We must win, we have no other choice - Maaloul

Tunisia boss Nabil Maaloul is hoping his side can bounce back from its defeat to England and surprise Belgium on Saturday.

Wahbi Khazri is challenged by England's Harry Maguire   -  Getty Images

Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul claims that his side "have no other choice" but to beat Belgium on Saturday if it wants to keep its World Cup dream alive.

Although he’s not mathematically correct - a draw would be enough to take their qualification hopes to the final game against Panama - Maaloul is targeting all three points against Roberto Martinez's supremely-talented Red Devils.

Tunisia fought hard in its opening game against England, but succumbed to a late Harry Kane header in Volgograd and Maaloul is hoping to bounce back by stunning one of the tournament favourites.


Maaloul said: "We can feel the pressure now following the loss in the opening game and obviously the Belgium team is one to be reckoned with."

"We have to win tomorrow, we have no other choice. When we drew this group, we knew very well that Belgium were very strong, but we are ready and hopefully we will be able to avoid the mistakes we made against England."

Maaloul will set his side out to be more offensive at Spartak Stadium having seen his plans against England come undone. "No team goes into a game wanting to lose," he added.

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"When we played against England, we went into it to win but there were some circumstances that were out of our control."

"We threatened England, but they are very quick, especially [Raheem] Sterling, and we couldn’t play a high line. We wanted to surprise England and in the first five minutes we did threaten them but, unfortunately, they have very fit players and they imposed their style on us."

"As a coach, I tried to change tactics and that saved many goals. It was very difficult. It was the opening game and our squad is made up players who have never played in a World Cup before. Perhaps this sense of fear will be absent tomorrow."

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Of the four Arab nations in Russia, only Tunisia remain in with a chance of advancing to the knockout stages after Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia all failed to pick up a point in its opening two matches.

That, Maaloul admitted, brings an extra pressure. "No doubt, the eyes of the Arab world are on Tunisia," he said.

"Their hopes are pinned on us. We feel more pressure and a sense of responsibility. We cannot lose tomorrow, we have to deliver, we have to do our best despite the many difficulties we will be facing."

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Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazri is hoping his side can show "the good face of Tunisia" following the defeat to England.

The wantaway Sunderland midfielder said of the loss to Gareth Southgate's men: "England put a lot of pressure on us and we were in a difficult situation."

"If there was pressure I hope it has been parked. We must play without pressure, we have nothing to lose, we want to show the good face of Tunisia. It is going to be difficult but we are able to beat Belgium. We are going to show a different face."

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