England expects as dark horses Belgium launch World Cup campaign 72 lượt xem
VOLGOGRAD, June 18 — England open their World Cup campaign today seeking to banish memories of dismal performances in recent tournaments as Belgium’s “Golden Generation” kick off as dark-horse challengers. England, winners on football’s biggest stage more than half a century ago,m88 crashed out without a win four years ago in Brazil, and have not won a knockout match in any tournament since 2006.
Gareth Southgate’s team will be eager to start with a bang after world champions Germany slipped up in their opening match against Mexico and favourites Brazil were held by Switzerland. Southgate’s young charges arrived in Russia quietly confident after a solid qualifying campaign and encouraging friendly results against Brazil, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. They play Tunisia in the historic city of Volgograd knowing anything other than a win would disrupt pre-tournament plans, with Belgium looming later in Group G.
Southgate’s lack of experience was widely discussed when he was appointed but the former Under 21s coach has cultivated an atmosphere of unity and a determination to bury past failures. “This team shouldn’t be burdened with that because they’re a fresh group, most of them have very few international m88 game caps, so the future is all ahead of them,” Southgate told reporters. England captain Harry Kane, who is yet to score a goal in a tournament, has vowed an aggressive approach against opponents expected to defend in numbers.
“First and foremost we are going to want to attack the game, we feel like we are going to have a lot of possession of the ball,” the Tottenham forward said. Belgium start their World Cup campaign on more familiar ground: a squad stuffed with stars but with questions over their manager. Spaniard Roberto Martinez was a left-field choice to replace Marc Wilmots after Euro 2016 and the former Everton boss seems no nearer to solving the puzzle of getting Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne playing to their sky-high potentials m88 casino in the same side. The boys from Brussels face Panama, Central America’s World Cup debutants, in Sochi.
Martinez yesterday said Hazard was ready to light up a tournament in the same way as Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo did with his stunning hat-trick against Spain. “I think Eden is in a great moment of his career. Look at his age, he is the captain, in terms of leadership — he never finds it difficult to show for the ball,” he said. Results under Martinez have been excellent — Belgium have not lost since he took over — but there is a sense that this tournament represents their best chance at World Cup glory.