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England are notoriously slow starters at tournaments: Three Lions have won just five of 23 opening games since 1950... so will it be any different against Tunisia?
ลิ้ ง sboNothing punctures the English pre-tournament optimism quite as quickly as failing to win the opening game - and it's something we've become sadly accustomed to down the years.Since 1950, the Three Lions have won just five of 23 opening matches at World Cups and European Championships.Gareth Southgate would like nothing more than to end this particular hoodoo when the Three Lions open their World Cup campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd on Monday evening.
You have to go back to the 2006 World Cup for England's last opening game win - a distinctly unconvincing 1-0 over Paraguay - though in 1998 they did defeat Tunisia 2-0 in their opener in Marseille.Aside from that, England have only started with success in the 1950 World Cup (2-0 vs Chile), 1970 World Cup (1-0 vs Romania) and 1982 World Cup (3-1 vs France).In recent years it's been a tale of woe, usually with England coming unstuck and dropping precious points against weak opposition.
Since 1998, England have won just the one opening game at eight major tournaments and that success in 2006 was only thanks to a Carlos Gamarra own goal.Two years ago at the European Championship, they dominated Russia only to concede a last-minute equaliser that set the tone for a calamitous few weeks.Roy Hodgson's side lost 2-1 to Italy at the 2014 World Cup en route to another early flight home and in 2010 a howler from Rob Green saw the United States earn a 1-1 draw.
England lost late on to France at Euro 2004 and tossed away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 to Portugal at Euro 2000.Their World Cup campaigns in 1962 and 1986, as well as European Championships in 1968 and 1988, also began with the chastening feeling of defeat.Mind you, it might not all be bad news. In 1966, England were held goalless at Wembley by a negative Uruguay side who attracted jeers from the crowd, but would ultimately lift the Jules Rimet Trophy.
ลิ้ ง sbo In 1990, Bobby Robson's side played out a pretty uneventful 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland in the pouring rain of Cagliari, yet went on to reach the semi-finals.Likewise at Euro '96, when the pre-tournament hype was dampened somewhat by a 1-1 draw with Switzerland. That saga, too, would end in penalty disappointment against Germany in the last four.Southgate has done much to revolutionise the way England approach these tournaments and he'll be well aware of England's reputation as slow starters.A victory over Tunisia on Monday, however it comes, will do much to put one of the ghosts of the past to bed.