Jaïdi on England's chances against Tunisia

By SFC Media Mon 18 Jun International
Photo by Matt Watson

Of Tunisian heritage, and a former player of the African nation, you could forgive Under-23s coach Radhi Jaïdi for having split loyalties as England gear up for their opening World Cup Group G clash against Tunisia tonight.

Jaïdi was invited by FIFA for the grand opening of the tournament in Russia last week, where his home nation will face off against England this evening, before games against Belgium and Panama in the proceeding group stages.

Odds on favourites, Jaïdi agrees that England perhaps appear the stronger prospect, but is backing Tunisia to make the tie competitive, with his hopes on both nations to progress.

"Obviously I can't wait for June 18th," he began. "It is something really exciting, a game I'm really excited to watch out in Russia.

"It's a big game for both sides. On paper it looks to be easier for England, but on the pitch it might be different. Hopefully we'll enjoy a competitive game, both technically and tactically.

IT'S A BIG GAME FOR BOTH SIDES. ON PAPER IT LOOKS TO BE EASIER FOR ENGLAND, BUT ON THE PITCH IT MIGHT BE DIFFERENT!

RADHI JAÏDI
ON TUNISIA VS ENGLAND

"It will be challenging for Tunisia to play against England - real quality, young talented players with some experience, and players on a high.

"The Tunisian team have some talented individuals. I'm not sure how they'll cope with the level, but we'll see."

We asked Jaïdi to tip a Tunisian player he expects to perform in today's showdown, and the former defender selected captain Wahbi Khazri, of Sunderland.

The forward netted 11 times in Ligue 1 whilst on loan at Rennes last term, and may well pose a threat to England's relatively inexperienced backline.

Radhi Jaïdi against South Africa at the African Cup of Nations

"Tunisia is a group of players who complement one another," he continued. "If I'm going to highlight one player it would be Khazri. He's got some quality, he scores goals and is powerful.

"Some individuals with technical ability as well, not sure if they'll manage to beat the England defence but as a group Tunisia have performed well in the lead up to the tournament.

"I'll be in-between. My heart always for Tunisia, and I'll be keeping an eye on how England do as well!"

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