Darren Anderton: England-Tunisia in 1998 had a horrible buildup but happy ending

first_img French police used tear gas against England supporters in Marseille before the meeting with Tunisia. Photograph: Darko Bandic/AP John Barnes: ‘I would never advise a young black player to walk off’ Share on Twitter England Facebook Sign up for the World Cup Fiver. Share via Email World Cup Gareth Southgate tells squad his starting team to ease England anxiety Tunisia football team Share on Messenger Share on LinkedIn Pinterest If I have one piece of advice for the boys, it’s to play without fear. We had so much confidence back then. We were on a high after Euro 96. Glenn was very good tactically. We always seemed to have the ball. We had players who could cause trouble for the opposition. It makes a huge difference when your creative players are able to shine. If the likes of Dele Alli do well, England can have a good tournament. I want to see them play with freedom and enjoy themselves. That’s what it’s all about. Sportblog Gareth Southgatecenter_img Share on Pinterest Our experience helped. We had players like David Seaman, Tony Adams, Paul Ince and David Batty, although we also had a few youngsters coming through – Michael Owen, Becks, Scholesy and Sol Campbell. Rio Ferdinand was in the squad as well. We had a good blend. People always talk about Euro 96 but I thought we had a special squad in 1998.This team is much more inexperienced and this is the first World Cup game for a lot of these players, which makes a difference. People question whether the players care as much about international football these days but playing in the World Cup is the dream. You’re very aware that you’re lucky to be there and also that you might not get another crack at it. A lot of nerves come with that. You want to perform well for yourself and make sure the team starts well. features There was a lot of trouble before we played Tunisia in Marseille. The two or three days leading up to the game were unpleasant. A lot of the squad had family over there, so it wasn’t easy.We were aware of what was going on. We had families flying over in the morning or on the night before and you just never know, do you? My mum and step-dad were out there. They were having a holiday in France and were travelling down for the game. I spoke to them and it was fine but it’s something you think about. You just had to assume that people you cared about were going to stay well clear of the trouble. We were buzzing for the game, though, and could not wait for the tournament to start. It was a really hot afternoon and we were expected to win, like the guys are now. But none of us were taking anything for granted after the way we started Euro 96 against Switzerland. Tunisia were defensive and I’m sure it will be the same on Monday. You have to be patient. First games can be tedious and are so important not to lose, which makes them even more nervy.The heat was an advantage for Tunisia. The pitch was dry and sticky and we were playing against a team who wanted to frustrate us and try to nick a draw or a goal on the break. It was far from ideal. We would rather have played at night with a bit of dew on the pitch because then the ball zips around. But we believed we could control the pace of the game and have most of the possession.The key was to get the first goal and force them to come out a bit more. It worked out perfectly in the end. Alan Shearer made it 1-0 in the first half and we never looked back. Paul Scholes scored a great second goal to finish it off and it was a comfortable win in the end. Twitter Share on Facebook Read more Share on WhatsApp Topics World Cup 2018 Read more Gareth Southgate has a lot of quality at his disposal, though, and I think he’s doing a good job. I played with him for England and could see him being a coach one day. It was a surprise when he became England manager but he was an appointment from within: English, a good guy and a very clever man. He played the game in an intelligent way, read the game brilliantly and was pretty underrated.He’s found a system that suits international football. Glenn Hoddle used a back three in 1998 and it helped us dominate possession. We had more players in midfield and didn’t get overrun. I played at right wing-back and although it was tough not to have the security of a right-back behind me, we were told to play in a positive way. We wanted people on the ball in good areas and I think Gareth has a similar mentality. Reuse this contentlast_img

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