Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul is wary of England

Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul is wary of England
Nabil Maaloul

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Monday Dec 04, 2017. 17:00

Following the 2018 FIFA World Cup draw on Friday, Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul believes their future at the tournament depends on their opening match against England.

The Carthage Eagles are in Group G with England, Belgium and Panama, but Maaloul says previous encounters against the Three Lions will not count.

England were victorious after claiming a 2-0 win during the 1998 World Cup in France, but the coach says its important to beat them in Russia next year.

"It's a difficult group but we were expecting a difficult draw because if you are in Pot 3, you are going to have some great footballing nations - like Belgium and England,” Maaloul told BBC Sport.

“The key to qualification is going to be the first match, on 18 June, against England.

"England have got a lot better this year, especially after appointing a new coach and fielding young talent.

"Dele Alli and Harry Kane are exceptional players. For me, Kane is one of the greatest forwards in the world right now.

"It's a new match, with two new trainers and a new generation," added Maaloul, who took charge in April this year.

"England had lots of stars and good players in 1998 but now you sense that there is a team - a team of young talented players. We are expecting a very difficult match."

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