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England fancied to recent disappointments behind them at the World Cup

Date Added: May 15, 2018 07:17:21 PM
Author: David
Category: Competitions: Soccer World Cup
England’s record at major tournaments has been extremely poor in recent years, but there are signs that the 2018 World Cup in Russia could be a positive experience for the Three Lions.

This summer will be England’s sixth consecutive appearance at the World Cup and they are hoping to progress past the last 16 for the first time since 2006.

Gareth Southgate’s side are in a group with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia and the nation justifiably has high hopes that they will finish in the top two.

Read on to find out more about England’s group stage opponents at the World Cup.

Belgium

Belgium have developed into one of the best sides in international football, with their squad containing numerous world class stars.

Former Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, is in charge of Belgium, with Arsenal and France’s all-time leading goalscorer, Thierry Henry, acting as his assistant.

Belgium topped their qualification group in style, winning nine out of 10 matches, with their only dropped points coming in a 1-1 draw against Greece.

Belgium scored 43 goals in qualification, 11 of which were scored by Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku.

Belgium’s best result at the World Cup came in 1986 when they finished fourth and this summer will be the 13th time they’ve appeared in the finals.

Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for Belgium, while club teammate Eden Hazard is another notable name in their squad.

However, Kevin De Bruyne is likely to be their star man and you can use this ManBetX Bonus Code if you fancy the Manchester City star to be the tournament’s top scorer.

Panama Panama qualified for the World Cup in dramatic fashion, finishing one point ahead of the United States and beating Honduras to a spot in Russia on goal difference.

The 2009 Copa Centoramerica Champions don’t have many big name players in their team and this will be the first time they have played in the tournament.

A large number of Panama’s players are currently based in the USA, playing their football in the MLS.

Their key men include Jaime Penedo (Dinamo Bucharest), Roman Torres (Seattle Sounders) and Gabriel Torres (Huachipato).

Goalkeeper Penedo is an established goalkeeper with over 130 caps for his country. He kept four clean sheets during the qualifiers and is likely to be extremely busy in Russia.

Tunisia

Tunisia qualified for the World Cup without losing a match, beating Congo, Libya and Guinea to a spot in Russia.

This will be Tunisia’s fifth appearance at the World Cup finals but they have never progressed out of the group stage.

Tunisia have faced both England and Belgium at the World Cup in previous years. England defeated them in France back in 1998, but they managed a 1-1 draw with Belgium four years later.

Former Sunderland midfielder Wahbi Khazri is Tunisia’s star man. The 26-year-old is enjoying his football again in Ligue 1 this season with Rennes following a disappointing spell at the Stadium of Light.

Aymen Abdennour (Marseille) and Youssef Msakni (Al-Duhail) are other players worth noting.
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