Gareth Southgate’s England will have one eye on this match as they assess how their first World Cup opponents are shaping up. Tunisia surprised a few people earlier in the week by holding European champions Portugal to a 2-2 draw and they will fancy they can give a decent account of themselves here too on neutral turf against the Turks.
Turkey aren’t going to be in Russia but they did beat one team who will be on Monday. They were 2-1 victors against Iran as they look to build towards trying to qualify for Euro 2020. It extended their unbeaten record in 2018, which also includes a win over the Republic of Ireland so they should be able to provide a real test for Tunisia.
The bookies seem to be suggesting this will be a low-scoring game but there is reason to think we could see a bit of goalmouth action. Tunisia have been a solid defensive team in the past but they aren’t really viewed as such now. They performed pretty well in the March international break but have still only kept 4 clean sheets in their last 15 internationals overall.
Turkey meanwhile also have some pretty clear defensive frailties. They’ve only kept 1 clean sheet in their last 7 internationals and conceded twice or more in 5 of those games. 4 of their 8 defenders in this squad are aged 23 or younger and 2 are uncapped so they are clearly looking to the future for a solution but there may be no quick fix.
Going forward, Everton’s Cenk Tosun is their most reliable goal threat and he should pose plenty of problems for this Tunisian defence. Roma’s 20 year old midfielder Cengiz Ünder is another exciting prospect and he has netted 4 international goals already despite having yet to make it to 10 caps.
Tunisia’s World Cup hopes were dealt a huge blow by an injury to their talisman Youssef Msakni but they showed they do have other attacking weapons in their 2-2 draw with Portugal last week. They’ve only failed to score in 1 of their last 8 matches and they were victorious against both Iran and Costa Rica in March, two sides that have qualified for the Finals.
Therefore value here might just be found by backing Both Teams to Score in what is likely to be a pretty even game with little to choose between the sides.
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