Msakni boasts Tunisia's will power is stronger than England

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The Tunisia striker feels they will upset England in Monday’s Group G opener as Wahbi Khazri leads the North African attack

Msakni will not take part in the match in Volgograd with a knee injury but views England as a team for the taking.

England fans have invaded Volgograd, setting up a carnival atmosphere, but Msakni sees Tunisia upsetting their opponents.

“We will snatch a win, I am sure,” The Sun quoted Msakni as saying.

“England have popular names — but popular names don’t play football. We have a very, very exciting team. England are not a scary prospect because, position by position, I think we can match them. As a team, we have a stronger spirit and will to win. A lot of our guys play in Europe, many grew up there, they understand the mentality and professionalism needed. Facing England will be like any other team.”

Likened to Argentina captain Lionel Messi by Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul, Msakni’s absence from the tournament has been a headache in the Carthage Eages camp.

Although playing down the impact of his absence, Msakni will be watching from the stands as striking responsibilities mainly fall on Esperance foward Anice Badri and Lille man Naim Sliti.

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“People say the team rally around me and that if I am not there the spirit is broken. That’s not true at all. The unity in this team is amazing,” Msakni said.

Star player Khazri is back in the Tunisia starting line-up, ending weeks of injury concerns.

Khazri’s inclusion could pose a major worry for England coach Gareth Southgate who is keen to start his tournament on a high.

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