World Cup 2018: England Team, Predicted Playing XI & Starting Lineup vs Tunisia
UPDATE: England's starting lineup announced.
England XI vs Tunisia: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, Henderson, Young, Lingard, Alli, Sterling, Kane.
The 2018 World Cup is now four days old and England finally get their chance to strut their stuff in Russia as they take on Tunisia in their first Group G encounter. The Three Lions aren't exactly the favourites for the tournament but, if results so far are anything to go by, even the powerhouses have struggled.
Gone are the days of reputation alone being enough to get into the England squad. Coach Gareth Southgate has taken a no-nonsense approach to a job that invites criticism no matter what and he has flourished in the new role entrusted to him.
England topped their qualification group unbeaten and with ease, winning eight and drawing two of their 10 games. However, sterner tests await than the likes of minnows such as Slovakia and Scotland.
The Three Lions are in one of the toughest groups at the World Cup. Along with Tunisia, they have been drawn with another European powerhouse - at least on paper - Belgium, while Panama is the fourth side.
"When the draw was made, everyone had this perception that it was the easiest group. I would argue it is one of the most difficult with ourselves, Tunisia and, of course, Belgium, in terms of the Fifa world rankings." - Gareth Southgate on the eve of their first fixture
How will England line up against Tunisia?
The constant media attention the English national team receives is quite unfair because of the pressure put on them. Players endure sleepless nights ahead of big games but Southgate has already addressed that concern.
The English coach has already decided on his starting XI and informed the players as well so that it reduces any anxiety that could have permeated the camp.
"I do know the team, but he says I'm not allowed to tell you," said Fabian Delph at a press conference over the weekend. "The team is not guaranteed to be the 11 players that we think it might be.
"It could be changed, but from the set-up we've done it's pretty clear to see who is probably going to be starting."
England could adopt a back-three in a 3-5-2- formation against Tunisia. The African team play with a compact structure and sit back which will require England's full-backs to stretch their defence.
Jordan Pickford will start in goal behind a three-man defence of Kyle Walker, John Stones, and Harry Maguire. Walker is a right-back by trade but Southgate will be using Kieran Trippier as a right wing-back while Danny Rose starts at left wing-back.
The midfield pivot could have used Eric Dier to shield the defence and step into the defensive line when required but Jordan Henderson is likely to start against teams that sit back. Alongside him will be Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard playing in attacking roles.
Up front, the Three Lions will be led by Raheem Sterling playing off skipper Harry Kane. Marcus Rashford is a doubt for the game but since they are playing a 3-5-2 instead of a 3-4-3, Rashford could start o the bench if he is fit.
England XI and Formation
Note: This article was updated after the starting lineup was announced.
What do you think the result will be? Let us know in the comments below.