FIFA World Cup draw: England’s opponents react to the draw

England’s World Cup opponents spoke of their excitement at drawing the Three Lions and Belgium in Group G.
Gareth Southgate’s side face Tunisia in their opening game in Volgograd on Monday June 18, before travelling 847 kilometres to Nizhny Novgorod to play World Cup debutants Panama on Sunday June 24.
Tunisia head coach Nabil Maaloul was relieved that the game will be played outside the opening few days, and believes his side can play with freedom against their heavily-favoured opponents.
Maaloul said: “I didn’t want to be drawn in the first two groups because we would have had to play in Ramadan, which finishes on June 14.
“We know the English team, we have nothing to lose. We are going to try and present the best image of Tunisian football.”

Maaloul, appointed in April for his second spell in charge, played 74 times for his nation but never made it to a World Cup.
Tunisia have qualified for their fifth World Cup and first since 2006, but have never progressed from the group stage.
In their 12 previous World Cup fixtures Tunisia have kept just one clean sheet, in a goalless draw against holders West Germany.
Speaking before the draw, Panama manager Hernan Dario Gomez called out England’s inability to fulfil their potential at major tournaments.
Gomez faced England in 1998 as Colombia boss, when Tunisia again faced the Three Lions in the opening game.
He said: “They are always a contender to do well at tournaments, but they do seem to lack something when it comes to the latter stages.
“We are used to playing teams from our part of the world, and playing top teams can be quite a scary proposition.
“But we will be able to learn from these experiences when we play European teams at the World Cup.”
England finish their group action against Belgium in Kaliningrad on June 28 at 7pm, and should they progress will face one of Colombia, Senegal, Poland or Japan in the second round.

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