Saturday 21 July 2018

What’s happening at the World Cup on Monday? England’s quest for glory gets under way

 

England striker Harry Kane and his team-mates will launch their World Cup adventure on Monday (Adam Davy/PA)
England striker Harry Kane and his team-mates will launch their World Cup adventure on Monday (Adam Davy/PA)

Damian Spellman

England finally launch their 2018 World Cup campaign on Monday as hosts Russia prepare for a game which could effectively secure their passage to the last 16.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at what is happening on day five at the finals.

Sweden v South Korea, Group F match, 1pm

Sweden staged something of a coup to win their ticket to Russia as they edged Holland out of the race for the runner’s-up spot in European Group A and then dispatched Italy in the play-offs.

The 1958 hosts and beaten finalists will hope to get their first campaign for 12 years up and running with a victory, with reigning champions Germany awaiting them in their second game on Saturday.

South Korea, who made the semi-finals as co-hosts in 2002, will hope to improve on their performance in Brazil four years ago when they made a swift exit with just a single point to their name.

Where you can watch it?

RTE 2/ITV

Odds:

Sweden 11/10, Draw 2/1, South Korea 3/1

Belgium v Panama, Group G match, 4pm

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Striker Romelu Lukaku scored twice in his last appearance for Belgium (Martin Rickett/Empics)

Belgium get under way bearing the weight of expectation, with many commentators backing their golden generation to finally get it right at a major tournament.

They breezed through qualification, collecting 28 from a possible 30 points and scoring 43 goals in the process, and will be confident of opening their account in style.

Panama are embarking upon a first ever World Cup finals adventure and could hardly face a much tougher task having never beaten European opposition in nine attempts.

Where you can watch it?

RTE 2/BBC

Odds:

Belgium 1/7, Draw 6/1, Panama 17/1

Tunisia v England, Group G match, 7pm

Posted by England football team on Sunday, June 17, 2018

With few expecting England to end 52 years of hurt this summer, England boss Gareth Southgate and his players have the rare luxury of setting out under far less pressure than usual.

However, having not won a game at the finals since they beat Slovenia 1-0 in South Africa almost eight years ago, they will hope to make a statement in their opening fixture to warn group rivals Belgium they will not have it all their own way.

Tunisia, who lost 2-0 to an England side in which Southgate played at the 1998 finals in France, boast a draw with Portugal and a narrow defeat by Spain during their warm-up games and will be no push-over.

Where you can watch it?

RTE 2/BBC

Odds:

England 4/9, Draw 3/1, Tunisia 15/2

Battle of the Premier League hot-shots

Egypt’s Mohamed Salah may have topped the goalscoring stakes in last season’s Premier League, but Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku also figured prominently.

Tottenham frontman Kane finished the campaign with 30 league goals, two behind Salah, while a relatively modest, by his standards, 16 of Lukaku’s 27 for Manchester United came in the competition.

England’s Kane headed for Russia having found the back of the net seven times in his last nine games for club and country, while his Belgian counterpart scored twice in a 4-1 victory over Costa Rica on June 11.

The wait is almost over

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Russia’s Artem Dzyuba celebrates scoring his side’s third goal against Saudi Arabia (Adam Davy/PA)

The first round of fixtures will draw to a close on Tuesday when Colombia face Japan and Poland meet Senegal in Group H.

All four nations will hold their pre-match press conferences on Monday with Japan and Senegal kicking off proceedings at 1pm, Colombia at 3pm and Poland at 5pm.

Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov and Egypt counterpart Hector Cuper will also be speaking to the media ahead of their Group A clash in St Petersburg with the hosts in the spotlight at 11.15am and the Egyptians at 5pm.

Press Association

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