Alli calls for England to be ruthless in World Cup opener

Dele Alli has issued a rallying cry to his England team-mates ahead of their opening World Cup match against Tunisia in Volgograd.

England's Dele Alli   -  Getty Images

Dele Alli has called on England to be ruthless at the World Cup as it prepares for its Group G opener against Tunisia on Monday.

The Three Lions flopped in Brazil four years ago, where they were eliminated in the group stages, before being knocked out in a dismal last-16 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016.

However, there is a cautious optimism about the squad manager Gareth Southgate has moulded for Russia with a young team desperate to showcase its talent on the global stage.

And Tottenham midfielder Alli, a key component of Southgate's team, called on England to show a killer instinct.

"We know we have to be ruthless. It's international football. You are not going to get too many chances, so when they do come you have to be ruthless and put it in the back of the net," Alli told The Evening Standard.

"We are going to have to be patient. Tunisia defend very well, so if we do have a lot of possession we have to make sure we are not forcing it. We have to stick together as a team."

England has not won a knockout game at the World Cup since 2006, a narrow round-of-16 win against Ecuador, but is tipped to progress out of Group G where it is expected to tussle with Belgium for top spot.

While expectations for England's campaign are perhaps lower than in previous tournaments, Alli insists the squad believes it has the capability to go all the way.

"I don't think we can put a limit on what is possible for this tournament. We don't want to say we can only get to the quarters or semi-finals," the 22-year-old added.

"We believe we can go all the way. We have to. There is no point coming here and believing anything else."

England follows up its opener with a clash against tournament minnow Panama on Sunday, before finishing its group fixtures against Belgium.

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