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Tunisia coach Maaloul targets World Cup opener against England

03 December 2017

The camera then switches to the TV, and captures the moment the Three Lions are drawn in Group G - alongside Belgium, Panama and Tunisia.

But they begin nearly 2,000 kilometres away against Tunisia in Volgograd - in a stadium built on one of the main sites of the Battle of Stalingrad, one of the bloodiest episodes of the Second World War - on Monday, June 18.

"That is the most important thing for us".

Gareth Southgate's side also have Panama, who came through the Concacaf round, on June 24 in Nizhy Novgorod.

STAFF  GettyImages
STAFF GettyImages

He added: "We are a group of players with an incredible responsibility, they are true ambassadors for Belgium football".

That was the Carthage Eagles' very first game at the finals but they have failed to win any of their 11 World Cup games since - the longest winless run of any team in Russian Federation next year.

"It is interesting to be starting slightly later, with what that means at the end of the season".

"But at least it prepares us if we are going through for playing some of the good sides further down the line. That needs a bit of working out now".

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Southgate, who will be leading England for the first time at a major competition after they qualified with an unbeaten record in the qualification process, refused to place any expectations on his squad and preferred to focus on making continued improvements in the months leading up to the finals.

The most hotly anticipated match in Group H will be England against Belgium, a game likely to feature a large number of Premier League players, from Kevin De Bruyne to Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, and they are coached by Roberto Martínez.

"Belgium are the team in the best form just now but I think we can negotiate the match against England".

England secured their spot in Russian Federation after topping their qualifying group in a relatively easy run of games and Gareth Southgate will be hoping for another simple route to the Luzhniki Stadium for the World Cup final.

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"I go back to the last two tournaments".

"They are clearly favourites from what we have seen in recent years, with the coach they have, and then second place I honestly think will be between England and us".

With all this considered, it's now high time we had a peek at what England's players (might?) be wearing as they take to the field in Russian Federation.

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Tunisia coach Maaloul targets World Cup opener against England