Tunisia boss says: We have to stop Dele Alli/ Southgate is a gegenpresser

Nabil Mahloul is worried about the bang!bang! twins from Tottenham.

He admitted that Kane and Alli, who have been playing together all season, are a big worry for him.

Tunisia are a decent side, ranked 21st in the world, with a solid defensive record. They only conceded four goals in six qualifying games against Libya, DR Congo and Guinea.

They will try to nick a low-scoring match. We will try to score early – and then score again ASAP.

Gareth Southgate obviously likes the Kane-Alli combination but doesn’t want to depend on it too much.

That’s why his system has three athletes – Raheem, Lingard and Dele – making rapid runs into the front third.

It’s power football and the Tunisia manager has been talking about how powerful Dele Alli is. He’s right. Dele is big, fast and jumps high and thinks he can score from 30 yards.

Tunisia have been told to respect our energy and speed, our goal threat.

Yesterday Southgate promised a brave England team who would attack and be positive. He reckons his team are improving every time they play.

He said, “The players have a hunger to press and win the ball back and play brave football. They want to be a bold and attacking team. That’s how I feel we should play.”

So it’s gegenpressing.

You attack, lose the ball, win it back. Work hard, deny space, force errors, recover possession, immediately support the man on the ball with runs that give him options.

That’s why Jurgen Klopp says gegenpressing is the best playmaker.

It’s a good style for England because we have far more energy than skill.

SUMMARY : Southgate wants fast runs and quick passes, not long passes, although long passes are by no means forbidden. Footballers can only do what they see – and some see a lot more than others.

What else? Nine of his starting XI have never played in a World Cup. But I think Jordan Pickford will become an exceptional keeper for England.

If gegenpressing works tonight, we’ll use it again in the second game against Panama.

The job for England is simple: beat Tunisia. Nothing else is acceptable.

Do we all expect Belgium to beat Panama in the 4pm kick-off?

The England team we all expect has a 3-5-2 line-up
Pickford 
Walker Stones Maguire
Trippier Lingard Henderson Alli Young
Kane Sterling


PS. Every team we’ve seen so far can be beaten – and Italy are not even there.