Tunisia told to forget about England defeat ahead of Belgium clash

Eden Hazard will be the main threat facing Tunisia when they face Group G opponents Belgium
Updated 22 June 2018
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Tunisia told to forget about England defeat ahead of Belgium clash

  • Tunisia still confident despite last-gasp defeat to England on Monday.
  • Eagles of Carthage come up against highly fancied Belgium.

LONDON: Nabil Maaloul has called on Tunisia to forget about the defeat to England and concentrate on the task at hand: Beating Belgium today.
The Eagles of Carthage lost 2-1 in their opener to England on Monday to leave them needing to get a result against Eden Hazard and Co. in Moscow. Getting a result against the highly fancied Belgians will not be easy, not least because they looked sharp during their 3-0 victory over Panama.
But Maaloul is certain his side can make their mark in Russia, having held England at bay for all bar the last minute.
“If we had got a draw it would have been an excellent result for us (against England), but hopefully this will lead to higher levels of concentration in the coming games,” Maaloul said.
Tunisia will not make life easy for Belgium as they seek to provide a bright spot in a poor World Cup for African sides, with Egypt and Morocco already out.
“We lost a battle, but not the war,” Tunisian forward Fakhreddine Ben Youssef said of the England game.
The Belgians want to win at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow to avoid making their final group game against England on June 28 a make-or-break qualification affair.
Romelu Lukaku netted twice in the victory over Panama, but bar the scoreline, the match was notable for the rough treatment dished out to Hazard. The Belgium playmaker was tightly marked and occasionally clattered by Central Americans.
Belgium coach Roberto Martinez hopes the Chelsea player will not get the same treatment from Tunisia.
“It is a worry that in any of those tackles he could really get hurt,” said Belgium’s Spanish coach.
“It doesn’t worry me if that is just their way of trying to stop him.”
History favors the Belgians. They are yet to lose to African opposition at a World Cup, while Tunisia have never beaten a European side at a finals.
The experienced Oussama Haddadi is set to replace Ali Maaloul at left-back in the Tunisian defense and Martinez saw plenty of danger for his team in the north Africans’ opening 2-1 defeat to England.
“They have a lot of bravery and they’re very dynamic,” Martinez said. “The players have a good understanding between each other and they can bring energy and intensity on counter-attacks. They play direct, efficient football.”
After seeing Lukaku and Dries Martens grab the goals against 
Panama, Hazard wants to add some goals of his own.
Hazard, whose younger brother Thorgan is also in a squad considered to be Belgium’s best for decades, is aware of the thirst for success back home.
“We knew it before the tournament. People say that Belgium would win every game but it’s not that simple,” said Hazard. “We want to win, we won the first game and have another one Saturday against Tunisia. We take it game after game.”
Belgium, ranked third in the world, reached the quarterfinals of Brazil 2014 and are aiming to match their previous best of reaching the semifinals at Mexico 1986.
There was some good news for Martinez on Thursday when Barcelona center-back Thomas Vermaelen trained for the first time in Russia.
Likewise Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, who like Vermaelen is 32, is expected to return on Friday.


Liverpool are scared of no one, claims confident Jurgen Klopp ahead of PSG clash

Updated 18 September 2018
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Liverpool are scared of no one, claims confident Jurgen Klopp ahead of PSG clash

  • Reds boss wants side to prove march to last season's final was no fluke.
  • Liverpool face French powerhouses PSG at Anfield on Tuesday.

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side shouldn’t be scared of any side as they look to go one step further in the Champions League after reaching the final last season.
The visit of Paris Saint-Germain to Anfield on Tuesday gives Klopp’s men an early chance to show their run to the final in Kiev was no fluke, particularly after a summer of what already appears shrewd business in the transfer market.
Liverpool have won all five of their opening Premier League games after spending a then-world record fee for a goalkeeper on Alisson Becker, bolstering their midfield options in Naby Keita and Fabinho and adding extra back up to a prolific front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane with Xherdan Shaqiri.
“The players we spoke to in the summer or a little earlier, they were different talks to those I had the previous year or before,” said Klopp, who has transformed Liverpool’s fortunes in just under three years in charge.
“In the moment, it is a different club to the club I joined when I came in.
“We are in the place where we want to be without being satisfied with anything. We are a challenger and we are a challenger again for pretty much everything, especially in each game.
“I don’t think there is any game in the world where you would say beforehand, ‘No chance Liverpool,’ which is good.”
Liverpool upset Premier League champions Manchester City and scored five against Porto and Roma on their way to the final before losing to Real Madrid, which Klopp believes has restored some of the fear factor of going to Anfield on a European night.
“I think we got a lot of respect because of the way we played last season and I think everyone who saw the final saw that we could have won it against a side in a completely different moment,” he added.
“They see the games we played. They saw City, they saw Rome, they saw Porto. They saw so many games which we played in a really good way. There was a lot of respect.
“The best way is when you are experienced you use your new knowledge and start again, like a virgin if you want.”