City. 6 Kyle Walker gave away a first-half penalty Credit: REUTERS Harry Maguire:Flick-on set up Kane’s winner in a vastly-improved second-half display by the defender, who looked totally out of his depth on the rare occasions Tunisia threatened in the first. 6 Kieran Trippier:Corner set up Kane’s winner in a game where most of England’s play came down the left, restricting what he could do going forward. 7 Jordan Henderson: A Jekyll-and-Hyde performance on the ball and saw one fierce shot beaten away. Will need help in midfield against better teams. 6 England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? Ashley Young:Corner set up the opener and he saw plenty of the ball. But England’s lack of a left-foot option will not help him keep Danny Rose out of the team. 7 Raheem Sterling: Not his night. Missed an open goal, could not keep hold of the ball and ran down blind alleys. Needs a big performance against Panama - if he starts. 5 Dele Alli: Bravely soldiered on after picking up a knock that looked certain to end his game but could not reproduce what had been some great play early on. 6 Harry Kane (R) scores his first goal at a major tournament Credit: PA Jesse Lingard:Seemingly cursed not to score in the first half. Had one decent finish saved, saw another deflected over and a third hit the post. 7 Harry Kane: Rescued England again with a stoppage-time winner after taking less than 11 minutes to score on his World Cup debut. If only every chance fell to him. 8
For the second time in this World Cup, I'm having to chalk this game off as a catalogue of errors for the Video Assistant Referee while I'm also seriously disappointed with the sheer lack of consistency from the referee. England may have won the game but both the incidents involving Harry Kane were clear and obvious mistakes by the officials, and the referee, in particular, was poor in many aspects. What we are hoping for, ultimately, is that VAR covers up the cracks of referees not doing their jobs properly but unfortunately it was not delivered in this game. They were clear examples of grappling and holding in the penalty area with Harry Kane, on two separate occasions, and both decisions were easier to make than the Tunisia spot kick. The decision against Kyle Walker in the first half was fairly straightforward, it was naive from the England defender and he's probably not used to this because we've seen it every week in the Premier League. He was caught facing his own penalty area with his arm in a position leaving him exposed to the referee. Tunisia 1 England 2 | Kane snatches winning World Cup start for Southgate's men Clearly the VAR agreed with the referee and did not intervene. I heard the interview with Walker after the game and even he admitted in English football he'd have got away with it. But then the wrestling offence on Kane later in the half did not need to go to the VAR - having already punished England, the man in the middle should have punished Tunisia for it was a clear grappling offence, an obvious error by the match referee. Where was the VAR, who should have got involved? It was a huge mistake by the referee and his colleagues sat in the video room in Moscow. The second-half incident with Kane was equally obvious, yet the inconsistency from the officials again was staggering. There were other disappoinments too, with the Tunisia players going unpunished in their attempts to delay the game. They were clearly not standing the full ten yards on free kicks, particularly late in the match, and these are cautionable offences which were allowed to drift. Spectators will have walked away from this game disappointed and appalled by the inconsistency, also debating the efficiency of the VAR. Keith Hacket is the resident expert at You Are The Ref World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
VAR and refereeing inconsistency marred England's win over Tunisia
For the second time in this World Cup, I'm having to chalk this game off as a catalogue of errors for the Video Assistant Referee while I'm also seriously disappointed with the sheer lack of consistency from the referee. England may have won the game but both the incidents involving Harry Kane were clear and obvious mistakes by the officials, and the referee, in particular, was poor in many aspects. What we are hoping for, ultimately, is that VAR covers up the cracks of referees not doing their jobs properly but unfortunately it was not delivered in this game. They were clear examples of grappling and holding in the penalty area with Harry Kane, on two separate occasions, and both decisions were easier to make than the Tunisia spot kick. The decision against Kyle Walker in the first half was fairly straightforward, it was naive from the England defender and he's probably not used to this because we've seen it every week in the Premier League. He was caught facing his own penalty area with his arm in a position leaving him exposed to the referee. Tunisia 1 England 2 | Kane snatches winning World Cup start for Southgate's men Clearly the VAR agreed with the referee and did not intervene. I heard the interview with Walker after the game and even he admitted in English football he'd have got away with it. But then the wrestling offence on Kane later in the half did not need to go to the VAR - having already punished England, the man in the middle should have punished Tunisia for it was a clear grappling offence, an obvious error by the match referee. Where was the VAR, who should have got involved? It was a huge mistake by the referee and his colleagues sat in the video room in Moscow. The second-half incident with Kane was equally obvious, yet the inconsistency from the officials again was staggering. There were other disappoinments too, with the Tunisia players going unpunished in their attempts to delay the game. They were clearly not standing the full ten yards on free kicks, particularly late in the match, and these are cautionable offences which were allowed to drift. Spectators will have walked away from this game disappointed and appalled by the inconsistency, also debating the efficiency of the VAR. Keith Hacket is the resident expert at You Are The Ref World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage WorldCup - newsletter promo - end of article
What is it? England's second Group G match of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Gareth Southgate's men will hope to have got their campaign off to a winning start in their opening match against Tunisia, ahead of this game against Panama, as they attempt to break a cycle of heartache and humiliation at major tournaments that has plunged the birthplace of football to its lowest ebb. A loss to Iceland in the last 16 of the 2016 European Championship was perhaps the ultimate embarrassment. Or maybe that came when England endured their shortest World Cup campaign two years earlier - only in contention for eight days. Before that, there were penalty shoot-out losses in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012. And before that, who could forget Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal that denied England in the World Cup semi-finals in 1986? It's no surprise that the nation's expectations are low heading to Russia. England may have won the 1966 World Cup, but have only reached the semi-finals of a tournament twice since then. When is it? Sunday, June 24, 2018. Where is it? Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod. What time is kick-off? 1pm BST. What TV channel is it on? The BBC. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Latest team news England Gareth Southgate has named a bold World Cup squad focused on promise rather than experience. Uncapped Trent Alexander-Arnold is celebrating a maiden England call-up but Adam Lallana, Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere miss out. After months of speculation, scrutiny and conjecture, the 23 men charged with bringing the country success in Russia were revealed on Wednesday, May 16, along with the five-strong stand-by list for the tournament. England's joint second-most capped goalkeeper Hart was excluded from both lists as were Arsenal midfielder Wilshere and Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand - but Lallana provided the biggest shock. While the Liverpool attacking midfielder has not started a Premier League match since New Year's Day, he is a favourite of Southgate. However, his lack of fitness means he has to settle with a stand-by place alongside Jake Livermore, Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. England squad | World Cup 2018 Gary Cahill received a surprise reprieve having been excluded from March's squad - the only member of the group to have reached a half-century of caps. But the most striking inclusion is uncapped teenager Alexander-Arnold. An impressive performer in Liverpool's run to the Champions League final, the 19-year-old briefly trained with Southgate's side in March and has now been named in the senior squad for the first time. The other uncapped squad member is Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, having been selected ahead of 75-cap Hart to take the third spot behind Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was rewarded for his fine form and versatile Fabian Delph came in after winning the title at Manchester City, despite last playing for his country in November 2015. Ashley Young, rejuvenated at Manchester United, joined Danny Rose as left-back options instead of Bertrand, who will feel hard done by considering he played a key role for Southgate. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernan Dario Gomez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. World Cup 2018 venues What do we know about the Panama team? In a country better known for its baseball players and boxing champions, football will muscle into their territory when Panama make a first trip to the World Cup. The Central Americans aren't complete unknowns. Twice runners-up at the Concacaf Gold Cup, they qualified for the tournament in Russia by finishing ahead of the United States. That's despite the huge disparity between the countries: Panama has only 4 million people, while the US has about 320 million. Tougher challenges loom for Panama in June when Belgium and England are among the team's opponents in Group G. Roman Torres could be key to preventing Panama from leaking goals. The dreadlocked defender became a national hero after scoring the goal that clinched Panama's World Cup place, leading to a national holiday being declared. Here's a closer look at the Panama team: Coach Gomez is known for working his magic. After guiding his homeland of Colombia to the 1998 World Cup, he led Ecuador to the tournament for the first time in 2002. World Cup 2018 stadiums Goalkeepers Jaime Penedo, who started in goal in the last three qualifiers, helped the team finish second at the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2005 and in 2013, where he was named the best goalkeeper. But he has not been a regular starter recently at Dinamo Bucharest in Romania. Defenders The 32-year-old Torres of the Seattle Sounders club is trying to get back into full shape after a knee injury. He is set be joined in central defense by Fidel Escobar and Adolfo Machado. They will likely be flanked by Michael Murillo on the right and Eric Davis on the left. World Cup predictor Midfielders Gabriel Gomez and Anibal Godoy are expected to assume the defensive midfield roles. Alberto Quintero is likely to play on the left and Edgar Joel Barcenas could play on the right or in the center behind the striker to create more scoring chances. Forwards Expect a sole striker for the Belgium and England games. Gomez will have to decide on 37-year-old Blas Perez or 29-year-old Gabriel Torres, who has had a successful season with Chilean club Huachipato. Luis Tejada, known as the "Matador" for his lethal finishing, is 36 and is another aging option. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What are they saying? Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez hopes his team is a "dignified rival": "I hope people enjoy it instead of criticising and destroying the dream that we've achieved. "We have played Wales, who are more or less the same style (as England). We also played against Iran, who are like Tunisia. We have knowledge of what we'll come up against.” Latest Group G table World Cup 2018 Group G What are the odds? England to win 1/5 Draw 4/1 Panama to win 12/1 What's our prediction? To avoid embarrassing defeats at the World Cup, Panama have experimented with five defenders and they limited the damage in a friendly against Denmark in March to a 1-0 loss. England have often struggled to break defensive teams down, but once the first goal goes in, expect the floodgates to open. Predicted score: England 4 Panama 0.
England vs Panama, World Cup 2018: When is England's next game, what time does it start and what TV channel is it on?
What is it? England's second Group G match of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Gareth Southgate's men will hope to have got their campaign off to a winning start in their opening match against Tunisia, ahead of this game against Panama, as they attempt to break a cycle of heartache and humiliation at major tournaments that has plunged the birthplace of football to its lowest ebb. A loss to Iceland in the last 16 of the 2016 European Championship was perhaps the ultimate embarrassment. Or maybe that came when England endured their shortest World Cup campaign two years earlier - only in contention for eight days. Before that, there were penalty shoot-out losses in 1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 and 2012. And before that, who could forget Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" goal that denied England in the World Cup semi-finals in 1986? It's no surprise that the nation's expectations are low heading to Russia. England may have won the 1966 World Cup, but have only reached the semi-finals of a tournament twice since then. When is it? Sunday, June 24, 2018. Where is it? Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod. What time is kick-off? 1pm BST. What TV channel is it on? The BBC. World Cup 2018 | All you need to know Latest team news England Gareth Southgate has named a bold World Cup squad focused on promise rather than experience. Uncapped Trent Alexander-Arnold is celebrating a maiden England call-up but Adam Lallana, Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere miss out. After months of speculation, scrutiny and conjecture, the 23 men charged with bringing the country success in Russia were revealed on Wednesday, May 16, along with the five-strong stand-by list for the tournament. England's joint second-most capped goalkeeper Hart was excluded from both lists as were Arsenal midfielder Wilshere and Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand - but Lallana provided the biggest shock. While the Liverpool attacking midfielder has not started a Premier League match since New Year's Day, he is a favourite of Southgate. However, his lack of fitness means he has to settle with a stand-by place alongside Jake Livermore, Tom Heaton, James Tarkowski and Lewis Cook. England squad | World Cup 2018 Gary Cahill received a surprise reprieve having been excluded from March's squad - the only member of the group to have reached a half-century of caps. But the most striking inclusion is uncapped teenager Alexander-Arnold. An impressive performer in Liverpool's run to the Champions League final, the 19-year-old briefly trained with Southgate's side in March and has now been named in the senior squad for the first time. The other uncapped squad member is Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope, having been selected ahead of 75-cap Hart to take the third spot behind Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was rewarded for his fine form and versatile Fabian Delph came in after winning the title at Manchester City, despite last playing for his country in November 2015. Ashley Young, rejuvenated at Manchester United, joined Danny Rose as left-back options instead of Bertrand, who will feel hard done by considering he played a key role for Southgate. Panama The World Cup finals debutants have no injuries to report and Hernan Dario Gomez has a full-strength squad of relatively unknown but remarkably experienced players - the 24 men picked for the spring friendlies averaged 59 caps each - ready for Russia. World Cup 2018 venues What do we know about the Panama team? In a country better known for its baseball players and boxing champions, football will muscle into their territory when Panama make a first trip to the World Cup. The Central Americans aren't complete unknowns. Twice runners-up at the Concacaf Gold Cup, they qualified for the tournament in Russia by finishing ahead of the United States. That's despite the huge disparity between the countries: Panama has only 4 million people, while the US has about 320 million. Tougher challenges loom for Panama in June when Belgium and England are among the team's opponents in Group G. Roman Torres could be key to preventing Panama from leaking goals. The dreadlocked defender became a national hero after scoring the goal that clinched Panama's World Cup place, leading to a national holiday being declared. Here's a closer look at the Panama team: Coach Gomez is known for working his magic. After guiding his homeland of Colombia to the 1998 World Cup, he led Ecuador to the tournament for the first time in 2002. World Cup 2018 stadiums Goalkeepers Jaime Penedo, who started in goal in the last three qualifiers, helped the team finish second at the Concacaf Gold Cup in 2005 and in 2013, where he was named the best goalkeeper. But he has not been a regular starter recently at Dinamo Bucharest in Romania. Defenders The 32-year-old Torres of the Seattle Sounders club is trying to get back into full shape after a knee injury. He is set be joined in central defense by Fidel Escobar and Adolfo Machado. They will likely be flanked by Michael Murillo on the right and Eric Davis on the left. World Cup predictor Midfielders Gabriel Gomez and Anibal Godoy are expected to assume the defensive midfield roles. Alberto Quintero is likely to play on the left and Edgar Joel Barcenas could play on the right or in the center behind the striker to create more scoring chances. Forwards Expect a sole striker for the Belgium and England games. Gomez will have to decide on 37-year-old Blas Perez or 29-year-old Gabriel Torres, who has had a successful season with Chilean club Huachipato. Luis Tejada, known as the "Matador" for his lethal finishing, is 36 and is another aging option. Best-priced accumulators | New customer offers What are they saying? Panama coach Hernan Dario Gomez hopes his team is a "dignified rival": "I hope people enjoy it instead of criticising and destroying the dream that we've achieved. "We have played Wales, who are more or less the same style (as England). We also played against Iran, who are like Tunisia. We have knowledge of what we'll come up against.” Latest Group G table World Cup 2018 Group G What are the odds? England to win 1/5 Draw 4/1 Panama to win 12/1 What's our prediction? To avoid embarrassing defeats at the World Cup, Panama have experimented with five defenders and they limited the damage in a friendly against Denmark in March to a 1-0 loss. England have often struggled to break defensive teams down, but once the first goal goes in, expect the floodgates to open. Predicted score: England 4 Panama 0.
Player ratings: who performed and who didn't? England warned to expect tough approach from Panama ​ England vs Panama, World Cup 2018: When and where in Russia is the Group G match, what time does it start and what TV channel is it on? ​ Harry Kane said he might well score three like Cristiano Ronaldo. People tittered. Instead it was just the two for the England captain as he struck the goals to gain England a precious - in terms of points but also, almost as crucially, perception - victory in their opening Group G fixture against an obdurate, organised Tunisia. These were Kane’s first tournament goals and he, and England, are up and running. What a contribution from the captain. At times England wrestled with familiar failings. At times, Tunisia just wrestled and not least when it came to dealing with Kane who was dragged to the turf on at least two occasions inside the penalty area. The first probably was rightly not given, as John Stones had already committed a foul, but the second appeared a blatant penalty. After being overwhelmed at set-pieces early on the Tunisians resorted to grapple tactics which seemed to have hauled England down into a usual sense of frustration. The Tunisians swarmed around them like the midges and mosquitoes that plagued this stadium on the banks of the River Volga. That was until into second-half injury-time when Harry Maguire, who was also being regularly man-handled, finally found some space to meet a corner and flicked the ball towards the back-post where Kane had drifted free and headed home. Except it was not as simple as that. The forward could easily have sent the chance over the bar but he twisted his body, strained his neck and whipped it into the net. Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) What a finish and what a finish to this match. In a city where history hangs heavy England had felt their own footballing history burdening them once again after such a luminous start. Stay calm under pressure. Find a solution. They had also been key messages. And for once England eventually did just that. Gareth Southgate had urged England to attack the tournament, attack the World Cup. They did that also until adversity and errors struck. But they overcame them. They, hopefully, removed a mental block in doing so. How wonderful would that be? This result means that, for the first time in five tournaments, since 2006 in fact, England have won their opening game. Next up it is Panama and then Belgium and a last-16 place should now be in their grasp. The 2,000 England fans inside this stadium sang and sang at the final whistle. What a relief. There are issues. Defensively England remain far from assured with Ashley Young - whose place will be under threat from Danny Rose - and Maguire making some wrong decisions while debate will re-open over the effectiveness of Raheem Sterling who appeared shorn of confidence after a woeful early miss and lasted barely an hour before being replaced by the far more effective Marcus Rashford. Tunisia vs England shots on goal In terms of attacking intent, in terms of chances created the first-half was among England’s most impressive 45 minute periods for decades - even if it was let down by defensive frailty. England will rage about the penalty they conceded but, even before then, they should have been out of sight. Tunisia vs England shots on goal They missed chance after chance after chance and scored just once, striking the frame of the goal twice. They had to be more ruthless and it seemed they would be just that as Kane scored on 11 minutes as Stones met Young’s corner with a superb leap, an even more superb header and goalkeeper Mouez Hassen somehow clawed it out. Unfortunately for him it dropped to Kane who half-volleyed into the net from close-range. Luckily Kane was not on corners. Before that Hassen had kept Tunisia in it as he did well to divert Jesse Lingard’s deflected shot away for a corner after good work from Dele Alli. Even so Lingard had to score. Sterling, also, had to score but scuffed wide the goal beckoning while after conceding Hassen could not carry on, having already hurt his shoulder, and departed in tears. He had also denied Maguire, clawing away his header. The pattern continued: Lingard scuffed his volley into the side-netting, Kieran Trippier pulled a cross behind a host of team-mates and it started to become a concern that England had not already increased their advantage and that concern continued with some horribly lax defending with Kyle Walker was punished. Credit: GETTY IMAGES It felt foolish by Walker but England were nevertheless furious when the Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan deemed he had deliberately thrown his arm and caught Fakhreddine Ben Youssef in the face. The forward went down, claiming the offence and Roldan pointed to the penalty spot. Ferjani Sassi took seven steps back, strolled up and stroked his right footed shot into the corner of the net. Jordan Pickford guessed right, got a finger tip to the ball but was beaten. It was coolly executed. A sassy penalty by Sassi. Again focus had been lost by England. But they summoned the right response with Maguire’s header headed out on the goal-line and onto the bar. The rebound fell to Stones - who snatched at it. The ball rolled wide. Another Maguire header was met by Lingard who had time and space but his shot deflected over off a Tunisian back before the midfielder flicked the ball past substitute goalkeeper Farouk Ben Mustapha only for it to strike the outside of the post. England vs Tunisia Player ratings Tunisia had just three touches inside the England penalty area but somehow went in at half-time level. The England starting line-up was as expected, with nine players making their World Cup debuts, they had fewer caps between them than any for England in opening game in this competition for 52 years, just 22.5 on average, and making some of that inexperience had shown. It seemed to be the case in the second-half as England dominated but could not find a way through against a Tunisian side who defended ever deeper and were determined to hold on by any means they could. Time was running out and it felt England simply would not find a way; that they did not have the guile or ability to go with their desire. That was until injury-time. That was until Kane. Ronaldo got three goals against Spain. For England two were enough. 9:39PM Kane scored two goals despite eating midges "There were a lot more than we thought. We had a lot of bug spray on, before the game, and at half-time. I got some (flies) in the eye, some in my mouth." Bluuuuuurgh. 9:38PM Great news I am. https://t.co/5V9Xf7uidT— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) June 18, 2018 9:37PM Reaction Harry Kane meanwhile did what everyone kept telling him he needs to do: kept his nerve, saved his team, made a statement to the other leading strikers out here.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 18, 2018 THE LIMBS. LOOK AT THE LIMBS. CANCEL CLUB FOOTBALL LETS DO THIS 365 DAYS A YEAR https://t.co/KcQShfn63D— Eli (@ElMengem) June 18, 2018 "I know the pubs would have been erupting back home. I was that kid watching in the pubs before, I know what that's like" Hero @HKane sums up what it means to score the winner Watch the World Cup LIVE on @ITV#ENG#TUNENG#ThreeLionspic.twitter.com/gpESSQ9fUk— ITV Football (@itvfootball) June 18, 2018 9:33PM A bit of analysis Fascinating match. I've not seen an England team so confident, calm in possession and adept at building play from the back who don't also revert to type in the final few moments and throw on 18 strikers to hump the ball long to. Southgate's team built from the back and stayed patient. It moves the opposition around, makes them work hard and as soon as Rashford and Loftus-Cheek injected a bit of forward-thinking and pace to that second half, the movement and forward passing really caused problems. The other thing to commend Southgate for is his clear focus on set pieces. Maguire was brilliant as a target in the box and had it not been for the intervening hands and wrestling skills of Tunisia's defence, England would probably have scored more. Henderson was superb as a six, holding the line between the wing-backs during build-up and rarely roaming from his position. On the times he did attack, Alli and Lingard knew to watch the midfield and dropped back to maintain the shape. This is a well drilled, organised and disciplined England and the benefit of that is the forwards can have way more fun, able to rely on a solid base further back. 9:25PM Kane with his MOTM trophy Credit: FIFA I'm pretty sure there's no beer inside it. 9:23PM What a find this is 1: John Barnes vs Ireland in 1990 2: Harry Maguire vs Tunisia There's only one way to beat them Get round the back pic.twitter.com/mTTLwlxLE3— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 18, 2018 9:22PM England fans going nuts England fans going nuts after Harry Kane’s late goal! #ENG#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/vltfWN7Wc0— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 9:21PM Kyle Walker I think the entire squad is going to a press interview at this rate. Here's Walker: "It shows the work we've put in, believing in ourselves, the system, got the goal which always feels better in the later stages. "I think in the Premier League probably would have got away with it. Trips gave us a shout to leave it so I just tried to shield the ball. "We created a lot of chances but we're not the finished article. There's two more important games we need to go and pick up points now. "I'm not a big talker, I know everyone likes to have their own thoughts but I said I'll run. "It's good. It's a pat on the back for us but there's two important games. We just prepare well and hopefully the points will come." 9:17PM Southgate says "I think the way we kept playing even though the clock was running down, we waited for good opportunities and I think we deserved the win. We had total control of the game second half, strong on set plays all night. Even had we drawn, which would have made life difficult, I would have been proud of the performance. "We'll do well to make as many chances in a game in this tournament. The movement, the control from the back with the ball. Good teams score goals and [keeping the ball helped tire Tunisia]. "The squad have been brilliant, the team selection was so difficult and to bring the substitutes on and them make the impact they did, everyone's worked so hard to come together. "We've given ourselves a great platform to build from, in particular the level of performance but there's a lot of work to do still. Panama will be a tough test in a different way. We can enjoy tonight, I hope everyone at home enjoys tonight. "He's a top, top striker and I'm delighted for him. It's great we've got him in the team, he took his goals very well." 9:11PM Harry Maguire with less of a 'by numbers' interview "We thought the penalty was a bit soft. "We stuck to our shape and knew we'd get the next goal. "It was tough out there, really warm, started well but missed clearcut chances which you don't get at this level very often. "We knew we'd get more but they changed the shape to match us to a three, more like a five. "It was as much a penalty as what they got. He's always going to get that chance, he's going to be a huge player for us. "There were a couple of nervy passes in the first. It's a big occasion, my first game at this high pressure, you've got to focus, concentrate and I felt I grew into the game. "It's a massive three points but it's only three points and we've got another big game coming up." 9:07PM Player ratings Who stood out for you? Here's our verdict: England vs Tunisia Player ratings 9:06PM Matt Law's verdict England 2-1 Tunisia | Did Southgate's big calls pay off? 9:06PM Jordan Henderson says "I thought we kept going. It paid off tonight with a big win. "I still felt positive, we wanted to get the game going again. We didn't maybe we were thinking about the chances we missed, in the World Cup you've got to keep going. In the second half we did that, kept fighting, didn't play as well but they defended deeper, a lot better as well. "We said you can be friends off the field but on the field you're fighting your mate next to you, for each other. For the whole process we've said keep going to the final whistle and think that showed tonight." 9:03PM Alan Shearer says "I would love one of the VAR people to come out and explain that. They told us before the start they were going to keep an eye on that." 9:02PM This is how many chances it took England to win that Tunisia vs England shots on goal 9:01PM Harry Kane post-match "I thought we played really well, could have scored a few more, credit to the lads we kept going, got to the last second and we're absolutely buzzing. "We spoke a lot about togetherness, we've got a great bond off the pitch which is nice. "I think a few corners we had so much joy from corners, they were trying to stop us and hold us, that's football, that's the ref and it shows good character to do what we've done. "I'm really proud. We've done a lot of work, it was tough, we got the nerves and excitement out the way. I'm so proud." 8:59PM The goal in pictures Credit: AP Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: GETTY IMAGES Credit: PA 8:57PM Tunisia players leave the pitch in tears The coaching staff get on the pitch and console an absolutely gutted team of Tunisians. They were so close to a point that could have given real hope of qualification there. Belgium didn't look too special earlier today so there is a chance but it's probably fair to write off Panama at this stage. 8:54PM What a time to win it "Release!" is Martin Keown's rather-too-much information feeling at the final whistle. England showed real character to stay in that one, drawing that would have been a very pre-2018 England thing to do. 8:53PM FULL TIME That's it! England win and it's deserved. Two goals from Harry Kane seal the three points in a hard-fought win over a tricky Tunisia side. 8:52PM 90 mins +3 - England 2 Tunisia 1 Lingard off, Dier off. Southgate is delighted, he was bouncing along the touchline when that goal went in. Interesting that Tunisia decided not to pick up Kane and put him on the floor this time. 8:49PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! IT'S HARRY KANE! Tunisia 1 - 2 England (Harry Kane, 90 + 1 min) The corner is brilliant! Maguire heads it on and Kane is at hte back post - unmarked! Nobody hauls him to the ground this time and he turns the header into the goal from a few yards. It's a brilliant finish! 8:49PM 90 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 It's still all England. They do really well to pass to half way... and then run out of ideas. Or have they? Maaaaaybe. Loftus-Cheek wins a corner. Four minutes of added time to come. 8:48PM 89 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Loftus-Cheek has done well since coming on. He's in the box, turns his man and has options in the six yard box! He pulls it across goal and Rashford can shoot - but he leaves it! Lingard misses his kick. Rashford reacts furiously - he must have been given a shout to leave it. Dreadful call by Lingard if that is the case - he was surrounded. Loftus-Cheek turns his man, gets to the goal line... and overruns it. Goal kick. Martin Keown has suggested England have "under estimated the heat". A perilous situation indeed. 8:46PM 87 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Trippier hits a cross into the box, it's cleared by the first man. Loftus-Cheek goes on a nice run but none of his striker friends seem to read it. Tunisia are caught offside. 8:44PM 85 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 I hate to say it but Rashford has done more in the last five minutes than Sterling did for most of the game. He's won a corner now. OK. So. Here we have a thing. The goalkeeper has come to attack the corner and has literally punched John Stones in the head. The referee has given a free-kick to Tunisia. The goalkeeper punches a defender in the head and wins a free-kick. Am I going mental? Is this... is this... what is this? How is that a free-kick to the goalkeeper? I'm confused. Things don't look the same anymore. Am I through the looking glass? Inside the machine? Only time will tell my friends. And at the moment, Tunisia are wasting that time. Khazri walks off the pitch slooooooooowwwwwwwwwly to be replaced by Khalifa. 8:41PM 83 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 The free-kick is high to the back post... and Tunisia win a throw. Can they improve on this in the final 10 minutes? They've hardly had the ball in the England final third. Tunisia vs England 8:39PM 81 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Dele Alli off, Loftus-Cheek on. He should help with moving the ball around the Tunisia half. Henderson is fouled 35 yards out. Tunisia have defended really well tonight. 8:39PM 80 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Urgh. Young's free-kick is dreadful. Over the bar, nowhere near. Poor. Etc. 8:37PM 78 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Alli goes for a one-two, gets wiped out, and it's a free-kick to England in BECKHAM TERRITORY! Young can hit these. 8:36PM 77 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Promising attack from England! Rashford moves into the box, fires it wide to Trippier. Blocked. Rashford joins in again, twists, turns, twists, turns, and passes back to Henderson who hits a high pass to the back post... and Kane's attempted volley pass to Lingard produces nothing. 8:34PM 75 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sliti is taken off, Ben Amor is on. He's more of a defensive midfielder than Sliti, who had a decent game tonight. Credit: AP The Tunisian goalkeeper Hassen is on the bench with his arm in a sling now. 8:32PM 73 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia have had to deal with pressure for the last 20 minutes or so but could now decide to use some energy taking the game to England. Sliti strides forward, the space opens up... he shoots! It's awful. Like swinging at the ball with a golf club. He punts into the air and it flies wide. 8:30PM 71 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have been lifted immediately! Alli gets in behind the defence and is one on one! But the goalkeeper is awake and quickly smothers. Alli is said to be offside anyway. He isn't. This referee has made some interesting decisions today. 8:28PM 70 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 First sub: Sterling off, Rashford on. Will he take this free-kick? It looks like Trippier and Young fancy it. Trippier takes it... and it's wide. Rashford is involved straight away! He carries the ball forward quickly and pokes it ahead of Kane... but a brilliant tackle by the defender takes it away from him. 8:26PM 68 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Possession: Tunisia vs England England have turned possession round even if they're not finding too many chances to really attack with it. Over the course of the game you'd probably say they've had the better of times. Tunisia vs England shots on goal England keep going backwards and sideways with their passing. Tunisia are defending with a low block and surrounding England players on the ball... and Kane has won a free-kick 25 yards out. 8:24PM 66 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson is forward now so Alli drops to the six position with Lingard deeper too. Walker carries the ball out, Pickford comes off his line to help with the passing, Young has to go backwards. The midfield are getting caught too high up the pitch and the passing is all going sideways. 8:23PM 64 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England are running a little low on ideas now and Martin Keown has suggested the heat in the stadium might be the cause. Here's a promising move though. Sterling on the left, Young doesn't read the backheel and then as soon as he touches the back of the defender, it's a free-kick to Tunisia. 8:22PM 62 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 This time no England players are thrown to the ground at the corner and Kane keeps the ball alive at the goal line. England keep up the pressure and then Sterling is... there's a free-kick. Sterling's holding the back of his marker's shirt. 8:19PM 60 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Good, patient passing from England in the final third. Kane can't get on the end of a cross from the right, Young tries an effort from the left, and Trippier then wins a corner after a brilliant long ball from Henderson finds him. Henderson's passing has been superb. 8:18PM 58 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Great running off the ball by Lingard. He spots Henderson is in danger of being overrun and drops back beside him to help the move. He doesn't get the ball but just being there gives security and an option to England. 8:15PM 56 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England have Tunisia pinned back. It's a really high press and is making Tunisia work hard at the moment. Tunisia are so good with the ball though and manage to escape the first line of press. Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS In other news, a photographer has found a bat on the pitch. [Tyldesley] "But is there a Batman on the pitch? England could certainly do with one now!" [/Tyldesley] 8:12PM 54 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Ohhhhhhhh Khazri is in behind Maguire - who has been poor defensively tonight - and Pickford comes out his box to defend it! The referee blows for an offside (incorrectly) and ends the move. England get forward, Young's cross is cleared... England win a free-kick at halfway. 8:11PM 52 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Kane's been wrestled to the floor again. That's incredible. Honestly it's shocking - what is the VAR doing? This is infuriating to watch. England denied another huge shout at a penalty - if the player can't attack the ball because he's been thrown to the floor, surely it's a foul? Ah well. The corner doesn't end well for England because both Henderson and Kane have been taken out of the game. 8:09PM 50 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia seem calmer, more composed at the start of this half. Aaaand Meriah has passed straight out for a throw. Curse of the... live blogger. Tunisia moving the ball around really well here, England are having to work to cover the pitch and Tunisia are in the final third now. But Sterling's nipped in and the counter is on! Corner to England. 8:07PM 48 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Tunisia start well until a foul on Henderson gives England possession back. Sassi has a go at the referee for that decision too but it's a clear free-kick. England pass around the back for a while and Walker is on the right of the three centre-backs. Would there have been a penalty in the first half if Stones had been the central CB? 8:04PM KICK OFF 2 Dele Alli is OK to continue! He's back. Sterling is having to bat away about a million midges from his face. I realise it's hard to see them so I've highlighted the ones I can see easily in that photo. If you've ever been to Scotland in September, you will understand how annoying these things are. 8:03PM Just a friendly reminder That after a VAR review, this is not a penalty. Please remember that I am a neutral observer here. Anyway. Let's move on now, if we get another half as entertaining as that we'll all have a great time. 8:01PM England's xG is promising First half xG map for #Eng-#Tun good news: the football is coming home bad news: the football is a very dumb sport that no one likes pic.twitter.com/10Cvv5Mfj4— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) June 18, 2018 7:59PM England must improve their finishing Tunisia vs England shots on goal It's all very well creating the chances but England - obviously - have to take them. Sterling's miss was a dreadful effort as was Stones' scuffed volley attempt inside the box as Tunisia were scrambling. Oh and Lingard's too. They were all bad at it. 7:56PM This is an interesting decision He's literally thrown him to the ground. 7:54PM Rio Ferdinand blames Walker for the penalty "If Walker's body position was right there wouldn't be a penalty. A centre-half facing his own goal is criminal." 7:53PM Average shape Average touch positions (half time) It's all about the running from England's central midfielders. You can see how they all seem to be in central areas on that average position and it's really causing damage. One of Lingard, Alli, Kane or Sterling run from deep positions in behind the defenders and a ball over the top or down the wing puts them into situations where England can attack. Look how many touches they've had in the Tunisia box already: Tunisia vs England 7:49PM No flies on this one But there were before the game... That was really exciting. England created heaps of chances but as Alan Shearer has just said "at this level you have to score them". 7:48PM HALF TIME Oocha beasties. That was some half. England looked incredible for 20 minutes and then a bit of sloppiness and a silly foul has given their opponents a way back in. Sound familiar? 7:47PM 45 mins +2 - England 1 Tunisia 1 Henderson puts Pickford in a spot of bother but instead of staying calm, Pickford tries to launch the ball as many miles away as possible and ends up giving away a throw-in. England working their way forward in search of another goal before half time. Maaloul has had the ball hit off the side of his torso and has gone down howling. There's no way he's winded and Trippier goes across to find out what has actually happened to him. 7:44PM 45 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Maguire is England's most dangerous player at the moment! He heads a free-kick across the box and tees up Lingard for a sitter inside 12 yards. He fires over the bar. Awful. It turns out there's a deflection, so I withdraw my harsh criticism. The corner is gathered low by the goalkeeper in the second phase of the set piece. LINGARD IS IN AGAIN! Another pass over the top! One on one with the goalkeeper after a run from deep but his touch rolls agonisingly wide of the near post, hitting it instead of rolling in! So unlucky! 7:42PM 43 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 That shove on Kane in the penalty area is comical. I don't know what VAR are doing or whether I missed the seminar that first confirmed the collision of WWE and football into one super sport, but England should have a penalty. Happy to be proved wrong! 7:41PM 41 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 England win another free-kick in the Tunisia half. It's too far away to shoot, Trippier will take... but it's not up to much. Alli chases into the corner and wins back... and now there's a Tunisia throw. Credit: REUTERS 7:40PM 39 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Sterling wins a free-kick in the corner. Delph is getting ready to come on but Alli will be allowed to attack this free-kick first. Trippier hooks it in... and it's a panic in the box! Kane goes down in the area, it's headed across the box and onto the bar... Stones comes to swing a foot at it but gets it all wrong. Oh my god how is that not a penalty. Kane was literally thrown to the ground by his man-marker there. 7:37PM 37 mins - England 1 Tunisia 1 Well, well, well. Here we are. "You've got to be so careful in the modern game. I'm not sure I could play today!" says Keown. Maguire's made another mistake! Tunisia have three men, a man over... but the ball doesn't go right to him and is played left instead. Khazri slips... and the move is gone. Dele Alli is going to have to come off. 7:35PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL! TUNISIA HAVE EQUALISED! Goal: Tunisia ( 35 min ) Sassi steps up, does a little shimmy in his run up and slots it low and hard into the bottom left corner. Pickford is soooo close to it. 7:34PM PENALTY TO TUNISIA! Instant decision by the referee! The ball is hooked into the area and Walker whacks the forward in the face! VAR has reviewed it and it's a definite penalty... Walker is demonstrating he was putting his arms out wide like wings to work out his position. Card: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Kyle Walker, 33 min) Instead he's caught the striker in the face! 7:33PM 33 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Sterling drops to take a pass to feet, fires it out to Trippier and gets a return pass. The ball is moved to the box, crossed low into the area... but the defender blocks at the front corner of the six yard box. Dele Alli is clutching his thigh and doing a bunch of stretching. Walker has moved to the central centre-back position. 7:31PM 31 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Bronn has just gone absolutely nuts at the referee for daring to give a free-kick against him after rolling the ball up his arm like a basketball freestyler. I don't understand footballers sometimes. This is a great spot for a free-kick. Trippier chips it to the back post and MAGUIRE IS THERE! But the goalkeeper saves confidently. England keep up the high press and win possession back but Tunisia find a way to break. 7:28PM 29 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Great delivery by Khazri but it's headed away inside 10 yards. England survive! Tunisia seem a little braver now though and are starting to get on the ball and run with it. 7:27PM 27 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Pickford is quick off his line to close down a pass into space for Khazri. Maguire's been caught in possession though and suddenly Tunisia are all over them! The crowd gets excited and England panic! Maguire throws himself at the shot and deflects it behind. England completely switched off there. Poor. Tunisia corner. 7:24PM 24 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The corner is taken by Khazri but misses everyone in the box. Sliti chases, beats Alli to the ball and then fancies a shot himself from distance... but launches it miles away. The ball's somewhere in the crowd. Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Naim Sliti, 23 min) Kane finds Young on the left, Young cuts inside and chips to Lingard at the back post. Oh my word he's unmarked... the ball lands at his feet! He must score! Lingard misses! Miss: Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Jesse Lingard, 24 min) I hate the cliche but that seemed like he too much time and didn't know what to with himself. 7:22PM 22 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 Credit: PA England are knocking the ball about beautifully and get men forward but Tunisia steal the ball and can break! But Young is quickly on the case and England win it back. I am so impressed by this performance so far. Martin Keown says "dare I say it, this is some of the best football we've seen at the tournament so far." But now Tunisia have found a way to attack and it is down the right wing. Bronn gets all the way to the box and wins a corner. He's meant to be a centre-back and Young hasn't dealt with it well, leaving his position. 7:20PM 20 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 It's like a 3-3-3-1 formation really, or it is when Sterling drops slightly deeper. Will Tunisia do as Nigeria did and copy the shape for the second half? Or immediately? Because they're really struggling. 7:19PM 18 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 England's shape is working really well. Henderson, who I've doubts about as a six, is holding it all together in the build-up play. He needs to keep this up all game long to ensure England's build up works from the back. England - honestly - are playing really well. This is a fantastic move now, there's loads of running off the ball, there are numbers in midfield... and Henderson has a chance to shoot from distance after Trippier's cross is missed by all. He forces a decent save from the new goalkeeper. 7:16PM 16 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 After a lengthy break, Pickford hoofs the ball up the pitch and England win the second ball. Tunisia press them high up the pitch and force a goal kick as Walker has to try and ping it away rather than keep up the short passes. 7:14PM 14 mins - England 1 Tunisia 0 The goalkeeper has gone down again. Poor guy. That save was awesome. The physios attend to him as the substitute goalie gets warmed-up. Hassen has to leave the pitch in tears, given kisses on the way by his taemmates. He's going to be replaced by Mustapha. 7:11PM GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! ENGLAND HAVE SCORED! Stones absolutely batters a header at goal and the goalkeeper somehow claws it out of the net with an incredible, strong hand. He can only pass it to Kane though, who makes no mistake. Will the goal be given to Kane or Stones? I think it might have been over the line! Tunisia 0 - 1 England (Harry Kane, 11 min) 7:11PM 11 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 England win a corner as Kane finds space to take a shot from 20 yards. Young comes across to take it. 7:10PM 10 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 The crowd are cheering Tunisia's passing but as Martin Keown has jsut said "Oh they can definitely play". And as I type that a pass goes straight out for a throw. 7:08PM 8 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 What a start by England though. They look fired up and are moving really well. Hassen, the goalkeeper, still doesn't look happy with his... shoulder? Goalkeeping ability? The scenario he finds himself in? Something's up anyway. Ben Youssef.F has gone down holding his chin as Young puts his forearm into his face. I'm not sure that's intentional but it definitely hurt. Will the referee review it? Nope. He is safe to wound more with his deadly elbow. Beware, sweet Tunisians. 7:06PM 6 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 CHANCE FOR STERLING! Ooooohhhh he's missed an open goal. It's OK though, he's offisde. Well, Lingard is. Even though he's not. If that makes sense. Lingard is played in on goal, passes across the box and Sterling is at the back post but makes a total mess of things. The goalkeeper's down on the floor receiving treatment but I'm not sure why. They're trying to fix his arm... but he didn't touch anything with it. Is he just trying to calm this down? 7:03PM 4 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Great pass! Alli is in down the right! He's in the box after a brilliant pass by Henderson but the cross is blocked and it drops for LINGAAAARD - SAVED! Great save by the goalkeeper and it's a corner! Maguire comes up for the set piece and attacks the header... it's a free header, it bounces into the turf and the goalie scrambles to touch it away. Tunisia ball. 7:01PM 2 mins - England 0 Tunisia 0 Trippier tries a pass over the top into the right channel for Lingard but puts it out for a goal kick after England spend some time getting to know the ball. Tunisia build from the back... but Alli has stolen it in their half. Kane loses possession... but now the goalkeeper has passed out for a throw-in. He looks nervous. 7:00PM KICK OFF AAAAARGH IT'S FINALLY TIME! England get the game started! 6:58PM The referees Three are from Colombia and one is Costa Rican. 6:57PM Singing check I've checked every England player and each one is singing the national anthem. Well done. Passion wise... I have to say it's not great. All low register, no diaphragm, no great feel - I just don't believe it, you know? But maybe that's their style. 6:55PM National anthems 6:54PM Who's going to win? The players are coming out onto the pitch! Here we go! But there's time to put a bit of cash on it! And we even have some tips for you. Betting guide: prediction and tips for England v Tunisia 6:53PM Stay up to date We've got some great little bits for you to play with and keep you up to date during the tournament. I particularly recommend joining our Whatsapp group so you can get news, updates and analysis sent to your phone! World Cup whatsapp promo 6:49PM Paul Hayward in Russia "A distinct absence of royalty and government ministers on the VIP list in Volgograd, but English football is represented by Sol Campbell, David Gill and Lindsay Skoll, Britain's deputy ambassador in Moscow. And Arsene Wenger, an honorary Englishman." Credit: GETTY IMAGES 6:48PM The importance of England's wing-backs Another clever little bit of problem solving from Southgate has been addressing the lack of a left-winger - that other English tradition. Wing-backs are the solution and having them has ensured that central attacking midfielders like Alli, Sterling and Lingard can play in the same team without being shunted out into ineffective positions. If Nigeria had the ball on the right (in a recent friendly), Ashley Young pushed high up the left side of the pitch, if Nigeria were on the left, Kieran Trippier pushed forward. In possession, the player opposite the side the ball is on pushes high and wide to offer a switched pass. Here's Young doing exactly that: The full-back on the opposite side of the pitch to the ball pushes high to provide an outlet Credit: England ITV The shape becomes a 3-1-4-2 at times as the wing-backs join in attacks, stretching the pitch and opening up space for the central midfielders to run into or pass into. England in their attacking shape And because they are wing-backs rather than wingers, Young and Trippier must hold slightly deeper positions, meaning they are usually in place to either receive a switched pass, free to attack space at the back post or simply act as a means of stretching the pitch. England Ashley Young gif During attacks in the final third, this means England have a heap of different runners all moving into similar positions - something incredibly difficult to defend against. Here's an example of the different runs England made during a dangerous attack against Nigeria. Young is the player free on the left. England flood the box with multiple runners in attack Credit: England ITV Nigeria 6:46PM That England training shirt though Credit: FIFA I'm such a fan of this training top. And I'm Scottish. Can you imagine the confusion inside my brain? I'm saying this should be the actual England kit rather than the plain Jane one that they have. Credit: FIFA 6:45PM Gareth Southgate: "The time for talking's finished" Really looking forward to the challenge, looking forward to watching the players perform. We've got some really good characters in the starting team and the squad itself. It's not just about tonight, first of all there's three games to get through but we're looking forward to tonight's match. How will Tunisia approach this? Well if it's what we've seen probably 4-5-1, they were very well organised in their last game against Spain, they use the ball very well so its a threat. To win any game in a World Cup is difficult so we've got to be at our best. Who issues the rallying cry now? It's me! I've got to come up with something else, they don't like to do it. The time for talking's finished, we've got to perform tonight. 6:40PM Let's get pumped Unfortunately, as far as I'm aware, Tunisia don't have quite as iconic a pop record to spur their players on. So in pursuit of balance, I will award them one of the greatest songs ever written: 6:35PM The stadium The BBC have just shown footage of England players spraying themselves with bug spray. There are a heap of flies causing them bother and weirdly, according to Patrice Evra earlier, it really is a hindrance. He played in a game with flies everywhere but they only filled one half. Matt Law has just sent me this: The flies are already annoying Raheem Sterling, who is trying to swat them away while he warms up. England's players have now got out the deet and are covering themselves in it to try to get rid of the flies. 6:31PM Frank Lampard on the rivalry at club level having an effect on England squads Lampard "We're so competitive that the idea of coming to be a team is not so simple as Argentina who come from all over the world." Alan Shearer "I don't agree cliques made a difference. Spain had Real Madrid and Barcelona." 6:30PM Rio Ferdinand on his past England managers "There was elements of some of the managers that we didn't like. Tactically we were very rigid under Cappello too, 4-4-2. Gerrard, Lampard, Hargreaves, Beckham, Scholes we payed 4-4-2 without any ability to move and be fluid. The buck stops with us as players." 6:28PM England are playing in red Credit: FIFA Tunisia get the white because they are technically the home team. Credit: FIFA 6:24PM Lampard on Southgate "He's played a blinder so far!" says Lampard of Southgate's job with England. Rio Ferdinand is impressed too: "It was totally different when we played. It was us vs the press, we hated them, they hated us. Gareth was in those squads and now he's totally changed it and integrated them" 6:22PM Tactics tactics tactics Here's me talking about some of England's tactics and the importance of the wing-backs tonight. 6:19PM Matt Law updates from the stadium "We are all covered in deet inside the Volgograd Arena, but it's not making much difference. The flies are everywhere!" Sounds... really annoying. In case you weren't sure, deet is insect repellent. 6:12PM Another nice England stat 248 - England's starting XI has a cumulative total of 248 caps between them; the lowest by an England starting XI in an international tournament since June 1962 (246 caps v Bulgaria). Fresh.#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN#WorldCuppic.twitter.com/UrcT1fAoCC— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 6:11PM Who are Tunisia's key players? Youssef Msakni is Tunisia's star player, the main creator and the usual source of goals. He is injured and didn't make it to the World Cup, which is pretty sad. Without him, the job of creating scoring opportunities has to be shared by the rest of the team - but who's any good at that? The best player actually available... is probably Wahbi Khazri, who had a decent season on loan at Rennes but when he's played for Sunderland he has been less than impressive. Certainly whenever I've seen him play I haven't though 'wow what a player' and you know that's legit because I support Aberdeen. Most players make me do that. There really aren't any real standouts in the Tunisia team - they are strong as a unit but individually shouldn't cause too many problems. Traditionally England's problem has been the exact opposite. Let's see what happens! 6:05PM Southgate's unfamiliar team 9 - For their 9th successive World Cup tournament, England's starting XI in their opening game have never all previously started a England game together before. Unfamiliar.#WorldCup#ENG#TUN#ENGTUN— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 18, 2018 Southgate must be fairly pleased with what he's seen in training for this to be the case! 6:03PM The Tunisia team I've finally managed to find the official Tunisia Twitter account. Here it is: ��⚪ OFFICIEL : Le 11 de départ de la Tunisie face à l'Angleterre : #TUNENG ������������������ #TUN#CM2018 Hassen- Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul - Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti- Badri, F.Ben Youssef, Khazri. pic.twitter.com/QVvLaAahhA— Tunisie Football (@tunisiefootball) June 18, 2018 Tunisia Hassen; Bronn, S.Ben Youssef, Meriah, Maaloul; Skhiri, Sassi, Sliti, Badri, F.Ben Youssef; Khazri 5:58PM Jason Burt on England's chances 5:54PM England fans 'outnumbered' England fans admit to feeling outnumbered by their Tunisian counterparts, but remain hopeful of a victory. 5:53PM Inside the stadium Credit: FIFA The players are out on the pitch having a look around. Credit: FIFA 5:49PM England's team England (3-5-2) Pickford; Stones, Walker, Maguire, Trippier, Young; Henderson, Alli, Lingard; Sterling, Kane. 5:48PM The team is in! Here it is: the #ThreeLions line-up for our opening game at the 2018 #WorldCup. pic.twitter.com/FNHUHn2vAk— England (@England) June 18, 2018 5:46PM Team news should be here very soon England Formation Builder In the meantime you can pick your own starting XI. It'll very likely be a 3-5-2, which looks like a 5-3-2 in defence and a 3-1-4-2 in attack. I'd have Kane and Sterling up front, Alli and... maybe Lingard as AMC and then Delph at six. Rose left, Walker right and Cahill, Stones... and someone else in defence. Maybe Walker actually. 5:43PM Fans making their way into the stadium Credit: GETTY IMAGES How will the players' nerves be just now? So often they fall apart mentally at these tournaments but with that lovely looking sky maybe they'll be all relaxed and chill. Our man Paul Hayward has written this: It's now or never for England - time to cure the World Cup chaos 5:37PM The bus is here HONK HONK HONK! [Tyldesley] "England have parked the bus successfully before the game, but will Tunisia do so during it?" [/Tyldesley] England have arrived #TSworldcup#threelionspic.twitter.com/k6EqWi3PUx— Nigel Adderley (@nadderley) June 18, 2018 5:36PM My favourite Tunisia fact It's where they filmed Tatooine scenes in Star Wars! [Puts on Clive Tyldesley hat] "But will England's players have the Force tonight?" [/Tyldesley] Top 10 | Countries to star in Star Wars 5:32PM Tunisia's World Cup record World Cup record: Tunisia It's not great. 5:29PM This is nice to see Tunisia and England fans making friends in Russia... �� pic.twitter.com/NhjptB4cUT— COPA90 (@COPA90) June 18, 2018 I can't confirm but I'd imagine I think I'm safe in assuming a few people in England may have already gathered in lovely pubs too. Is it worth going early to get a seat? Personally, I quite enjoy the thrill of standing up, mostly because it ensures you can't spill a table of drinks when you go bezerk if your team scores. 5:23PM Where is today's game? That would be the Volgograd Arena, which is in - you guessed it - Volgograd, Russia. World Cup 2018 stadium: Volgograd Arena In real life, it looks like this: Credit: PA A bit like the Colosseum, if it had been made by enormous metal spiders. Or as though the designer found it in a book of absent minded doodles he'd made during his boring real job. 5:18PM Meanwhile, in Group G Belgium are leading Panama after Dries Mertens' superb volley. You can read all about that over in Rob Bagchi's liveblog but come back for the England build-up. And Tunisia, of course. As for both teams' future rivals, I'd say Belgium don't look all that, and Panama are nowhere near as poor as some may have expected. For Belgium, imagine Wigan but with some much better players. The system has massive gaps and England - assuming they got off to a decent start - should be able to deal with both them and Panama comfortably. 5:11PM Jamie Carragher on Southgate Carragher on Southgate 5:05PM How will England approach this game? I spent ages before the World Cup kicked-off researching several teams' tactical approach to these finals. Here's my take on England. World Cup 2018 tactics: England's experimental phase and how Gareth Southgate can bring football home 5:00PM It's England in a World Cup! Hello everyone and welcome to our live coverage of England vs Tunisia, a massive first appearance of the 2018 World Cup for Gareth Southgate's band of merry men. And they do appear to be pretty happy this time - the tournament tactics have extended beyond what happens on the pitch. Nothing's been left to chance! But England are going to need luck if they are to go far. Tunisia might not have the calibre of player you'd normally see steaming around the Premier League but as a team they're very capable and actually really talented on the ball. Southgate has made it clear in all his pre-match chats on camera that Tunisia move the ball well and are technically proficient and by all accounts, England's players aren't underestimating them either. The hope will be, for England fans, that they can stay composed, enjoy the game and show off some of their own silky skills. Credit: AFP The big question though: are England any good? It's really hard to tell but as a neutral (Scottish...) I'd say they're a solid mid-level team on a par with someone like Denmark. There's a lack of composure and vision in midfield and it means creating chances has to be done in a different way. Southgate's solution to this issue has been to up the tempo of passing, get attacking midfielders in advanced central positions where they can dart around in space and with three central defenders, a defensive shield. They want to bypass the midfield and move the ball down the channels quickly, getting it into the box when in the final third and provide Harry Kane with ammunition to take a shot or two. He loves taking shots too. The team news will be in soon and then we'll find out exactly how Southgate is approaching this one. The players know the team. Let's hope it's a good one!