Rio Ferdinand slams England star Kyle Walker for 'criminal' mistake v Tunisia

England midfielder Jordan Henderson

After months of solid preparation, Gareth Southgate's England begin their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign with a Group G clash against Tunisia on Monday night - here's how the teams will line up. The English team face a winnable match against a Tunisian team that isn't expected to get out of the group, and it's a contest that gives the Three Lions a golden chance at three points to start the competition. It's hard to see them liftng the world Cup, but the quarter-finals is a realistic and achievable prospect. Tunisia are not pushovers so an England win, though likely, is not guaranteed.

After some impressive performances at the start of last season for Everton, where he netted in their first two games against Stoke City and Manchester City, Southgate revealed he was interested in recalling the countries record goalscorer back into the set-up. "The most important is the way you play, and your performances and your results".

Was Walker the victim of a soft penalty call or was he, as some on social media claim, "brainless"?

"I think that's how we've wanted to make it as a team", England striker Jamie Vardy said, "nice and relaxed and enjoyable, where we can have a laugh and a giggle".

England doesn't boast of big names this time but there is a sense of bonhomie among the players and in Southgate it has a coach who understands them.

Having a laugh and a giggle hasn't been something that England teams have been known for over the past decade or so, when heavily hyped teams have failed to make much progress in any of the global tournaments they have played.

721 days since being humiliated by Iceland in Nice.



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