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Tunisia coach warns England against self-belief


England’s forward Harry Kane arrives to give a press conference in Volgograd on June 17, 2018, on the eve of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group G football match between Tunisia and England. / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON

Radhi Jaidi said the Three Lions’ Group G opponents are in “high spirits” ahead of today’s game in Volgograd.

The ex-Premier League defender believes England’s “new mentality” makes them dangerous opponents.

But he said: “Probably all that can go against the younger boys is an excess of confidence because they’re playing against Tunisia.”


Tunisia are 21st in the FIFA rankings, the highest of any African team, with Gareth Southgate’s side nine places above them in 12th.

England could only draw 0-0 with Tunisia’s North African neighbours Algeria in the group stages of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

However Jaidi, who played for Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers, believes the current England team could buck the trend of under-achieving in major tournaments.

“Before the kick off people will think England is the same story; penalty problems and they’ll get to the second round if they’re lucky and that’s it,” said the 42-year-old.

“But there’s something new in this team. They’re young and ambitious and want to prove themselves to the world. They have a new mentality.

“Despite their age they have experience playing in some of the best leagues in the world and they have proven themselves every week.”

Nabil Maaloul’s Tunisia drew in their World Cup warm-up fixtures against Turkey and Portugal before losing their final game 1-0 to Spain.

The Tunisians sat deep to frustrate the Spaniards for much of the match, but looked threatening on the counter and should have gone ahead when Naim Sliti volleyed over from inside the six-yard box.

Asked whether Tunisia would take a similar approach against England Jaidi said: “I think you need to be realistic from a technical and tactical point of view.

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